Korean artist Bin Yu Sanford has established herself as a solo pianist, vocal coach, and chamber musician. She is completing her interim at Houston Grand Opera Studio as a pianist/coach. During the 2022-23 HGO season, Bin serves as a coach for The Wreckers, The Marriage of Figaro, and Tosca. Previously, Yu Sanford coached The Snowy Day, The Magic Flute, and Turandot at HGO. She also appeared with HGO Studio singers in recitals and other performances such as HGO Digital Series and Giving Voices. An alumna of many prestigious festivals including Wolf Trap Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and the Music Academy of the West, she served as a coach for Wolf Trap Opera’s La Traviata and was a conductor/coach for the Studio Artists Scenes Program. As a recitalist, she has performed at Cullen Theater and Rienzi Museum in Houston. Bin earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Solo Piano Performance and an Artist Diploma in Opera Coaching at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she served as a graduate assistant in the opera department. In the 2023-24 season, she will join the music staff at the San Francisco Opera and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
January 31, 2023
View January 31 musical program here.
FULL SEASON SUBSCRIPTION FOR $75: Three tickets PLUS a bonus ticket for a total of four tickets. Tickets can be used at ANY concert, in ANY combination, for maximum flexibility and enjoyment. Can be purchased online and/or at the door approximately one hour before each concert.
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: Individual tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online and/or at the door approximately one hour before each concert. Students are FREE at all concerts, with proper ID.
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
Venue: Laurel Heights United Methodist Church,
Cuban-American soprano Elena Villalón is currently a third-year studio artist with Houston Grand Opera. A Grand Finals winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Villalón most recently took home several prizes in the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition including Second Prize, Audience Prize, CS Prize and the Wil Keune Prize. Her 2021-2022 season features a number of debuts encompassing a variety of both operatic and concert repertoire. Notable opera engagements include house and role debuts at The Dallas Opera as Tina in Flight and at Austin Opera as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. Recent collaborations with Houston Grand Opera include the opening of Roméo et Juliette in the title role of Juliette; as La Mujer in the world premiere of Javier Martinez’s El Milagro del Recuerdo (with former TMC Artist Series’ Rafael Moras); creating the role of Amy in the world premiere of Joel Thompson’s The Snowy Day; and as Page in Rigoletto. An avid recitalist, Villalón will be the Vocal Arts DC Emerging Artist, performing at the Kennedy Center. In concert, Villalón appears as the soprano soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria with the Grand Rapids Symphony and in Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day with Boston Baroque.
Highlights of the 2020-2021 season include digital collaborations with Houston Grand Opera in David T. Little’s Vinkensport, The Snowy Day, and Hansel and Gretel, as well as in HGO’s Studio Showcase as Sophie in Werther, the title role in Lulu, and Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea. Villalón returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Lauretta in a new production of Gianni Schicchi under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Scheduled operatic engagements during the abridged 2020-2021 season were to include performances as Sophie in Werther and Clorinda in La Cenerentola, as well as the cover of Bess in Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves. Villalón also appeared in recital with Cincinnati Song Initiative and at the Rienzi Museum of Fine Arts as part of the studio recital series, and was featured in a concert of baroque cantatas and arias with the Mercury Chamber Orchestra.
In the 2019-2020 season, Villalón performed with Houston Grand Opera as Inés in Kevin Newbery’s new production of La Favorite, while also covering the roles of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Michal in Saul. In June 2020, she was slated to join Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist, where she was to make her house debut as the First Wood Sprite in Rusalka.
The 2018-2019 season saw Villalón named a Grand Finals winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. That same year, she made her professional debut as a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where she performed the role of Barbarina in Mark Lamos’ production of The Marriage of Figaro and was awarded the Barbara and Stanley Richman Award. She was also named Audience Prize winner while competing as a finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition.
Passionate about art song and concert repertoire, Villalón has spent summers at the Tanglewood Music Center and at Songfest as a Colburn Fellow. At Tanglewood, performance highlights included the soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, Max in Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are, the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s In America, concerts of Bach cantatas conducted by John Harbison, and concerts and recitals curated by Dawn Upshaw, Stephanie Blythe, Margo Garrett and Sanford Sylvan.