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Notable Young Artists

The Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Young Artist Program offers education and performance experience to outstanding pre-professional singers. Members of the Young Artist Program take the stage in mainstage operas as part of the opera chorus, as leads in Young Artist productions, and participate in master classes, mock auditions, stage combat and stage make-up workshops during their time in Cedar Rapids.

Below are a few of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Young Artist Program Members who have continued on to professional success on stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Notable Former Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Young Artists


Elisabeth Bieber – mezzo soprano
Ms. Bieber sang as a Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Young Artist while in graduate school at The University of Iowa. She has performed with Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Omaha, Caramoor, and Opera Santa Barbara.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Susannah 2006
The Magic Flute 2007
Madama Butterfly 2006 & 2009
Cosi fan tutte 2009
Carmen 2014

Learn more about Elisabeth Bieber

Christopher Carr – tenor
Christopher Carr performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as an undergraduate student at Simpson College. He has sung with Arizona Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Washington National Opera, and Kansas City Lyric Opera. Mr. Carr performed as Beppe in CR Opera’s January 2017 production of Pagliacci.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Cosi fan tutte 2009
Tosca 2010
La Traviata 2016

Learn more about Christopher Carr

Jesse Donner - tenor
Jesse Donner with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as an undergrad at Iowa State University and is now a member of the Ryan Center/Lyric Opera of Chicago Roster.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Tosca 2010
Candide 2011

Learn more about Jesse Donner


Stephen Fish – baritone
Stephen Fish performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa, now sings roles with Seattle Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Sarasota Opera.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
The Magic Flute 2007
Into the Woods 2007

Learn more about Stephen Fish


Eric Ferring – tenor
Eric Ferring performed with Cedar Rapids Opera as an undergrad student at Drake University and a graduate student at Boston Conservatory, now singing with Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Wolf Trap Opera.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Candide 2011
La Bohème 2013
Carmen 2014
La Traviata 2016

Learn more about Eric Ferring


Norman Garrett—baritone
Norman Garrett performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in the first year of the Young Artist Program as an undergraduate from Texas Tech, now an alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz program at Washington National Opera, and singing lead roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glimmerglass Opera. Managed by IMG Artists.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Otello 2003
Pirates of Penzance 2004
Carmen 2005

Learn more about Norman Garrett


Michael Krzankowski – baritone
Michael Krzankowski performed as a Young Artist while in graduate school. He now sings with Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass, Indianapolis Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and the Toledo Opera.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Susannah 2006

Learn more about Michael Krzankowski

Andrew Stenson – tenor

Andrew Stenson began performing with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as an undergraduate at Luther College. He is now in the MET's Lindemann Program and is on the Metropolitan Opera roster. He has sung with Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Arizona Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, Ft. Worth Opera and is managed by Fletcher Artist Management.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Aida 2008
The Gondoliers 2008
Madama Butterfly 2009
Salome 2010

Learn more about Andrew Stenson

Kelly Hill – mezzo soprano
Kelly Hill performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa and received Master's at Yale. She has sung roles with Opera Theatre of Connecticut, the Aspen Festival, Hartford Opera, Central City Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Aida 2008
Madama Butterfly 2009
Salome 2010

Learn more about Kelly Hill



Caitlyn McKechney - mezzo soprano
Caitlyn McKechney sang as a Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Young Artist while in graduate school at Chicago College of Performing Arts/Roosevelt University in Chicago. She now sings with Opera Memphis, Nashville Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Amore Opera, and is a founding member of the Opera Cowgirls.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Aida 2008
The Gondoliers 2008
Madama Butterfly 2009
Little Red's Most Unusual Day 2009

Learn more about Caitlyn McKechney


Yunnie Park – soprano
Yunnie Park performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa. She now sings lead roles with Wichita Grand Opera and Arizona Opera.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
Aida 2008

Learn more about Yunnie Park

Ariana Wehr – soprano
Ariana Wehr performed as a Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Young Artist while attending Louisiana State University. She now sings with Washington National Opera, Glimmerglass, and Pensacola Opera.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:
La Bohème 2013 2013
Frankenboy, a Monsteropera 2013

Learn more about Ariana Wehr


Chaz'men Williams-Ali – tenor
Chaz’men Williams-Ali was a Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre during his undergraduate years at the University of Iowa. He now sings leading roles with Glimmerglass, Skylight Music Theater, Maryland Lyric Opera, Opera New York, Opera Parallele.

Performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre in:

The Gondoliers 2008
Aida 2008
Madama Butterfly 2009
Little Red's Most Unusual Day 2010

Learn more about Chaz’men Williams-Ali


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