Finger Lakes Opera Announces Its 2021 Tomita Young Artist Roster


After receiving almost 400 applications from all over the world, Finger Lakes Opera, Inc., (FLO), is proud to announce its 2021 Tomita Young Artist roster.

“This year’s audition process was completely virtual due to the pandemic, and we received a record number of applications to our program. The level of singing and artistry was extraordinary, and I am confident that the FLO Tomita Artists for 2021 will be among the best group of young artists anywhere,” FLO Artistic Director and founder Gerard Floriano explained.

These young artists will be featured in several live productions over the summer, including Summer Scenes, Opera HITS! and the children’s opera Three Little Pigs, all of which will be held in July at various locations throughout the Finger Lakes region. Additionally, select members of 2021 Tomita Young Artist class will work side-by-side with the mainstage artists for FLO’s August production of The Barber of Seville, whether it be singing in comprimario roles, the men’s chorus or serving as understudies for mainstage artists themselves. Dates, times, locations, and ticket price information for all these events will be released at the end of May.

The 2021 Tomita Young Artists who are returning include tenor David Soto Zambrana (whom FLO audiences will remember as Pinocchio), tenor Nathaniel Catasca, baritone Robert Riordan (as the Wolf and Dr. Dulcamara from Pinocchio and who will appear as Fiorello in this summer’s The Barber of Seville), soprano Robin Steitz (the narrator, Lady in Blue and Olympia from Pinocchio and who will sing the role of Berta in this summer’s The Barber of Seville),
and bass Jongwon Choi (FLO’s Basilio in The Barber of Seville). New to the Tomita Young Artist program are soprano Danielle Beckvermit, mezzo-sopranos Veena Akama-Makia and Imara Miles, baritone John Allen Nelson, and collaborative pianists Natasha Talukdar Elam and Edward Forstman.

This summer’s class of 2021 Tomita Young Artists are from all over the United States including Arkansas, Alabama, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington DC, as well as San Juan and South Korea. Four of the young artists have degrees from the Eastman School of Music (Forstman, Catasca, Steitz, and Akama-Makia), Beckvermit received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Fredonia, and Choi will be a doctoral candidate at SUNY Stonybrook this Fall. Photos, biographical information, and introductory videos of all 2021 Tomita Young Artists can be found at

About the Tomita Young Artist Program

FLO’s Tomita Young Artist Program was established in 2018 by Floriano as a means to provide aspiring young talent the opportunity to work and perform alongside the mainstage performers and creative team members each summer. In order to get the program off the ground, those who participated in the program the first two years were required to pay tuition. In the fall of 2019, FLO received a significant gift from an anonymous donor to rename the program and ensure that going forward, all participants received performance opportunities, travel stipends, and housing.

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