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    Hopkins, Justin

    Bass-baritone from Mount Airy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who started singing with his mother’s sorority when he was only eight years old and then became a member of The Philadelphia Boys Choir.  He attended St. John’s Preparatory School and joined the Christus Choir and the Cape and Sword Drama Society.  His love of acting and singing naturally led him to opera. 

     

    After graduating from St. John’s in 2002, he went on to undergraduate studies at Loyola University, which is located in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In the summer of 2005, on his way back from Italy, his flight was laid over in Atlanta, Georgia.  The reason:  Hurricane Katrina.  The New Orleans Opera was flooded, destroying their costumes and set pieces.  Loyola escaped with minimal damage but the mandatory evacuation threatened to leave him without a home, a career, and an education. 

     

    Fortunately, a lot of people came together in one way or another to help Justin on his way.  Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, in an astounding act of magnanimity, took in Loyola students tuition-free, going so far as to create a conducting class for Justin so he could meet the requirements of his music degree. 

     

    Then the Los Angeles Opera came calling.  Wanting to do something to help New Orleans’ plethora of disenfranchised musicians, they rang up the New Orleans Opera, asking for names of potential singers to join the chorus of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal.  The company’s union delegate, Jennifer Wallace, arranged to have the union pay for his ticket to L.A.  Soon he was performing with the Opera, soloing in church, and even singing on the soundtrack of King Kong. 

     

    Once the mess was cleaned up at Loyola, Justin returned to complete his education, graduating in 2006.  He moved back to Philadelphia and placed second at the 45th Mario Lanza Institute Anniversary Ball, singing “Quand la flamme” from George Bizet’s Le Jolie Fille de Perth.  On 17th August 2007, he joined forces with Brad Benoit, Maria-Kate Fleming, and Meghan Scheibal for “A Mid-Summer Night of Opera” at Clos Pegase Cave Theater in Calistoga, California.  He spent much of 2007 and 2008 in Italy to learn the language and study opera, thanks in part to a fundraising concert mounted by his alma mater, St. John’s Prep. 

     

    When he returned, he joined The James Collier Apprentice Artist Program of the Des Moines Metro Opera, where he played Cal in a production of Marc Blitzstein’s Regina.  He was also a special guest of Fort Worth Opera Studio, cast as King Balthazar in the holiday favourite, Amahl and the Night Visitors.  Then he became involved in The Pensacola Opera Artist in Residence Program, again playing a king, this time in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida.  He closed out his residency with them in a farewell performance on 9th May 2009, a mixed bag of jazz, opera, and show tunes. 

     

    On 9th October 2009, he helped the Opera Company of Philadelphia open its season by playing the part of the registrar in Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.  He ended the year by auditioning for the Pittsburgh Resident Artist Program at the Jewish Community Center in New York, New York.  No pressure:  His was the last name called, at 5:15 p.m. 

     

    He is also on the roster of The Philadelphia Singers, the chorus-in-residence of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Airy,_North_Carolina
    2. http://www.sjprep.org/downloads/news/prepnews/PrepNews_09_Summer.pdf
    3. http://www.artistshousemusic.org/node/5369/125
    4. http://www.canisius.edu/alumni/magazine/fall05/student_spot.pdf
    5. http://www.canisius.edu/
    6. http://articles.latimes.com/2005/nov/13/entertainment/ca-artsnotes13.1
    7. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_8174/is_20051201/ai_n50557591/
    8. http://www.amazon.com/King-Kong-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B000BJ7CUQ
    9. http://www.rense.com/excursions/lanza/zball.htm
    10. http://www.humantranslation.org/opera_program.html
    11. http://www.bestbudget-inns.com/Drury-Inn-Columbia-Missouri.html
    12. http://www.humantranslation.org/opera_location.html
    13. http://www.desmoinesmetroopera.org/2008_participants.htm
    14. http://www.desmoinesmetroopera.org/2008.htm
    15. http://host4.datasetgo.com/~fwopera/uploads/1222979538A.pdf
    16. http://www.pensacolaopera.com/artists.html
    17. http://vie-peopleplusplaces.com/blog/index.php
    18. http://www.allamericanday.org/PrepNews-6-1.pdf
    19. http://www.operaphila.org/backend/News/csNews.cgi?database=press.db&command=viewone&id=24&op=
    20. http://sites.google.com/site/pittsburghoperacenter/new-york---thursday-december-10-auditions
    21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Airy,_Philadelphia,_Pennsylvania

     

     

                  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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