On Saturday, October 20, 2011, Chapman University Conservatory of Music graduates Ben Bliss and Ashley Faatoalia were finalists in the Western Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera. Of the 12 finalists, Ben and Ashley placed in the top five contenders!
Benjamin Bliss ’09, a student of Professor Patrick Goeser while at Chapman, is an artist in the Domingo/Thornton Young Artist Program of the Los Angeles Opera. During this paid, two-to-three-year program, Ben will have the opportunity to work with Placido Domingo, Maestro James Conlon, and members of the Los Angeles Opera music staff. This season at LA Opera, Ben has already covered the lead role of Ferrando in Così fan tutte, and will sing Benvolio in Roméo et Juliette and Parpignol in La Bohème.
Later in the season, Ben will be covering the lead role of Albert in Albert Herring, a role he performed at Chapman University during his undergraduate studies. Ben recently made his NBC primetime debut with a guest appearance on the new sitcom
Whitney, where he serenaded the lead characters Whitney and Alex.
Ashley Faatoalia ’06, a student of Dr. Peter Atherton while at Chapman, is a versatile and inspirational singer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ashley has been singing for as long as he can remember. He has been actively writing music and performing throughout the Southern California area. Whether it’s opera, pop, soul or gospel, Ashley strives to take his listeners on a journey through the power of song. Ashley’s most recent engagements include: Porgy and Bess with Seattle Opera, Candide with The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Festival Play of Daniel with Los Angeles Opera, and debut performances with San Francisco Opera as The Crab Man in Porgy and Bess and with San Francisco Lyric Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni . Ashley recently released his debut recording, “Steppin’ Out”, which features a collection of jazz standards and popular vocal tunes.