Featured Artists and Guest Artists

Limmie Pulliam - Rising American tenor Limmie Pulliam has been praised for his captivating stage presence as well as his “stentorian yet beautiful” sound. For the 2017-18 season, he makes his company debut with Springfield Regional Opera as the title character in Verdi's Otello. He will also make a much anticipated return appearance at Vashon Opera where he will be featured in recital. The 2016-17 season saw several debuts for Mr. Pulliam including his debuts as a guest artist with Arkansas' Delta Symphony Orchestra and appearances as one of The 3 Holiday Tenors with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra. His season also included an acclaimed role and house debut as Canio in I Pagliacci with Vashon Opera. He appeared as a special guest at The National Opera Association’s 2016 convention to perform in honor of Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and 2015 National Medal of Arts honoree, and legendary tenor, George Shirley. The highlight of his season was his festival debut with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in his first foray as the title character in Verdi’s masterpiece, Otello. Past engagements include performances with The Concord Chorale as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and tenor soloist in Stainer’s Resurrection with New Convenant United Methodist Church in The Villages, Florida. Mr. Pulliam has been featured in numerous appearances with the internationally renowned chorale Gloriae Dei Cantores, as tenor soloist (Ahab/Obadiah) in an original language presentation of Mendelssohn’s Elijah as well as in concerts featuring Intimations of Immortality and For St. Cecelia by Gerald Finzi. He has also presented concerts featuring Negro Spirituals with The Concord Chorale. He appeared as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Forum Sinfonia Orchestra of Finland and soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the San Angelo Symphony. Mr. Pulliam was also a featured soloist on The American Spiritual Ensemble’s 2013 Winter Tour. The Missouri native trained with the late renowned, pedagogue Richard Miller. He is also a former participant in the young artist programs of Cleveland Opera, Opera Delaware and Opera Memphis. He was the 2012 Artist Division Winner of the National Opera Association's Vocal Competition and, in 2013, was a winner in the 3rd Annual Concorso Internazionale di Canto della Fondazione Marcello Giordano in Catania, Sicily.

Julia Benzinger - Julia Benzinger (mezzo soprano) opened the 2017-2018 season with Seattle Art Song Society in a recital celebrating the works of beloved Seattle composer, Bern Herbolsheimer. She makes her Pacific Symphony debut as Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte and returns to Vashon Opera later in the spring for their production of The Magic Flute. The 2016-2017 season saw Ms. Benzinger make her role debut as Mére Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites with Vashon Opera. She performed with Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky and returned to Seattle for an evening in celebration of John Cage, performing his radical compositions Aria, 5 Songs for Contralto, and Sonnekus. With Pacific MusicWorks, under the musical direction of Grammy Award Winner Stephen Stubbs, Ms. Benzinger portrayed The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas. She ended the season with the Miami Music Festival as Erste Norn in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, a performance that led the South Florida Classical Review to write: “Julia Benzinger’s warmth of timbre, silvery top register, and declamation were riveting”. Ms. Benzinger was a member of the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 2007-14, during which time she performed a large and varied repertoire, highlights of which include Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Flosshilde (Das Rheingold) and the title role in Gnecchi's Cassandra under the baton of Donald Runnicles, Meg Page (Falstaff), Olga (Eugene Onegin), Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Annina (Der Rosenkavalier), Der Page (Salome), Bersi (Andrea Chénier), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro). Julia makes her home on Bainbridge Island with her partner and three young sons.

Andrew Krikawa - Andrew Krikawa (baritone) was most recently seen by Vashon Opera audiences singing the role of Silvio in Vashon Opera's 2016 production of I Pagliacci. He has sung for numerous companies including New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Virginia Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Nashville Opera, Annapolis Opera, Central City Opera, Pensacola Opera, Eugene Opera, and DiCapo Opera Theatre. Andrew’s most performed roles include Marcello (La Bohème), Sharpless (Madame Butterfly), Germont (La Traviata), Albert (Werther), Silvio (I Pagliacci), and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte). Career highlights have also included appearances with Pittsburgh Opera as Albert in Werther and performances of Così fan tutte with the world renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Mr. Krikawa is a Sullivan Foundation award winner and a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant. He holds a Masters degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Mr. Krikawa helped found Vashon Opera with his wife Jennifer and participates in much of the day to day work for the company. He was seen in the Vashon Opera productions of La Bohème as Marcello, The Tender Land as Top, The Barber of Seville as Figaro, Così fan tutte as Guglielmo, Albert Herring as SidThe Elixir of Love as Sargeant Belcore, and the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Eugene Onegin

Jennifer Krikawa - Jennifer Krikawa (soprano) was seen recently singing the title role in Vashon Opera's recent production of Tosca. She has sung for numerous opera companies such as New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, Connecticut Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera North, Augusta Opera, Annapolis Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Israel Vocal Arts Institute. Jennifer's roles include: Fiordiligi (Così Fan Tutte), Mimi (La Bohème), Micaela (Carmen), Musetta (La Bohème), Laurie (The Tenderland), Gretel (Hansel und Gretel), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Frasquita (Carmen), Antonia (Les Contes d'Hoffman), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Giorgetta (Il tabarro), Nedda (I Pagliacci), and Madama Butterfly. Mrs. Krikawa has appeared at Carnegie Hall as the soprano soloist for Scarlatti's Dixit Dominus, Vaughan William's Benedicite, and Poulenc's Gloria and has appeared at Benaroya Hall as soloist in Mozart's Requiem and Soprano II in Mozart's Mass in C Minor with the Vashon Island Chorale. She pursued contemporary music studies at The Banff Centre for the Arts and she holds a Master's degree from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Her awards include First Place NATS winner, First Place Opera Theater of Connecticut Amici Competition, Olga Berzins Vocal Scholarship Award, Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Finalist in Boston and Metropolitan Opera National Council Honorable Mention in Connecticut. She has recorded a CD titled "Songs of Walt Whitman" composed by Malcolm Peyton with Centaur Records. Upcoming Ms. Krikawa will perform as a soloist for Vashon Maury Chamber Orchestra's spring 2018 concert featuring selections from Purcell's The Fairy Queen.

José Rubio - Internationally acclaimed baritone José Rubio has quickly established himself performing at major and regional venues across the country. He returns to Vashon after performing the role of Enrico in Vashon Opera's production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Equally comfortable in the concert hall as on the operatic stage, Mr. Rubio made his Carnegie Hall Recital Debut which was met with great acclaim. Mr. Rubio's recent engagements have included Tonio in I Pagliacci with Vashon Opera, Falke in Die Fledermaus with Tacoma Opera, company debuts with Asheville Lyric Opera singing Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Skagit Opera singing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. Internationally he was seen on tour in China with the ISING! Internatioal Festival in 2014. Other engagements recently have included a return to Portland Opera singing Morales in Carmen, a reprisal of Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Brava! Opera Theater, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Vespertine Opera, the title role in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Tacoma Opera, and as the Baritone Soloist in Carmina Burana in Seattle with the Spectrum Dance Theater.  In past seasons was seen with Cincinnati Opera in Galileo Galilei, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte for Tacoma Opera, Bob and Ben in The Old Maid and the Thief, and The Telephone with Brava! Opera Theater, Marcello in La Bohème and Le Mari in the US premiere of the Benjamin Britten adaptation of Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Vespertine Opera, and Portland Opera for the West Coast Premiere of Galileo Galilei, by Philip Glass. He also made his New York City operatic debut to great acclaim in Angel of the Amazon by Evan Mack, a world premiere production with Encompass Opera. He received his Artist Diploma and Master’s degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and holds a Bachelor’s from the University of Washington. Mr. Rubio has been a two time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Competition. He is featured in two of Philip Glass's operas that were recorded on the Orange Mountain Music label: Orpheé and Galileo Galilei. He can also be heard on Albany Records' world premiere recording of Evan Mack's American Opera, Angel of the Amazon.