Finger Lakes Opera (FLO) recently received a large gift from Canandaigua resident James Brophy to rename one of its educational initiatives. Effective immediately, the program will be called the Grand Master Mutsuo Tomita Young Artist Program after one of Mr. Brophy’s dear friends, who passed away this past March.

The 2019 season marked the second year of FLO’s Young Artist Program and featured seven talented young singers who participated in an array of activities, including a July 19th fundraiser concert, the August 3rd performance of Jack and the Beanstalk, the August 10 extravaganza concert Opera HITS!, and as chorus members for the August 9 and 11 productions of La Bohème. In addition, these young singers provided community outreach and per the program’s focus, participated in workshops that focused on individualized vocal coaching, choreography and audition techniques. FLO is pleased to be able to bring the 2019 Young Artists back for a repeat performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at the end of National Opera Week, Sunday, November 3, 2019.

The recent gift will allow FLO to elevate the Young Artist program in several ways:

  • FLO will be able to provide more positions for aspiring singers
  • FLO will be able to provide stipends for all its participants. In its first two years, the Young Artist Program required singers to pay a stipend that partially covered expenses for the program. While FLO was able to provide scholarships to some of its singers, the majority still had to pay to participate.

“One of the things FLO has always taken great pride in is the superior artistic quality that is produced onstage year after year,” Executive Director Elizabeth Long explained and went on to say, “This gift will set the foundation for and expansion of the Young Artist Program for years to come.”

Marc Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America said, “We are delighted to learn of the naming of Finger Lakes Opera’s training program and the important ways it will be strengthened. The expansion of young artist programs across the country is evidence of opera’s vibrancy. Young singers are drawn to the power and passion of opera and New York State is fortunate to be home to several of these programs. The Grand Master Matsuo Tomita Young Artist Program will contribute to the cultural richness of the entire Upstate region and advance our field.”

FLO Artistic Director Gerard Floriano voiced his enthusiasm by saying, “We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Brophy for this magnanimous gift. His generous donation affords FLO the unique opportunity to elevate the Young Artist Program to an extraordinary level.”

National auditions for the Grand Master Mutsuo Tomita Young Artist Program will be held October through December with the goal of selecting up to 12 young singers to participate. The singers chosen for this opportunity will be featured in various FLO productions, including community outreach, the opera scenes program, the children’s opera (to be performed in Canandaigua in the summer of 2020 and in Rochester in the fall of 2020), Opera HITS!, and as singers in the main stage productions. The Grand Master Mutsuo Tomita Young Artist Program offers emerging singers a unique opportunity to perform as soloists and in ensemble, working alongside many of the most talented singers, directors, and musicians from around the world.


Now entering their eighth season, Finger Lakes Opera, a 501(c)(3) company, brings the excitement of Grand Opera right into the heart of Canandaigua. Outstanding singers, designers, and directors come together to create bold new productions of operatic masterpieces, resplendent with spectacular sets, dazzling costumes, and inventive staging, all with the accompaniment of a professional orchestra. Their previous productions have included Tosca, La Traviata, Carmen, and La Bohème, with an average of over 2000 attendees each year.

For more information about FLO, its educational programs or how to be a Young Artist sponsor, please contact Executive Director Elizabeth Long at 585-305-2340 or

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