Welcome to the 2019-2020 Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists

Washington National Opera (WNO) has announced the roster of emerging talent selected for the 18th season of its Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program (DCYAP), which begins in August 2019.

Program Director Robert Ainsley leads the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, which offers intensive training and mentorship in technique, repertoire, language, movement, finance management, and career development as well as extraordinary performance opportunities on the WNO mainstage and around Washington, D.C., for these rising stars.


The 2019–2020 Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists are:

Joshua Blue, Aurora, Illinois (tenor, second season)

Amanda Bottoms, Buffalo, New York (mezzo-soprano, first season)

Joshua Conyers, The Bronx, New York (baritone, second season)

Marlen Nahhas, Houston, Texas (soprano, second season)

Alexandra Nowakowski, Chicago, Illinois (soprano, second season)

William Meinert, Herndon, Virginia (bass, first season)

Samson McCrady, Tucson, Arizona (baritone, second season)

Thomas Morris, Atlanta, Georgia (pianist/coach, second season)

Matthew Pearce, (tenor, first season)

Alexandria Shiner, Waterford, Michigan (soprano, third season)

Rehanna Thelwell, (mezzo-soprano, first season)

Samuel Weiser, Princeton Junction, New Jersey (bass, second season)

William Woodard, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois (piano, first season)


The DCYAP hosts a faculty of leading master teachers and coaches, which will be led in 2019-2020 by new Artist-in-Residence Leah Crocetto. The celebrated American soprano played the title role of Aida in WNO’s 2016–2017 season and will be seen in next season’s production of Otello.

Through the year-long training and preparation program, the Young Artists will star in a special performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute; perform and cover supporting roles in Samson and Delilah, Blue, Porgy and Bess, and more; participate in world premieres as part of WNO’s annual American Opera Initiative Festival; and appear in a masterclass series, recitals, and concerts in prestigious venues and communities across the region.

Stay tuned for performance dates and Young Artist updates throughout the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program’s 2019-2020 season.