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Opera Orlando's Studio Artist program provides a platform for emerging artists to cover mainstage roles and gain valuable performance experience. From concerts to opera previews, studio artists engage the Central Florida community with high-quality educational programming.

This year Opera Orlando studio artists return to the Mayflower, Westminster Orlando, and Westminster Winter Park and visit local high schools for special opera previews and to share the beauty and splendor of opera.

To book our studio artists at your school or community center, please contact our Studio Artist program coordinator, Sarah Purser, at spurser@operaorlando.org or call 407-512-1900.

2018-2019 Studio Artists:

  • Courtney Ruckman, soprano

  • Kelly Kim, soprano

  • Emily Walton, mezzo soprano

  • Jonathan Iverson, tenor

  • Benjamin Ludwig, baritone

  Benjamin Ludwig   A lover of both opera and musical theater, Benjamin Ludwig was graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance. Some of his favorite roles since then have been Marcello in  La Boheme , Captain Phoebus in  The Hunchback of Notre Dame , Cascada in  The Merry Widow , and Albert Peterson in  Bye, Bye, Birdie . Those who just can’t get enough Ben Ludwig can find him cantoring at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Cloud.

Benjamin Ludwig

A lover of both opera and musical theater, Benjamin Ludwig was graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance. Some of his favorite roles since then have been Marcello in La Boheme, Captain Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Cascada in The Merry Widow, and Albert Peterson in Bye, Bye, Birdie. Those who just can’t get enough Ben Ludwig can find him cantoring at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Cloud.

  Courtney Ruckman   Lauded by the Spokesman Review for her "arresting vocalism," soprano Courtney Ruckman recently joined Nashville Opera as an Emerging Artist, performing Frasquita ( Carmen ) and creating the role of Jessie ( Masquerade ) in the world premiere of  Three Way . She reprised the role with American Opera Projects for  Three Way 's New York City premiere and can be heard on the original cast recording. Other recent engagements include covering Marzelline ( Fidelio ) with Caramoor, covering the Youth ( After Life ) in world premiere performances with Music of Remembrance, performing Pamina ( Die Zauberflöte ) and Gilda ( Rigoletto ) with Pacific Northwest Opera, and joining the Central City Opera Studio Artists Program where she was a featured recital soloist.

Courtney Ruckman

Lauded by the Spokesman Review for her "arresting vocalism," soprano Courtney Ruckman recently joined Nashville Opera as an Emerging Artist, performing Frasquita (Carmen) and creating the role of Jessie (Masquerade) in the world premiere of Three Way. She reprised the role with American Opera Projects for Three Way's New York City premiere and can be heard on the original cast recording. Other recent engagements include covering Marzelline (Fidelio) with Caramoor, covering the Youth (After Life) in world premiere performances with Music of Remembrance, performing Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and Gilda (Rigoletto) with Pacific Northwest Opera, and joining the Central City Opera Studio Artists Program where she was a featured recital soloist.

  Johnathan Lee Iverson   #TheLastRingmaster of  Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey  continues, his celebrated return to the performing arts stage. Recent credits include:  Joe  in Opera Orlando Presents “The Companion” from Three Way at the Orlando Fringe,  Klingon Chancellor Selim  in Star Trek: Abduction and the  Rev. Moore  in The Garden Theatre Presents  A Tennessee Walk . He also wrote  Opera Wars,  which enjoyed a successful run at The Abbey. A proud alumnus of The Boys Choir Of Harlem, he is thrilled to join Opera Orlando as a Studio Artist. For my Precious Pri and our “babies.”

Johnathan Lee Iverson

#TheLastRingmaster of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey continues, his celebrated return to the performing arts stage. Recent credits include: Joe in Opera Orlando Presents “The Companion” from Three Way at the Orlando Fringe, Klingon Chancellor Selim in Star Trek: Abduction and the Rev. Moore in The Garden Theatre Presents A Tennessee Walk. He also wrote Opera Wars, which enjoyed a successful run at The Abbey. A proud alumnus of The Boys Choir Of Harlem, he is thrilled to join Opera Orlando as a Studio Artist. For my Precious Pri and our “babies.”


  Emily Heumann   Emily Heumann, mezzo-soprano, is a recent graduate of the MM Voice Performance & Pedagogy program at The Moores School of Music at The University of Houston. This season, she sang Beppe in L’amico Fritz, Princess Linetta in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Lisa in Nino Rota’s I due timidi, and Hansel in a production of Hansel and Gretel that was praised by Arts and Culture Texas Magazine and the Houston Press. She also appeared with Sherrill Milnes’ VOICE Programs in several concerts across Tampa, Savannah, and NYC, most recently at The National Opera Center.

Emily Heumann

Emily Heumann, mezzo-soprano, is a recent graduate of the MM Voice Performance & Pedagogy program at The Moores School of Music at The University of Houston. This season, she sang Beppe in L’amico Fritz, Princess Linetta in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Lisa in Nino Rota’s I due timidi, and Hansel in a production of Hansel and Gretel that was praised by Arts and Culture Texas Magazine and the Houston Press. She also appeared with Sherrill Milnes’ VOICE Programs in several concerts across Tampa, Savannah, and NYC, most recently at The National Opera Center.


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2017-2018 Studio Artists

  • Kenneithia Mitchell, soprano

  • Elizabeth Ingram, soprano

  • Arleen Ramirez, soprano

  • Samantha Barnes Daniel, soprano

  • Jillian Marini, soprano

  • Sarah Purser, mezzo soprano

  • John Murray, tenor

  • Colton Brooks, tenor

  • Justin Morrison, baritone

  • Harrison Bumgardner, baritone

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2016-2017 Studio Artists:

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  • Elizabeth Ingram, soprano

  • Sara Stead, soprano

  • Sarah Purser, mezzo soprano

  • Morgan Davis Peckles, mezzo soprano

  • Ralph Pugh, tenor

  • Justin Morrison, baritone