Although mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven has only been a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for a year, she’s already made her company debut as the Vanderdendur in Candide. As the treacherous ship captain who double crosses Candide, she chewed up the stage. Later this month, she appears with Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin and the other Domingo-Colburn-Stein YAPs on-tour in “Verdi: Bel Canto and Beyond.”
“I was so out of my element!” Raven said of her debut in Candide. “But at the end of it I was so grateful to dance and have dialogue and sing in English.”
Taylor’s love of singing began early, both her parents were church singers. But she didn’t begin pursuing opera until later in life. “Studying opera came sort of came out of left field,” she says. “I started pursuing a degree in music my sophomore year of college.”
Taylor went on to earn her Master of Music degree at the University of Colorado-Boulder. In 2017 she was a recipient of the Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. It turns out Nino Sanikidze, Head Coach of LA Opera’s Young Artist Program, was at the audition.
“[Sanikidze] later asked me to sing for the program. And the rest is history!” she stated.
LA Opera’s Young Artist program provides many opportunities for singers perform. Taylor is participating in the “Verdi: Bel Canto and Beyond” recital tour beginning this week. The program will provide a unique and exciting opportunity for the young singers to show off their dramatic chops.
“It’s going to be fun!” Raven said of the recital tour. “We get to perform whole scenes, instead of arias! And really dive into the characters.” There will be a comedy trio from from Rossini complete with a hero in disguise, along with more dramatic scenes from Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
Taylor has an exciting and busy summer ahead before returning to LA Opera for her second year with the young artists. She’ll be performing Gertrude in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera and perform as part of Bernstein’s Songfest. The life of singer might be hard work, but Taylor doesn’t mind.
“I love it,” Raven continued. “This is why we put in all the blood, sweat and tears.”
You can see Taylor Raven and the other Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists perform April 29-May 13 as part of the Verdi: Bel Canto and Beyond recital tour. For more information, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.