In the 2017-2018 season, Opera Idaho established its Young Artists program. Renamed to Emerging Artists in 2019. The Emerging Artists program is designed to provide training and performance experience for talented singers at the beginning of their professional careers. From September 2020 through April 2021, these young artists will be placed in a nurturing environment, treated as professionals and provided with compensation and a comfortable place to live.

During the 2020-2021 season the new class of Emerging Artists will tour the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas with our school outreach program, introducing students in grades K through 12 to opera. They will also be filling smaller roles in our mainstage operas as well as serve as understudies for the lead roles, as well as participate in smaller performances throughout the season.

Applications closed for the 2020-2021 season.

For information on the program contact

For more details:

Sponsor an Emerging Artist

Sponsor one of the 2019-2020 Opera Idaho Young Artists: $5,000


  • Sponsor’s name tied to the Emerging Artist of your choice in printed & web marketing materials throughout the 2019/2020 Season 
  • Recognition of sponsorship on the supertitle screen prior to performances
  • Verbal recognition of sponsorship at any Emerging Artist specific programs including the fall recital in Boise and McCall, Operatinis and the free education outreach performances
  • A 30-minute performance by your sponsored Emerging Artist in your home or at an event of your choosing
  • Invitation to a Emerging Artist meet & greet event exclusive for sponsors which includes wine, appetizers and a chance to attend a rehearsal

Your sponsorship helps Opera Idaho provide the following benefits for the four Emerging Artists while in the program:

  • Financial compensation
  • Housing Transportation assistance
  • Health insurance
  • Coaching sessions with professional vocal coaches
  • Performance opportunities to help build their résumé

Meet the 2019-2020 Emerging Artists

Soprano Cara Gabrielson

Cara made her San Francisco Symphony debut as the Soprano Soloist in Bach’s Magnificat and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Last summer she participated in the prestigious Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto in Castiglione, Italy and held a Fellowship at the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival in Toronto, Canada. This season, she joins Opera Idaho’s Young Artist Program to sing the title role in Acis & Galatea, Pousette in Manon, and Sister Catherine in Dead Man Walking. Her cover assignments with Opera Idaho include the title role in Manon and Mimì in La bohème. This season she will perform in concert with Boise Baroque and the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra in her native Portland, Oregon.

Cara was an Oregon District Winner at the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and was the Winner of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition where she performed Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate. She holds multiple awards from the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, East Bay Opera League, Berkeley Piano Club Voice Competition, and Henry & Maria Holt Memorial Scholarship Competition. California Bay Area performances have included Norina (Don Pasquale) with Pocket Opera, Elisena (Ifigenia in Aulide) and Jocasta (Le Amazzoni) with Ars Minerva, and the Foreign Woman (The Consul) with Berkeley Chamber Opera. Cara has been presented in recital by the Portland Opera Guild, Berkeley Piano Club, and the pop-up performance troupe Opera on the Spot. Her concert repertoire includes Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (Tafelmusik), Orff’s Carmina Burana (Berkeley Resonance Concert Series), Poulenc’s Gloria (Portland Youth Philharmonic), Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oregon Ballet Theatre), Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (Clark College Orchestra) as well as being a featured soloist with Southwest Washington Wind Symphony, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, and Cappella SF.

Cara graduated with her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she sang the roles of Musetta (La bohème), Atalanta (Serse), Nerone (Agrippina), The Rose (The Little Prince) and Drusilla (L’incoronazione di Poppea). She is an alumna of Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists Vocal Academy and the Opera Saratoga Young Artist Program.

Mezzo-Soprano Ashley Kay Armstrong

Ashley completed her 2018/2019 season as a Chrisman Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara. There she made her company debut as Olga in Evgeny Onegin. She also performed Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible and Véronique in Le docteur Miracle. Ashley performed last summer with Chicago Symphony Orchestra in their production of Aida.

As a Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre appearances included Jenny in The Threepenny Opera, Meg Brockie in Brigadoon; and Lady in Waiting in Turandot. Ashley made her Sarasota Opera debut as an Apprentice Artist in their production of La Traviata. Ashley has also appeared with Chicago Fringe Opera as Lucrezia in William Bolcom’s Lucrezia and as Alto in Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar. Other roles include: The Wife in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Women; Suzette in Milton Granger’s Bluebeard’s Waiting Room; Ottavia in Monteverdi’s l’incoronazione di Poppea; Dritte Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; and Amahl’s Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Ashley’s concert work includes The Defiant Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Leading Ladies in collaboration with Old Capitol Opera; as well as work with Chicago Combined Choirs. She has been featured in recitals and galas for Opera Santa Barbara, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, the Chicago College of Performing Arts, the University of Northern Iowa, Northwestern University, and the Chicago Art Institute.

Currently a student of Allan Glassman, Ashley holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and Theatre from the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied with Jeffrey Brich. Also a student of yoga, Ashley is a 200hr registered yoga teacher, fostering a curiosity for movement and body awareness in artists.

Tenor Max Jacob Zander

Max is a native of Great Neck, NY. He began his 2018-2019 season as Pygmalion in Franz von Suppé’s The Beautiful Galatea with Bel Cantanti Opera and then joined OPERA Iowa as Tamino and Monostatos in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and as Dudley in John Davies’ Little Red’s Most Unusual Day. Last summer, he joined Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist, covering Cacambo in Candide and Der Narr in Wozzeck, and appearing in scenes as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Goro in Madama Butterfly, Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte.

Highlights from the 2017-2018 season include Bardolfo in Falstaff starring Sir Bryn Terfel with the Liverpool Philharmonic, Pong in Turandot with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and the Narrator in Hub City Opera’s inaugural production of Carl Orff’s Der Mond. Other recent highlights include Caius in Falstaff with Opera Saratoga; Remendado in Carmen with the Indianapolis Symphony; Harry in La Fanciulla del West with Apotheosis Opera; and Parpignol in La bohème, Anselmo (and Sancho cover) in Man of La Mancha, and the cover of J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Utah Festival Opera. He made his European debut as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with the Montefeltro Festival in Italy. Max holds both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Baritone Radames Andrew Gil

Radames holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from San Diego State University and a Master of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is a former member of San Diego Opera’s community engagement program, Opera Exposed, where he appeared as Dandini in La Cenerentola and performed scenes from Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte.

While at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he sang the roles of Ben in The Telephone, Presto in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Bastianello the Elder in John Musto’s Bastianello, Ignacio in William Bolcom’s Lucrezia, Garibaldo in Rodelinda, and Leone in Tamerlano. He also performed as Liberto in L’incoronazione di Poppea and as Morales and Le Dancaïre in Carmen with Music Academy International. He placed first in the Graduate/Advanced Division at the NATS Competition in San Diego and was awarded membership into the musical honor society Pi Kappa Lambda upon graduating from San Diego State University.