skip to Main Content

Meet Carlos Enrique Santelli, tenor

After so many songless months, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here making music with the Opera San José family! My name is Carlos and I am a tenor from Orlando, Florida where I grew up watching my grandmother teach voice lessons. When she wasn’t playing the piano, my grandpa was playing songs on his guitar and the whole family was there to listen. I always loved those family moments and always sang in choir, so when I started taking voice lessons I was absolutely hooked.

I sang in my first opera my freshman year of undergrad, continued on to a master’s degree where I met my wife, Ashley, singing “Dead Man Walking” together and then moved to Los Angeles to participate in their young artist program for two years with summer stops at the Santa Fe Opera as an apprentice artist. Bel canto took a special place in my heart and it carried me to the Met stage alongside Ashley for the 2018 national council auditions. Music has given me so much and I hope to give a little bit of that back to each of you!

When I’m not singing, I’m a coffee explorer. Discovering new cafes and small coffee roasters is one of the great perks of traveling to so many new places. I hope to continue to explore here in San José and look forward to meeting all of you. What a joy it is to be singing again!


Carlos Enrique Santelli, Opera San José Resident Artist



A Winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli is a recent graduate of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, where he covered Nadir in The Pearl Fishers. In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Santelli makes his San Diego Opera debut as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, returns to Dayton opera as Ramiro in La cenerentola and sings his first performances of Tonio in La fille du regiment with Opera Orlando. On the concert stage, he performs Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic, as well as a joint recital with his wife, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon. Last season, Mr. Santelli made his Dayton Opera debut as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and performed as tenor soloist in Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht with the Sacramento Choral Society.

Recent projects with LA Opera include performances in Salome, conducted by James Conlon, and Wonderful Town, conducted by Grant Gershon. Additionally, Mr. Santelli appeared as a guest soloist in a special gala celebrating the 10-year anniversary of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Further collaborations on the West Coast include numerous projects with LA Opera’s Artist-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin.

For the past two summers, Mr. Santelli was a member of Santa Fe Opera’s distinguished Apprentice Artist Program where he worked with such noted conductors as Harry Bicket, Emmanuel Villaume, and Corrado Rovaris. The summer of 2017 was a particularly notable season for Mr. Santelli as he made his principal role debut with the company as Arturo in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. His scene work there included Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and Arnold in Guillaume Tell.

Carlos Enrique Santelli’s concert engagements have included appearances as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah (with the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra), Mozart’s Coronation Mass (with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra), and Mozart’s Requiem (with the University of Michigan/Yale Alumni Glee Club).

Mr. Santelli received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music from the University of Michigan. It was at the latter institution that he had the distinction of holding a Jessye Norman Graduate Fellowship. He is a native of Orlando, Florida.