Vocal Arts Honored at Chautauqua

Vocal arts alumnus earns opportunity, awards through professional opera companies.

John Riesen (right) at a reception for the Chautauqua Opera Summer Program in New York.

A recent graduate from the MSU College of Music recently earned prestigious honors and professional opportunities in the world of opera.

John Riesen, MM 2014, received the outstanding apprentice award from the Chautauqua Opera in southwestern New York after participating in the company’s summer program. While there, he performed in several productions and was featured in the annual apprentice concert. Riesen apprenticed at Chautaqua in 2013 and was invited back for his second year.

“A student who earns an apprenticeship with an opera company affirms that he or she is among the best young talent,” says Richard Fracker, area chair of the vocal arts in the MSU College of Music. “And to get an apprenticeship at John's young age is very unusual. Most apprentices are a few years older and already out of school.”

In addition to his Chautauqua honors, Riesen has performed in the highly competitive Lyric Opera of Chicago Young Artist Studio Finals in the early fall. He also received a yearlong professional apprenticeship with the Shreveport Opera Company in Louisiana for the upcoming season.

“John has great vocal talent, superior theatrical instincts, and unusual maturity and discipline for his age,” says Fracker. “He was and will continue to be a model student.”

Riesen is the second student from MSU to receive the outstanding apprentice award from Chautauqua. Joshua Baum won the award in 2010 as a doctoral student. Fracker says two other young singers with ties to MSU vocal arts program apprenticed at Chautauqua this summer, including current student Isaac Frishman and alumnus Brad Walker. 

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