logo Merola Opera Program
Merola Opera Program Feature

Ashley Dixon, Mezzo-soprano
Carlos Enrique Santelli, Tenor

Interview with the artists

Jean Kellogg, Exectutive Director of Merola Opera Program, interviews Ashley Dixon and Carlos Enrique Santelli.  Mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon was accepted into the Merola program on two occasions: 2015 and 2017. Tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli is also interviewed. Currently living in the Bay Area, they give us a unique look into the life and challenges of developing ones career in the exciting and competitive world of the performing arts.

Ashley Dixon

Mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, a Grand Finals winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, is currently in her second year as a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. She made her San Francisco Opera mainstage debut this past fall in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life as an Angel First Class. Most recently, she was seen in the workshop for Laura Kaminsky’s new work Hometown to the World: Postville as the character of Linda Larsen in San Francisco’s Opera for all Voices.

This year, Ms. Dixon performs the roles of Mércèdes in Carmen, 3rd Wood Sprite in Rusalka, the Italian Singer in Manon Lescaut and the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House. In 2020, she debuts the role of Angelina in La cenerentola and performs concerts of Baroque arias with Dayton Opera, and also will give a recital as part of the Schwabacher Series.

As a participant in the 2017 Merola Opera Program, Ms. Dixon sang the role of Popova in William Walton’s The Bear and ended her summer season on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House, singing an aria from Massenet’s Cendrillon as part of the Merola Grand Finale concert. Her inaugural summer at the Merola Opera Program had her singing La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Mrs. Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium.

Carlos Enrique Santelli, Tenor​

Carlos Enrique Santelli, Tenor

Winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli is a recent graduate of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, where he covered Nadir in The Pearl Fishers. Last season, Mr. Santelli made his Dayton Opera debut as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. Last season, he performed the role of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Virginia Opera. 

On the concert stage, he sang the tenor solo in Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht with the Sacramento Choral Society and will sing Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic. Future engagements include his debut with San Diego Opera where he will reprise Almaviva, as well as appearances with Opera Orlando as Tonio in La fille du régiment and Dayton Opera as Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola.

Recent projects with LA Opera include performances in Salome, conducted by James Conlon, and Wonderful Town, conducted by Grant Gershon. Additionally, Mr. Santelli appeared as a guest soloist in a special gala celebrating the 10-year anniversary of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Further collaborations on the West Coast include numerous projects with LA Opera’s Artist-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin.