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Resident Artists Program

The 2016-17 Resident Artists Program signals the creation of the first-ever Resident Company for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  Vinson Cole, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance faculty member and one of the leading artists of his generation, will lead the program.

During their Residency, in addition to appearing in main stage roles, the Resident Artists will work with visiting guest artists’ conductors and directors, participate in master classes, career coaching, study leading roles, make musical appearances in the community, and appear in Lyric Opera’s NEW Explorations Series performances, which will focus on intimate gems of the vocal music repertoire. The Resident Artists will have a full time 8-month contract for one or two years and receive artistic training via master classes with guest artists, acting, movement and stage combat and professional career development. The artists have completed their post-graduate education and may have some professional experience.

Special Thanks to Mr. Richard Hill, Charter Sponsor of the Resident Artists Program.

Resident Artists for the 2017-2018 Season will be announced in Summer 2017. 

2016-2017 Resident Artists

The Resident Artists were selected after a rigorous national audition of more than 100 singers.  We welcome the inaugural 2016-2017 class!

April Martin – SopranoApril Martin – Soprano

Soprano April Martin recently performed a thrilling depiction of the Governess in Britten’s thought provoking opera, The Turn of the Screw. In November 2015 she sang the 2nd Wood Sprite in Dvořák’s Rusalka, and in the spring of 2016 Ms. Martin sang Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen, both with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  This summer, Ms. Martin will make her debut with Finger Lakes Opera.  Other credits include Antonia (Man of La Mancha) with the Central City Opera Company as an apprentice artist, Musetta (La bohème) with the Bar Harbor Music Festival in Maine, as well as the roles of Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Niece 1 (Peter Grimes), Anne Egerman (A Little Night Music) and Blanche de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites).  April has won awards in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition (2nd Place) and the Opera Carolina Guild Competition (2nd Place). She studies under the tutelage of renowned American tenor, Vinson Cole.

As a Resident Artist for the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Martin will perform the roles of Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance. Learn more about Ms. Martin on her website

Samantha Gossard - Headshot (2016)Samantha Gossard – Mezzo-Soprano

Mezzo-soprano, Samantha Gossard, is recognized by critics and audiences alike for her rich, warm voice and powerful stage portrayals. This past spring, Ms. Gossard sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Earlier last season, she made her “stunning” role debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City ( and also appeared as Mercedes in Carmen and the Third Woodsprite in Rusalka. She was previously an Apprentice Artist for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and performed the roles of Zulma in L’italiana in Algeri and Madeleine Audebert in Silent Night. Ms. Gossard was a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2015, and has also been an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera in Colorado, where she covered and performed Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. Other favorite opera credits with these companies include Dead Man Walking, La Rondine, Emmeline, Die Fledermaus, and La Traviata. Ms. Gossard was a New Horizon Fellow with the Aspen Music Festival and School for two summers and is a former student of the Aspen Opera Theatre Center.

As a Resident Artist for the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Gossard will perform the roles of Cherubino in the production of The Marriage of Figaro, Jade Boucher in Dead Man Walking, and Kate in The Pirates of Penzance. Learn more about Ms. Gossard on her website at

Casey Candebat - BaritoneCasey Candebat – Tenor

Tenor Casey Candebat, a native of New Orleans, has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as having “the big, straightforward Italian sound” and by the San Francisco Chronicle as being “one of the up and coming stars of opera.” A recent two-time participant in the illustrious Merola Opera Program, Mr. Candebat performed the role of Il Podestà in Mozart’s La Finta Giardinera, and covered the role of Mr. Owen in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco. He returned to Merola Opera in 2014 to perform the role of Mitch in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and a highly acclaimed scene from Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz. A frequent performer with the New Orleans Opera, he has been featured in their productions of Dead Man Walking, Salome, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Il Trittico, Manon Lescaut, La bohème, and Turandot.  Mr. Candebat has been a young artist at Chautauqua Opera in their 2009 and 2010 seasons. He has also been a young artist at Opera North where he performed the role of Dr. Cajus in Verdi’s Falstaff. Mr. Candebat has won several prestigious vocal competitions, including the Grand Prize in the Bel Canto Foundation Voice Competition, 2011, a four-time regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Chautauqua Opera Guild’s Encouragement Award, 2010. Mr. Candebat is a graduate of Northwestern University and Loyola University New Orleans.

As a Resident Artist for the 2016-2017 season, Mr. Candebat will perform the role of Father Grenville in Dead Man Walking. Learn more about Mr. Candebat on his website at

John Viscardi - BaritoneJohn Viscardi – Baritone

Baritone John Viscardi is a New York native and graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. His 2015-16 season included his Carnegie Hall debut with Maestro Z. Randall Stroope, performing Vaughn Williams’ Five Mystical Songs and Stroope’s American Rhapsody.  This was followed by Morales in Carmen with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Baritone Soloist in Carmina Burana with Opera Philadelphia, Silvio in Il Pagliacci with Venture Opera and Opera San Luis Obispo, and Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me Kate with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice. In the 2014-15 Season, Mr. Viscardi made a series of role debuts beginning with Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with New York Opera Exchange, followed by his Michigan Opera Theatre debut as Valentin in Faust, Bumerli in The Chocolate Soldier with Concert Operetta Theatre and Robert in Iolanta with Tri-Cities Opera. Mr. Viscardi has seen great success in the American Competition circuit.  Awards include first place in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, Santa Fe Opera’s Anna Case MacKay Memorial Award, the Lys Symonette Award from the Kurt Weill Foundation, Lotte Lenya Competition, and George London Foundation Encouragement Award.

As a Resident Artist for the 2016-2017 season, Mr. Viscardi will perform the role of the Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking. Learn more about Mr. Viscardi on his website at

Kyle Naig - Coach-AccompanistKyle Naig – Coach-Accompanist

Pianist and coach Kyle Naig is from Des Moines, Iowa. Most recently he was a Mosher Studio Artist at Opera Santa Barbara, where he worked on productions of L’elisir d’amore and Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi as well as the promotional concert and outreach tour. Other recent engagements include work at Des Moines Metro Opera (Galileo Galilei, Manon, La hija de Rappaccini, Three Decembers) and Opera Bozeman (Don Pasquale). Kyle is a graduate of the University of Kansas.



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