UCSB Voice Program Current Students and Alumni Win Prestigious Auditions and Awards

Current students and alumni from the UCSB Voice Program have recently won positions with prestigious opera artist programs and have been named finalists in some of the country’s major voice competitions. Byron Mayes, Tyler Reece, Kara Smoot (MM ‘14), Adam Bradley (MM ‘16), and Alice Chung (Music Minor/BA Sociology ‘14) are all current or former students of UCSB Voice Program faculty members Professor Benjmain Brecher or Dr. Linda Di Fiore.
Current doctoral student Byron Mayes (baritone) was named a national finalist in the National Opera Association’s Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition (Artist Division). Mr. Mayes will compete in the competition finals at the National Opera Association Convention in New Orleans in January 2018. Doctoral candidate Tyler Reece (baritone), received a travel grant from UC Santa Barbara to travel to NYC in January to compete in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition.
Soprano Kara Smoot (MM ‘14) recently won the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions for Idaho/Montana and was named a Semi-Finalist in the 2017 Young Texas Artists Vocal Competition. This past season, Ms. Smoot made role debuts as the Lady of the Creek in the world premiere of Las Fundaciones de Béjar and Ines in Il trovatore with Opera San Antonio. She can be seen this season in Alamo City Opera’s production of Speed Dating Tonight!
During the summer of 2017, tenor Adam Bradley (MM ‘16) was a Studio Artist with Opera Saratoga where he sang the role of Professor Mamie in a historic performance of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock. In 2018, he will join Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist singing the role of Mr. Splinters in The Tender Land.
Mezzo-soprano Alice Chung (Music Minor/BA Sociology ‘14) was selected as a 2017 Merola Artist with the prestigious Merola Opera Program. Ms. Chung spent the summer in San Francisco, where she sang excerpts fromThe Ballad of Baby Doe (Augusta Tabor), Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza), and Street Scene (Mrs. Olsen) as part of the Schwabacher Summer Concert. Ms. Chung was also a part of the female quartet in Holst’s Savitri and covered Popova in Walton’s The Bear for the triple bill of one acts. For the Merola Grand Finale, she sang Musetta’s aria from the obscure, but more accurate, La bohème by Leoncavallo. Ms. Chung received a minor in music and a BA in sociology in 2014 from UC Santa Barbara, where she studied voice with Professor Benjamin Brecher and Dr. Linda Di Fiore

Byron Mayes (baritone)

Byron Mayes (photo by Zach Mendez)American baritone Byron Mayes is a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara in pursuit of both a Masters of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal performance under the guidance of Dr. Linda Di Fiore. He received his Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Columbus State University where he studied with Professor Earl Coleman. While attending Columbus State, he performed the role of Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Bill Bobstay in Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, and Melchior in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. Following graduation, Byron returned to his hometown of Houston, TX where he performed with the Houston Grand Opera chorus, participating in HGO's productions of Verdi's Otello, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. He has since been apart of Opera Santa Barbara's chorus performing in their productions of Bizet's Carmen and Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen.

Tyler Reece (baritone)

Tyler ReeceTyler Reece, baritone​, is in his final year as a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Originally from the Aspen Valley of Colorado, Tyler earned his Bachelor's Degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with Dr. David Judisch. At Luther, he performed the roles of Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte and John Styx in Offenbach's comic operetta Orpheus in the Underworld​. For his graduate studies, Tyler has worked under the tutelage of Dr. Linda Di Fiore at both the University of North Texas and UCSB. This spring, Tyler will make his role debut as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. Other recent operatic engagements include the title role of Pasatieri’s one act comedy Signor Deluso, Malvolio in the West Coast premiere of Joel Feigin’s setting of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and the leading role of Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy. Tyler is a winner of numerous awards through the National Association for Teachers of Singing, most notably the Gwendolyn Roberts Young Artist of the Year song recital competition. In addition to his academic studies, he sings professionally with Schola Cantorum of the Old Mission Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Choral Society. In accordance with his passion for education, he also serves as a Teaching Assistant to the Voice and Choral Departments at UCSB.

Kara Smoot (soprano)

Kara SmootKnown for her rich vocal color and expressivity, soprano Kara Smoot shows promise as an up and coming singer. This season, she joins Alamo City Opera’s production of Speed Dating Tonight! She was recently seen making role debuts as the Lady of the Creek in the world premiere of Las Fundaciones de Béjar and Ines in Il trovatore with Opera San Antonio. She recently won the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and was a Semi-Finalist in the 2017 Young Texas Artists Vocal Competition. Other career highlights include singing the title role of Tosca, Mimì in La bohème, Violetta in La traviata, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, The Sleep Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, the title role of Luisa Fernanda in Luisa Fernanda, and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. Accomplished in performing choral masterpieces, she has been a featured soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. She received a Master of Music degree on a full-tuition academic and music scholarship from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University.

Adam Bradley (tenor)

Adam BradleyAmerican tenor, Adam Bradley, who has been praised for his “impressive displays of technique and vocal strength” (KC Metropolis) returns to the University of Missouri - Kansas City for his final year of the Artist Certificate program. During the summer of 2017, Mr. Bradley was a Studio Artist at Opera Saratoga where he performed in a historic performance of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock (Professor Mamie) and covered the role of Ali in Grétry’s Zémire et Azor. While at UMKC Mr. Bradley has worked closely with Fenlon Lamb, whom he met while performing in her production of Gianni Schicchi (Maestro Spinelloccio) at Opera Santa Barbara. Under her direction he has performed in Gianni Schicchi (Gherardo) and privately coached Rodelinda (Grimoaldo). Mr. Bradley completed his Master of Music from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he was featured in Signor Deluso (Léon) and the world premiere of Joel Feigin’s Twelfth Night (Sebastian). During his time in California, Mr. Bradley was awarded 1st Place winner of the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara as well as the California Women’s Chorus competition. Adam is a proud graduate of Luther College where he performed in the world premiere of the late Stephen Paulus’ Luther Mass, Mozart’s Coronation Mass in COrpheus in the Underworld (Pluto) and Così fan tutte (Ferrando). In the 2017-2018 season he will perform in L’enfant et les sortilèges (La théière) at UMKC and, later, join Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist singing the role of Mr. Splinters in The Tender Land and covering the role of Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus. Mr. Bradley is ever grateful to his mentors Vinson Cole (UMKC), Linda Di Fiore (UCSB) and David Judisch (Luther College).

Alice Chung (mezzo-soprano)

Alice Chung
Korean-American mezzo-soprano Alice Chung has been praised for being a “force of nature” (SFCV) and "soaring with impressive power (KCMetropolis)." Ms. Chung was recently seen in San Francisco, participating in the prestigious Merola Opera Program. She sang excerpts of The Ballad of Baby Doe as Augusta Tabor and Cavalleria rusticana as Santuzza in the Schwabacher Summer Concert. This past fall, Ms. Chung performed the role of Madame Larina in the new production of Eugene Onegin with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She also sang Die Hexe in Hänsel und Gretel at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Kansas City. Other roles include Eduige (Rodelinda), Sister Lillianne (Dead Man Walking), La zia Principessa and Zita (Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi), Mama McCourt (The Ballad of Baby Doe), Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw), Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Cecilia March (Little Women), and Mariana (Luisa Fernanda).Ms. Chung has also appeared with Pasadena Opera Guild, Opera Santa Barbara, OperaWorks, Chautauqua Opera, and Central City Opera. This coming spring, Ms. Chung will be singing the role of Giovanna (Rigoletto), and this summer, she will be returning to Central City to cover Azucena in Il trovatore.  Ms. Chung received a minor in music and a BA in sociology in 2014 from UC Santa Barbara, where she studied voice with Professor Benjamin Brecher and Dr. Linda Di Fiore
Byron Mayes (Zach Mendez)