Verdi Requiem Soloists
Danielle Talamantes, soprano
“It’s not often that a fortunate operagoer witnesses the birth of a star!,” critics hailed for Danielle Talamantes’ recent role début as Violetta in La traviata, a role she performed again in her Hawaii Opera Theatre début.
This season’s engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Carmina Burana with the National Philharmonic, Verdi’s Requiem with both the Pensacola Symphony and North Carolina Master Chorale, the soprano soloist in Britten’s War Requiem with Opera Roanoke, as well as concerts with Lyric Fest, The United States Naval Academy, Choralis, the Artist Series of Sarasota (with husband Kerry Wilkerson), the Washington Arts Ensemble, and the Music Center at Strathmore. Last season, Talamantes made her Washington National Opera début as Maria Hernández in Kamala Sankaram’s Rise as part of their production Written in Stone, and recorded Mosaic for Earth at Virginia Tech. She performed Henry Dehlinger’s Kohelet for the Washington Master Chorale and the Santa Clara Chorale, Mimi in La bohéme for Jackson Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony for Fairfax Symphony, and the Artpark concert series with the Buffalo Philharmonic.
2020 engagements were to include a return to the Metropolitan Opera for Carmen along with over 10 concert engagements, including two world premiere pieces. In 2021, she appeared in the World Premiere of Henry Dehlinger’s The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock for the National Philharmonic, as a soloist in Washington Concert Opera’s Women’s Suffrage Virtual Concert, St. Petersburg Opera’s Virtual Concert Recital Series, in Close Encounters with Music’s Virtual Opera Gala, and in recital with Kerry Wilkerson for Opera Roanoke.
Other recent engagements for Ms. Talamanates include the role of Mimì in La bohéme with Fairfax Symphony, her Hawaii Opera Theater début as Violetta in La traviata, Beatrice in Il Postino with Virginia Opera, and with The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Carmen. In addition, she appeared as a soloist in multiple classical masterworks including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with DCINY, Verdi’s Requiem with the National Philharmonic, Fauré’s Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with Eugene Concert Choir, Brahms’ Requiem with Riverside Choral Society at Lincoln Center, Fauré’s Requiem and Mozart’s Missa brevis in C Major with MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Choralis, Händel’s Messiah with La Jolla Symphony, and in the National Philharmonic’s Bernstein Choral Celebration concert.
Danielle first earned a spot on the Metropolitan Opera roster in the spring of 2011, covering the role of Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos, and was subsequently reengaged to cover the role of the Flower Maiden in Wagner’s Parsifal, joined the house for their production of The Exterminating Angel, the soprano in the quartet of lovers in the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island, and in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten. This rising star made her exciting stage début as Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen in a return to The Metropolitan Opera and has since returned to perform the role of Anna in Nabucco. Other notable operatic engagements include the role of Marzelline in Fidelio with the Princeton Festival; Mimì in La boheme with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas; the title role of Susannah with Opera Roanoke; Violetta in La traviata with Finger Lakes Opera; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Cedar Rapids Opera; the role of Sergente in Veremonda at Spoleto Festival USA; and Act I of La bohéme with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas at Walton Arts Center.
As a distinguished concert artist, Ms. Talamantes has sang the soprano solo in Händel’s Messiah with National Philharmonic, The New Choral Society, United States Naval Academy, and Austin Symphony & Chorus Austin; Brahms’ Requiem with National Philharmonic, and St. Mary’s College; Mozart’s Requiem with Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic, Washington National Cathedral, and Fairfax Symphony; Verdi’s Requiem with Gloria Musicae; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Manchester Symphony Orchestra; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with National Philharmonic, and Fairfax Symphony; Poulenc’s Gloria with Arizona State University’s Symphony Orchestra; Exsultate, jubilate with the National Philharmonic and the City Choir of Washington; and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater at North Carolina Master Chorale. Other concert engagements include Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No. 5, Bach’s Magnificat, and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with the National Philharmonic; the world première of Bartoldus’s Magnificat, Handel’s Laudate pueri dominum, and Charpentier’s Te Deum with The City Choir of Washington; a concert entitled “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman!” with Close Encounters with Music at the Manchester Music Festival and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts; “Mozart on a Summer’s Eve” with Spokane Symphony; the soprano solo in an all Bach concert with Gamut Bach Ensemble and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society;, two solo performances in Spokane’s Northwest Bach Festival and Series; a Canciones Españolas concert at The Cosmos Club in Washington, DC; Fairfax Symphony Orchestra’s 60th anniversary gala concert; a concert celebrating the Bernstein Centennial at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center; and recitals and masterclasses with El Paso Pro-Musica and Catawba College.
She débuted at Alice Tully Hall as the soprano soloist in Bob Chilcott’s Requiem, the soprano lead in a world première production of Janice Hamer’s Lost Childhood with the National Philharmonic in Washington D.C., Elijah with the Blacksburg Master Chorale, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the City Choir of Washington, and a début of the role of Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème with Capital City Symphony.
Ms. Talamantes and Henry Dehlinger perform Heaven and Earth: A Duke Ellington Songbook, a luscious collection of brand-new arrangements of Duke Ellington standards and irreplaceable gems of the American Songbook – written especially for Ms. Talamantes, in recital at multiple venues across the country, with an album available. She and pianist Henry Dehlinger also perform, in recital, a concert of gorgeous Spanish songs featured in their critically-acclaimed MSR Classics album: Canciones españolas. Talamantes and Dehlinger captivate audiences with tales of amorous longing, joy and despair as they bring the lush music and poetry of Spain to life. More information on both of these concerts is available here and here or at UIAPresents’ website.
An accomplished recitalist, Danielle Talamantes was a featured soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Chorale & Orchestra, United States Army Band, Oratorio Society of Virginia, Nashville Symphony, Choralis, and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. A native of Northern Virginia, Talamantes made her Carnegie Hall début in a sold-out solo recital in 2007, and was the Soprano in Residence for the Summer 2012 at the Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont.
Ms. Talamantes was awarded first-prize in several prestigious opera competitions, including: the Irene Dalis Opera San Jose Competition; Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Competition; XII Concurso de Trujillo; International Lotte Lehmann Cybersing Competition; NATS Artist Award; and the Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series competition. In addition, she garnered honors and awards in vocal competitions with the National Opera Association, Liederkranz Foundation, Seoul International Music Competition, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Plácido Domingo's Operalia, and Thomas Quasthoff’s Das Lied.
Claudia Chapa, Mezzo-Soprano
Celebrated for her "arresting stage presence" coupled with "exquisite sensitivity," Mexican mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa is a versatile performer in high demand across the nation. In 2019, Ms. Chapa made her Houston Grand Opera debut originating the role of Josefina in the world premiere of El Milagro del Recuerdo--a role which she has reprised at Arizona Opera (debut) in 2021 and again in encore performances at Houston Grand Opera in 2022. This season, she debuted Fricka and Waltraute in Virginia Opera's production of Wagner's The Valkyrie, returned to the role of Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Austin Opera, and will be featured as Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette) with Opera San Antonio this spring. In addition to her active performing career, Claudia is an in-demand concert curator specializing in Hispanic/Latinx programming. She was recently appointed as the inaugural curator of Hispanic and Latinx programming for the Austin Opera. This program is incredible important to her personal artistic mission and she's proud to curate Concerts at the Consulate/Conciertos en el Consulado in the new partnership between Austin Opera and the Mexican Consulate. She will be featured as soloist and curator of the upcoming Bella Noche de Música at Austin Opera.
Last season, Ms. Chapa made company and role debuts as Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin with The Dallas Symphony conducted by Maestro Fabio Luisi and as alto soloist forBeethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the National Philharmonic. Claudia took part in a concert that she co-curated entitled Entre Amigos which opened Fort Worth Opera’s historic 75th Season. She debuted Mother Superior in Charlottesville Opera's The Sound of Music, sang Alisa in Opera San Antonio's Lucia di Lammermoor, and returned to OperaDelaware as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro.
In 2020-2021, Ms. Chapa performed the Title Role in Douglas Pew’s Penny in her debut with Opera Grand Rapids. Other recent highlights include recording Handel’s Messiah with the Royal Philharmonic at the famed Abbey Roads Studios; a return to Alabama Symphony as featured soloist in El amor brujo (de Falla) and Neruda Songs (Lieberson); house and role debuts as Fenena (Nabucco) with West Bay Opera; her “powerful” Azucena (Il trovatore) with St. Petersburg Opera Company, Winter Opera St. Louis, and Opera in Williamsburg; Ortrud (Lohengrin) and Hedwige (William Tell) with Opera Southwest; Mary (The Flying Dutchman) and Dryade (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Austin Opera; her “earthy, distinctive” Fairy Godmother in the US premiere of Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella with Opera San Jose; her “show-stopping” Berta (Il barbiere di Sivigilia) with San Antonio Opera; Zita (Gianni Schicchi) and Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica) with St. Petersburg Opera; Zita (Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost) with Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera; Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro) with Charlottesville Opera; Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera), her “purring, inky” Madame Flora (The Medium) and The Witch (Hänsel und Gretel) with Opera in the Heights; Bloody Mary (South Pacific) with Gulf Coast Symphony; her “hilarious” Dame Quickly (Falstaff) with Winter Opera St. Louis and Opera in the Heights; Marthe (Faust) with Indianapolis Opera; Third Lady (Die Zauberflӧte) with The Glimmerglass Festival and Austin Lyric Opera; and Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor) with Winter Opera St. Louis.
Claudia debuted Carnegie Hall in 2015 and remains an active concert performer, most recently heard as mezzo soloist for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Verdi’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah with DCINY at Carnegie Hall. She’s also performed Bruckner’s Te Deum and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in addition to the aforementioned oratorios with Alabama Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, Austin Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Evansville Philharmonic.
Claudia Chapa is proud to do work with Austin Classical Guitar’s Lullaby Project pairing pregnant women and new mothers and fathers with professional artists to write and sing personal lullabies for their babies, supporting maternal health, aiding childhood development, and strengthening the bond between parent and child.
Ms. Chapa is a grant recipient from the Olga Forrai Foundation for exceptionally large, dramatic voices in the field of opera, and studied vocal performance at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. She currently resides in Austin with her husband and two glorious chihuahuas.
Paul Williamson, Tenor
Jamaican-born Canadian spinto tenor Paul Williamson has appeared with Opera York (Toronto), singing Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore in November 2013, Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in November 2014. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New York Festival Orchestra in December 2013 and again appeared at Carnegie Hall in March 2014 as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia. In March 2017, he appeared as Beppe in an independently staged production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. In May 2017, he appeared as the Scrivener in Khovanshchina by Mussorsky with Opera In Concert, and in March 2018, he debuted at the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera (SOLO) as Rinuccio in their production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Paul recently performed the role of Aegisthe in the Strauß opera Elektra with Powerhouse Opera, a small independent opera company in Toronto, in March 2022.
Kerry Wilkerson, Bass-Baritone
A resonant singer with unique evenness in register, baritone Kerry Wilkerson has been described by the Washington Post as an ‘exuberant’ performer, having the “amber tone of a lyric baritone with the imposing weight demanded by Handel’s low-lying writing”. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in June 2017 to rave reviews as a baritone soloist in the Vaughan Williams Sancta Civitas. His solo concert career has taken him up and down the east coast performing renowned oratorios and recitals. This season, Wilkerson can be seen as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the North Carolina Master Chorale, and in concert with the Artist Series of Sarasota and Strathmore’s Music at the Mansion.
In past seasons, Mr. Wilkerson performed as baritone soloist in Opera Roanoke’s gala concert as well as in recital with his wife Danielle Talamantes; Handel’s Messiah with National Symphony Orchestra, United Methodist Church, and La Jolla Symphony; Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with American University; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with Spokane Symphony; Kodály’s Te Deum with Oregon Music Festival; Bach’s Mass in B minor with The City Choir of Washington; Faure’s Requiem with Eugene Concert Choir; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Choralis; Duruflé’s Requiem and Mozart’s Requiem for The Washington Chorus; as well as Einhorn’s Voices of Light with the National Philharmonic.
Previous engagements included “Literary Giants” in recital with St. John’s Episcopal Church, Henry Dehlinger’s Kohelet for both the Santa Clara Chorale and Washington Master Chorale, as well as Benoit/Alcindoro in La boheme with the Jacksonville Symphony and Montano in Otello with Pacific Symphony; in addition, Wilkerson performed Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for the National Philharmonic and Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem for the Washington Chorus.
In addition, Kerry has sung professionally with the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants and the critically acclaimed Robert Shaw Festival Singers in many of the most prestigious concert halls throughout the United States and Canada. Kerry is well known to Washington, DC audiences through his solo recitals and regular guest appearances with choruses and orchestras such as the Handel Choir of Baltimore, the National Philharmonic Chorale and Orchestra, City Choir of Washington, Choralis, and the Oratorio Society of Virginia. Recent performances as featured soloist include Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the North Carolina Master Chorale and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Air Force Symphony Orchestra at the acclaimed Kennedy Center.