Washington National Opera (WNO) announced the roster of emerging talent selected for the 17th season of its Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program (DCYAP), which begins in August 2018. Roosevelt University alumnus Samuel Weiser was chosen to be part of the program this year. With a formidably beautiful bass voice, Weiser has no lack of stage presence or ability to move a listener — watch him sing this aria from Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah.
Weiser received a Master of Music in Voice Performance, as well as a Professional Diploma in Opera from Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) in 2018. He studied under the illustrious Bruce Hall and has numerous operatic roles under his belt that bolster his impressive resume, including two seasons at Chicago Opera Theater as a Young Artist. The DCYAP chose him based on all these qualities and qualifications.
Program Director Robert Ainsley leads the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, which offers intensive training and mentorship in technique, repertoire, language, movement, finance management and career development, as well as extraordinary performance opportunities on the WNO mainstage and around Washington, D.C. for these rising stars.
“This will be [Weiser’s] first season with Washington National Opera’s signature artist-development initiative, which is known as one of the nation’s most competitive and comprehensive professional training programs for young singers and collaborative pianists,” said Sabrina Skacan, a representative of the program. “Alumni of our program have won major competitions and gone on to successful careers at major opera houses in the U.S. and abroad. Only three to five young artists are selected to join the program out of the hundreds who apply each year.”
Weiser is joined by equally impressive peers, all of whom will have the opportunity to perform in myriad recitals, masterclasses and staged operas, in addition to the training provided by the intensive. Weiser himself will perform several roles with the WNO during his time there, including Marquis d’Obigny in La Traviata; Ox, Innkeeper and Shepherd in The Lion, the Unicorn and Me; Captain in Eugene Onegin; and Jailer in Tosca. Weiser and peers will also have the incredible opportunity to sing on the Kennedy Center stage.
Weiser himself is more than excited and readily prepared for this opportunity. “The Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program is an enormous opportunity and I am proud that I have been selected to join this prestigious program that has produced some of our generation's finest singers,” Weiser said. “Coming to CCPA four years ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd be considered among the forefront of today's young artists, but CCPA helped me attain this level of prestige. I am incredibly grateful for being afforded the opportunity to hone my craft and become the best artist I am able to be.”
The opera sphere may be competitive, but Weiser credits CCPA for instilling him with the tools he needs to succeed. “This next step in my career is surely a large step, but I feel prepared for anything I may have to tackle in these next few years of my career thanks to my training from CCPA,” he said.
The Chicago College of Performing Arts strives to instill values of quality musicianship and musical intuition, among many others, into its students. Weiser is a great example of those values embodied. CCPA and Roosevelt University wish him the best of luck and are proud to have him represent the legacy of the Music Conservatory with this honor.