L.A. Opera launches an award for gifted singers. Five winners split $50,000

An opera singer in a blue dress
Soprano Angel Blue is seen performing as Mimi in “La Boheme” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
(Courtesy of Marty Sohl)

Los Angeles Opera is expected to announce Wednesday that it has created a $50,000 annual award for an outstanding artist with deep connections to the company, but because of the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural award will be split evenly among five singers.

This year’s recipients are soprano Angel Blue, soprano Janai Brugger, bass-baritone Craig Colclough, tenor Joshua Guerrero and mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, each of whom will receive $10,000.

Created by L.A. Opera board chairman Marc Stern and his wife, Eva Stern, the prize aims to help artists with the costs associated with being a professional opera singer, including vocal lessons, role preparation and language skills. The Eva and Marc Stern Artist Award winners were nominated by members of L.A. Opera’s artistic staff in consultation with the Sterns.

“People often think of opera as incredibly glamorous, but there are many elements that are anything but glamorous,” Marc Stern said in a statement. “It can even be downright lonely, so Eva and I have always done whatever we can to make artists’ experiences in Los Angeles as friendly and welcoming as possible. This award is an extension of that.”


Four of this year’s winners had been contracted to appear in L.A. Opera productions that were canceled or postponed because of the pandemic. Three winners — Blue, Brugger and Guerrero — received early career training through the company’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program.

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Blue was a member of L.A. Opera’s Young Artist Program from 2007 to 2010 and made her official company debut in 2008 in “La Rondine.” She was scheduled to return to L.A. Opera last year in “Il Trovatore” before the production was postponed. She will return to the company in the 2022-23 season in the title role for“Tosca.”

Brugger was part of L.A. Opera’s Young Artist Program from 2010 to 2012 and made her company debut in the 2010 production of “The Marriage of Figaro.” Brugger performed in the company’s productions of “La Bohème” (2012 and 2016) and “The Clemency of Titus” (2019). She had been scheduled to return to the company this year in “Don Giovanni.”

L.A. native Colclough began his career with L.A. Opera in “Gianni Schicchi” (2008). His star turn in L.A. Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro” was postponed because of COVID-19. Now he will make his company return in the 2022 production of Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion.”

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Guerrero participated in L.A. Opera’s Young Artist Program from 2012 to 2015 and has performed leading roles in the company’s “The Ghosts of Versailles” (2015) and “Macbeth” (2016). Last fall, he performed in San Diego Opera’s drive-in production of “La Bohème.”


Lindsey made her L.A. Opera debut in 2011 in “The Turk in Italy” and also has performed in the company’s “La Cenerentola” (2013) and “The Tales of Hoffmann” (2017). She had been slated to return in 2020 as Mélisande in the now-canceled production of “Pelléas et Mélisande.”