Conservatory Alumni Class Notes

Oberlin Conservatory graduates wind up in all the places you would expect, and a lot of places you wouldn’t.

From orchestras and opera companies and teaching institutions to entrepreneurial genre-defining ensembles around the world, they excel as conductors and soloists, composers and producers, educators and arts executives, theoreticians and historians. They win major competitions, Grammys, MacArthurs, and Pulitzers.

But they also shine as radio hosts and radiologists, entertainment lawyers and acoustic consultants, breadmakers and vintners, and in an endless array of other professions.

Read on for recent news about our alumni.

Joseph Lattanzi ’10

Baritone Joseph Lattanzi ’10 joins his fellow Oberlin alumni at The Cleveland Orchestra for their concert performance of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West this May. He recently established himself as a major artist in the current landscape of opera with his portrayal of Hawkins Fuller in the world premiere of Gregory Spears’ “Fellow Travelers” with the Cincinnati Opera, followed by further performances including his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago, in New York at the PROTOTYPE Festival, and with the Arizona Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera.  

In the 2021-22 season, Lattanzi continued his relationship with The Metropolitan Opera, covering the role of Orpheus in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice and joining their production of Madama Butterfly. Additionally, Lattanzi returned to his hometown in the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Atlanta Opera, where he was praised for his “stellar” voice and his “top notch” acting by the Atlanta Arts Review.

In a scene, two men sit on a bench.

Joseph Barron ’08

In addition to his upcoming performance in The Girl of the Golden West with The Cleveland Orchestra, bass-baritone Joseph Barron ’08 has been keeping quite busy, coast-to-coast. He’s recently played Donner in Das Rheingold with both the Dallas Opera and Atlanta Opera, Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow with Charlottesville Opera, and Don Pizarro in Fidelio at Opera North Carolina and the Princeton Festival. And he’s frequently involved in productions with the Metropolitan Opera—covering Monterone in Rigoletto three times, Swallow in Peter Grimes, and the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Leporello in Don Giovanni at both the Met and San Francisco Opera. Barron also recently debuted at Carnegie Hall with the Gerda Lissner Foundation.

Photo credit: Ken Howard, Wall Street Journal.

Joseph Barron in costume.

Kyle Miller ’19

This season Kyle Miller ’19 has been performing as a member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. After wonderful opportunities in 2021-22 singing with Opera Theater of Saint Louise, Opera San José, Washington National Opera, and the Sante Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist, he moved to Berlin. Beginning last November 2022, Miller began a run that has basically had him in a different opera and role every month. He first appeared as Marullo in Rigoletto and as Moralès in Carmen. In January he was Masetto in Don Giovanni. In February he was Lucifer in Rued Langgaard’s Antichrist. In March and April, he was Count Dominik in Richard Strauss’ Arabella. In May he’s with The Cleveland Orchestra as Jim Larkens in their concert setting of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West. He then has a full summer back in Berlin with the company where he’ll appear in Francesca Da Rimini, Carmen, Hérodiade, Lohengrin, and Rigoletto, with numerous other roles in operas scheduled out through July 2024. Follow along on his adventures.

A scene from an opera.

Denyce Graves ’85

Denyce Graves ’85 was interviewed by Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America in February where they talked about her foundation and her Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Conservatory initiative “Shared Voices” which works to diversify the classical vocal arts landscape by championing hidden musical figures of the past and lifting up young artists of world-class talent from all backgrounds.

Rhiannon Giddens ’00

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Rhiannon Giddens ’00 won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The award was given to Giddens and her collaborator Michael Ables for co-writing Omar, an opera drawn from the 1831 autobiography of Omar ibn Said, an enslaved man brought to the United States. The opera premiered on May 27 at the 2022 Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. The production was presented by the Boston Lyric Opera in May 2023, with upcoming performances to be done by the LA Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and San Francisco Opera.

Meryl Dominguez ’14

Meryl Dominguez ’14 (double degree in vocal performance and dance) is a Houston Grand Opera Studio Artist where she performed in the 2022-23 production of Salome and she recently made her international debut as the title character in Norma with Musica Viva Hong Kong.

Aaron Keeney ’14

Baritone Aaron Keeney ’14 (double degree in vocal performance and chemistry) made his Houston Grand Opera debut in the March 2023 production of Jeremy Howard Beck's Another City. He performed several roles with the Minnesota Opera during the 2020-22 seasons as a Resident Artist, including Ophémon in The Anonymous Lover and Escamillo in Carmen.

Amber R. Monroe ’16

Amber R. Monroe ’16 was named a 2023 winner of the George and Nora London Foundation Competition. This season she is is a Cafritz Young Artist with the Washington National Opera where she made her Kennedy Center debut as Inez in Il trovatore, followed by Mimì in La bohème and Isabelle in Carlos Simon’s The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, in collaboration with Denyce Graves ’85. In October 2023, Monroe was awarded the Sullivan Award.

Joshua Blue ’16

New York Festival of Song released Black & Blue, the debut solo album of British-American tenor Joshua Blue ’16 on its in-house label, NYFOS Records. The album explores themes of racial equality and human resilience, in songs that cover a mix of jazz, blues, spirituals, and other songs, spanning more than five decades. 

In May Blue appeared as Rodolfo in Opera Philadelphia’s production of Puccini’s La bohème. It’s Yuval Sharon’s reconceptualization of the opera, performed in reverse. The review on Bachtrack gives a rave of Blue’s performance, stating he “offered an immensely satisfying performance as Rodolfo, thoroughly immersed in his role from start to finish. In the final act, Blue’s spine-tingling ‘Che gelida manina,’ right through to the exit duet with Mimì, made any of the compromises in this production worthwhile.”

Olivia Boen ’17

During the 2022-23 season, Olivia Boen ’17 made her debut as Gretel at the Staatsoper Hamburg, where she joined the International Opera Studio. She also made role debuts as Musetta (La bohème) and Anna (Nabucco).