Transcendence and Triumph Soloists
Soprano Sara LeMesh, hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “powerhouse
performance of vocal majesty and expressive translucency,” is a dramatic
presence on the opera stage, an avid chamber musician, and an advocate of
contemporary music. A third-prize winner in the 2023 Serge & Olga Koussevitzky
Young Artist Awards and MI International Vocal Competition, LeMesh is quickly
garnering attention for her “mesmerizing” and “affectingly plangent” singing
Recent operatic engagements include Frasquita (Carmen), Woman #1 (Frida) and
Josephine (H.M.S. Pinafore) with Opera Naples as well as Young Lisa/Leah in Lori
Laitman’s Uncovered with City Lyric Opera. She also covered the lead role of The
Madwoman/Nellie in the world premiere of Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse with
Opera Philadelphia. Her performance of Bess in the West Coast premiere of Missy
Mazzoli’s Breaking The Waves with West Edge Opera earned rave reviews, and the
San Francisco Classical Voice lauded her “lush tone, exceptional high-register
clarity, dramatic breadth, and fearless command.
Additional concert appearances include Schumann’s Spanisches Liederspiel with
pianist Jonathan Biss and Adolf Busch’s Der Blick, Opus 3c with violinist Claire Bourg
and pianist Lydia Brown at the Marlboro Music Festival. LeMesh also made recent
debuts with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players and the Southwest Florida
Upcoming appearances include the world premiere of Melissa Dunphy’s The
Generations with organist David Higgs in the summer of 2024 and a solo recital
featuring music of the Jewish diaspora at the Musicians Club of New York.
Versatile mezzo-soprano Teresa Buchholz enjoys success in the realms of opera, art song and oratorio, ranging from the baroque to romantic operas to contemporary works. Verdi’s Requiem is quickly becoming a staple of her repertoire, and she has recently performed the work with True Concord Chorus and Orchestra (Tucson, AZ), the Helena Symphony (Helena, MT), the New Jersey Choral Society, and the Lake Como Music Festival (Italy). Upcoming performances include the role of Eduige in “Rodelinda” at the historic Hudson Hall (NY) in her second collaboration with director R.B. Schlather, Mahler’s Ruckert Lieder with Bard College’s Community Orchestra, and Mozart’s Requiem with the Tulsa Symphony. Engagements for the 2022-23 season included Mozart’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Magnificat, both at Carnegie Hall, in addition to another Vivaldi work, the solo cantata Stabat Mater with The Berkshire Bach Society. She covered roles for two rare Strauss operas: the role of Gaea in “Daphne” at Carnegie Hall with The American Symphony Orchestra, and the role of Carlotta in “Die Schweigsame Frau'' for Bard’s Summerscape Festival. Her 2021-22 season also included Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Helena Symphony, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah) with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with the Long Beach Symphony (CA), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with The Portland Symphony (ME), Mahler’s Symphony No 2 with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra (TN), and Vivaldi’s Gloria with The Berkshire Bach Society (MA). Some other recent performances include Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall with Distinguished Concerts International New York, several Holiday concerts with The Greenwich Choral Society and a guest recital at her alma mater, The University of Northern Iowa. In March 2019 she performed Alexander Nevsky with the Anchorage Symphony, and 2018/19 marked the debut of a newly formed collaboration with Bard colleagues Erika Switzer and Marka Gustavsson, The Blithewood Ensemble, which has performed a program of chamber music as part of the Downtown Music at Grace series (White Plains, NY) at the Hudson Hall (Hudson, NY) and Bitò Hall at Bard College. October 2017 marked her performance as Ann in the highly acclaimed production of “The Mother of Us All” by Virgil Thomson to open the renovated Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY. She has been a member of the Bard College and Conservatory faculty since 2014, where she teaches private voice, vocal pedagogy and Opera Workshop.
Dann Coakwell, tenor, has been praised as a “clear-voiced and eloquent … vivid storyteller” (The New York Times), with “a gorgeous lyric tenor that could threaten or caress on the turn of a dime" (The Dallas Morning News). He can be heard as a soloist on the Grammy-winning The Sacred Spirit of Russia (Harmonia Mundi 2014), as well as multiple other Grammy-nominated albums, the critically praised Bruhns: Cantatas and Organ Works, Vol. 1 (BIS 2022), and Mohammed Fairouz: Zabur (Naxos 2016). Coakwell has sung across Europe, Japan, and throughout the Americas, under renowned conductors such as Helmuth Rilling, Masaaki Suzuki, Monica Huggett, William Christie, Nicholas McGegan, the late John Scott, Matthew Halls, María Guinand, and Craig Hella Johnson. Having performed in prominent venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, he has also appeared as a soloist with acclaimed organizations such as Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart in Germany, Bach Collegium Japan, Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Canada, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, Oregon Bach Festival, Portland and Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Dallas Bach Society, Conspirare, and the symphony orchestras of Orlando, Charlotte, Nashville, Indianapolis, Quad Cities, and Kansas City. Serving on the voice faculty at Ithaca College, Dr. Coakwell also appears nationally and abroad as a guest teaching artist.
Filipino-American bass-baritone Enrico Lagasca’s nascent career already comprises 16 oratorios, 17 new-music works, seven opera roles, 13 song cycles and collections and four Grammy Award-nominated recordings.
Concert repertoire is where he spends much of his time, but two hybrid presentations of frame his 2022-2023 season: Tyshawn Sorey’s Monochromatic Light (afterlight) directed by Peter Sellers at the Park Avenue Armory and the New York Philharmonic’s premiere of Julia Wolfe’s multi-media unEarth. Between the ensemble work in those two world premieres, he sings bass solos in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with Voices of Ascension, Handel's Messiah at Ann Arbor's University Musical Society and Carnegie Hall with Musica Sacra, Bach's Christmas Oratorio at Washington Bach Consort, and Mendelssohn's Walpurgisnacht with the St. Louis Symphony.
As much as the great sacred works of Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart remain in his bones, Enrico is increasingly inclined to seek out music by living composers such as Wolfe, Jonathon Dove, Caroline Shaw, and Reena Esmail. He has sung Sarah Kirkland Snider's Mass for the Endangered, Jake Heggie's The Moon is a Mirror and Nico Muhly's The Last Letter. Joby Talbot's Path of Miracles will figure repeatedly in his 2022-2023 season, along with Craig Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard - the latter reflecting Enrico’s particular interest in works that address the LGBTQ+ community. He is a member of the Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, which is dedicated to diversity and social justice.
Opera roles include Collatinus in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia and Lorenzo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi. His need to take risks onstage has led him to forward-looking directors such as Thaddeus Strassberger, RB Schlather and Kevin Newbury.
A graduate of New York’s Mannes School of Music, Enrico lives in New York City with his domestic partner of several years.