The winners of the 2007 Irene Dalis Vocal Competition: where are they now?

Irene Dalis Vocal Competition 2007
NaGuanda Nobles, First place winner at the Inaugural Irene Dalis Vocal Competition; photo by Bob Shomler, 2007

Following her first place win at the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition in 2007, NaGuanda Nobles (soprano) went on to also win first place at the Ninth Annual Jensen Foundation Voice Competition in 2008, taking home another $15,000 and a contract with Opera Carolina. In 2008, she was a guest soloist for the Fremont Symphony in an evening of George Gershwin music; that same year, Mrs. Nobles performed as Liu in Turandot for Dayton Opera, and also covered the role of Clara in Porgy & Bess for Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mrs. Nobles appeared as Mimì in La bohème for Sacramento Opera in 2009. She sang the role of Clara in Porgy & Bess for Dayton Opera in 2010 and for Atlanta Opera in 2011. In 2011, she reprised her roles as Liu (Turandot) for Pittsburgh Opera, and Mimì (La bohème) for Dayton Opera. This fall, she will be singing the High Priestess in Dallas Opera’s production of Aïda.

In 2007, 2nd place winner Kristin Rothfuss (mezzo-soprano) made her debut with Sacramento Opera, singing Dorabella in a new production of Così fan tutte directed by John de Lancie, as well as singing Lola for Virginia Opera’s production of Cavalleria rusticana. After singing professionally for a few years, Kristin had a career change, becoming a new mother to a baby girl, which she calls her “best role yet”! Today, she runs a thriving private voice studio with 35 students, mostly high school students, and is passing on her joy, passion and knowledge for singing to the next generation. She proudly reported that some have moved on to major in vocal performance in college and have received large scholarships.

Oksana Sitnitska (mezzo-soprano), 3rd place winner of the inaugural Irene Dalis Vocal Competition, sang Olga in Virginia Opera’s 2008 production of Eugene Onegin, where she shared the stage with former OSJ resident Jason Detweiler as Onegin! In recent years, she has done a number of special performances of traditional Russian and Ukranian music at venues throughout the Bay Area with Sacramento Opera.

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