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Blog Post: February 22, 2024

Announcing our 2024 Gerdine Young Artists and Gaddes Festival Artists

Opera Theatre is proud to announce the 32 members of our 2024 Gerdine Young Artist and Richard Gaddes Festival Artist Programs! These distinguished early-career singers represent some of the most exciting new voices of their generation, and come to us from all over the country. 

Every year, more than 1,000 young artists apply for a chance to audition for OTSL’s renowned Young Artist Programs. Only 350-400 singers are invited to audition in-person for members of OTSL’s artistic team, and just 28-35 spots are extended in any given season. The 2024 Gerdine Young Artists and Gaddes Festival Artists make up the top 3% of that incredibly competitive pool.


Learn more about the GYA program


Our young artists will arrive in St. Louis in late April to begin music coachings and staging rehearsals. Over the course of nine weeks, these young artists will receive hands-on artistic training and mentorship from world-renowned soprano Patricia Racette. As the Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs, Ms. Racette crafts a rigorous curriculum tailored to each year’s specific class of young artists that will push them to new heights of musical and dramatic interpretation.

“What a particularly competitive year this was,” recalls Patricia Racette with excitement. “Extra kudos to each of our incoming GYAs! I look forward to helping each young artist hone the myriad of skills required of this art form. One of the highlights of my year is working one-on-one with our young artists in individualized sessions. This year’s class can also look forward to small group sessionswhere our artists learn from one another. I can’t wait to welcome everyone to St. Louis and get started!” 


In addition to appearing onstage in small supporting roles and in our season chorus, these young artists will also stand in the spotlight for our annual and beloved Center Stage concert, which presents these artists as the stars of scene excerpts from familiar classics and operatic rarities. This electrifying concert is accompanied onstage by the outstanding musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.


Learn more about Center Stage

Patricia Racette

Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs

Scroll down to meet our 2024 class of young artists — and please join us in extending them a hearty St. Louis welcome!

Richard Gaddes Festival Artists

Kathleen O'Mara

Soprano (Fort Washington, PA)

Titus Muzi III

Baritone (Milwaukee, WI)

Gerdine Young Artists

Levi Adkins

Tenor (Augusta, GA)

Sophia Baete
Sophia Baete

Mezzo-soprano (Louisville, KY)

Georgia Belmont

Soprano (Chichester, United Kingdom)

Brad Bickhardt

Tenor (Seoul, South Korea)

Jordan Costa

Tenor (Port Chester, NY)

Luke Elmer

Countertenor (Dallas, TX)

Elijah English

Countertenor (Raleigh, NC)

Lucy Evans

Mezzo-soprano (Bellingham, WA)

Erik Grendahl
Erik Grendahl

Baritone (Boydton, VA)

Hakeem Henderson
Hakeem Henderson

Tenor (Baltimore, MD)

Jennifer Kreider
Jennifer Kreider

Soprano (Morgantown, WV)

Gabriela Linares

Mezzo-soprano (Bayamón, Puerto Rico)

Ryan Lustgarten

Tenor (Kirkland, WA)

Madeleine Lyon

Mezzo-soprano (San Marcos, TX)

Michelle Mariposa

Mezzo-soprano (Quezon City, Manila, Philippines)

John Godhard Mburu

Bass (Warwick, RI)

Joseph O'Shea
Joseph O'Shea

Baritone (Smithtown, NY)

Lauren Paul
Lauren Paul

Mezzo-soprano (Evansville, WI)

Olivia Prendergast

Soprano (Philadelphia, PA)

Justin Ramm-Damron

Bass-baritone (Sacramento, CA)

Jouelle A Roberson

Soprano (Washington, D.C.)

Benjamin Ruiz

Tenor (Harlingen, TX)

Chase Sanders

Soprano (Harrisburg, PA)

Laura Santamaria

Soprano (West Palm Beach, FL)

Veronica Siebert

Mezzo-soprano (Lewisville, NC)

Emilio Vasquez

Baritone (Houston, TX)

Jared Werlein

Bass-baritone (Danville, CA)

Patrick Wilhelm

Baritone (Philadelphia, PA)

David Wolfe

Baritone (Shamokin, PA)

Young Artist Staff

Oliva Gacka
Olivia Gacka

Apprentice Assistant Director (Madison, Wisconsin)

Vladimir Soloviev
Vladimir Soloviev

Apprentice Pianist (Barnaul, Altai Krai, Russia)

Learn more about our Young Artist Programs


Center Stage is supported by a gift honoring the memory of Sally S. Levy from The Saucy Foundation.

Patricia Racette’s engagement is made possible with generous support from Tim & Robin Wentworth.