FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2024
Rose Kearin, 936-967-4350
Elizabeth G. Long, 585-450-3880

ROCHESTER, NY: Finger Lakes Opera, Inc. (FLO), the region’s only professional opera company, has unveiled its roster of 2024 Summer Young Artists.

“Out of over 500 applicants, six exceptional singers were selected as the 2024 Finger Lakes Opera Young Artists. We cannot wait to welcome these future operatic stars to Rochester this summer,” FLO Young Artist Program Director Stephanie Havey stated. The following are FLO’s 2024 Summer Young Artists:

●Soprano Kristen Marie Gillis was a Studio Artist with Central City Opera last year and is currently an Apprentice Artist with Opera Ithaca. Gillis grew up in Round Rock, TX.
●Soprano Kira Kaplan, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, is currently based in London as a Global Talent Young Artist with the National Opera Studio of the United Kingdom.
●Mezzo-soprano Hailey Cohen is a Madison Opera Studio Artist based in Chicago, IL. Cohen grew up in Edgemont, NY.
●Tenor Nathaniel Schafer, a Dallas, TX native, will sing lead roles in Shreveport Opera’s upcoming productions of La bohème and Così fan tutte.
●Baritone Yonathan Astatke, an Ethopian-American Kansas City, MO native, was recently named an Arkansas District winner of Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Astatke went on to take second prize at the Midwest Regional Competition.
●Bass Jose Olivares is a resident artist at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, where he will sing the role of Duke in Romeo and Juliette. Olivares is a native of Fort Worth, TX.

These remarkably talented singers will be featured in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as several other FLO productions this June and July (Summer Festival announcement coming in April). FLO’s 2024 Summer Young Artists also will deliver community engagement programming throughout the months of June and July.

About FLO’s Young Artist Program; FLO’s Young Artist Program has flourished into one of the company’s greatest strengths with applications to its 4-week summer session increasing annually, representing an increase of over 500% since 2019. This expansion has been the catalyst for FLO’s growing community engagement programming and in-school presence. For more information or to inquire about supporting this incredible program, please call 585-450-3880 or email

FLO is grateful to the following for their generous support of its Young Artist Program:

Guido & Ellen Palma Foundation, Opera America, New York State council on the Arts, and The Community Foundation of Rochester NY.