Vocal Judge Panel

Banlingyu Ban (Ban Ban)

The New York Times wrote: “conveys the inner resilience of this tragic heroine through the bright tones and strong delivery of the vocal lines,” and was “enjoyably audible with a nice pearly quality” by Opera News. Born in Shandong, the Chinese soprano Ban Ban made her American debut at Carnegie Hall in 2015 followed by a series of concerts at the Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, National Opera Center, Carnegie Hall, United Nations, Gammage Auditorium, Musical Instrument Museum and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Arizona.

Ms. Ban’s opera roles include “Rosalinde” in Die Fledermaus with the Martina Arroyo Foundation, the title role in Suor Angelica, and “Romilda” in Xerxes with ASU Music Theatre and Opera, “Cio-Cio-San” in Madama Butterfly with Heartbeat Opera, “Mimi” in La Bohème with Shanghai Summer Music Festival, and “Monica” in The Medium with the Chicago Summer Opera. She also performed “Giannetta” in L’elisir D’amore with The Mannes Opera and sang “Lauretta” and “Nella” in Gianni Schicchi with Burletta Opera Festival in Shanghai Lyceum Theatre. Ms. Ban was chosen as the cover of Tosca and Le Nozze di Figaro by Arizona Opera 2017-2019 season. She has also been a soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum, Lord Nelson Mass by Haydn, and was a featured soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Phoenix Symphony.

In competitions, Ms. Ban was the winner of Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Classical Voice Competition, the Forte International Music Competition and the New York Lyric Opera Competition; a finalist in the Lois Alba Aria Competition 2018; third place and Best Puccini Awards of the Tuscia International Opera Competition in Italy; and the Excellence Award from the Asia International Vocal Festival in Hong Kong. Ms. Ban received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University in May 2020, she graduated with a Professional Studies Diploma from the Mannes School of Music and holds B.M and M.M degrees from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Karen Chia-Ling Ho

Karen Chia-Ling Ho Metropolitant Opera Soprano, Winner of the prestigious Renee Fleming Award from the Eastman School of Music.

Ms. Ho made her debut with the San Francisco Opera in a world première of Dream of the Red Chamber by Bright Sheng as Princess Jia and made her Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra in Krenek's Der Diktator under the baton of Leon Botstein. Ms. Ho reprised her role inDream of the Red Chamber with the Hong Kong Arts Festival and during the 2017-18 season she toured China with a number of performances of Dream of the Red Chamber and sang Violetta in La traviata with the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York at Rose Theater, Lincoln Center this spring. This season Ms. Ho is presented in concert with the National Orchestra of Taiwan in San Jose; sings a role debut in the title role of Tosca in Hong Kong; and is guest soloist in Mozart's Requiem with Philharmonia Orchestra of New York. In the 2019-20 season she makes her Metropolitan Opera debut.

She recently sang Strauss's Op. 27 and the Yellow River Cantata with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra and was presented in concert with the American Composers Orchestra in music by Li Shaosheng at a presentation to the China-US Composers Project produced by China's Ministry of Culture. She made her role and company debut as Liù in Turandot with St. Petersburg Opera and participated in the final rounds of the Belvedere Competition in Amsterdam. Ms. Ho was a member of the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera where she was feature in the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni under the direction of James Darrah.
Ms. Ho has been honored as a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner for the South Carolina District and participated in the Southeast Regional Finals. She is a first-prize winner of the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition, the 2nd Prize winner of the Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition and was awarded the Sergio Franchi Music Foundation Grant.

Skilled in a wide range of genres, Ms Ho was reëngaged for a second season with the Glimmerglass Festival as a young artist covering the soprano roles in a staged Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion. She has performed at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman in The Music Man as Alma Hix and covered the role of Sidonie in Lully’s Armide in a previous season with the Glimmerglass Festival. Ms. Ho has performed the roles of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, for which she won the Sam Adams Award for best operatic performance while attending conservatory. She has performed as soloist in the Bruckner Mass in D minor and the Rodrigo Cuatro Madrigales Amatorio.
She received musical degrees from the universities of TNUA and Tung-Hai where she studied Vocal Performance. After arriving in the U.S. for advance studies, she earned her Masters in Music from the Eastman School of Music and Artist Diploma from the College- Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.

Samantha Chong

A native of Sabah, Malaysia, mezzo-soprano Samantha Chong has a widely varied repertoire ranging from early music, oratorio, songs, opera and contemporary works. Samantha is the winner of the 1st ASEAN Vocal competition, organised by Singapore Lyric Opera in 2016. She is also the 1st prize winner of the 41st National Singing Competition of Malaysia in 2015. After her graduation, she started her career as a soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Hong Kong, Musica Viva and Global Symphony Orchestra. Samantha has made her Italian debut in 2019 with Teatro Petruzzelli, singing Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Recently, she was also invited to perform with Erasmus Orchestra, Hong Kong Art Festival, Hong Kong – Vienna Music Festival, Kuala Lumpur City Opera, Singapore Lyric Opera, Virama Music Malaysia, China Sichuan Music Conservatory and Mozart Festival in Shenzhen, China.

Her opera credits include include Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Angelika in La Cenerentola, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Prince Orlovsky in J.Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Stephano in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, Hanna Glawari in Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Fox Goldenmane in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and etc..

On the concert platform, Samantha has appeared as a soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No.9 and Das Lied von der Erde, Beethoven’s Sympnony No.9 and Missa Solemnis, Händel’s Messiah, Mozart’s C Minor

Mass and Requiem, Max Reger’s Hebbel Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s St. Markus Passion and B minor mass, and many more.

In recent, Samantha enjoys performing newly composed operas and symphonic works. This include Zheng Yi-sao in Legend of Zhang Bao-zai, Hotel Attendant in Beauty and Sadness (world premiere) , Huang in Legend of Phoenix (world premiere), Singer in Cantonese drama Rashomon and Shake Shake Spear (world premiere), Saint Cecilia of The Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia (world premiere), and the Asia premier of Magnificat from a Garden in the Antipodes. Upcoming performances includes, the title role of Carmen, the role of Yu in Women Like Us (2021 Hong Kong Art Festival chamber opera), Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s B minor Mass, and her debut in the Vienna Musikverein singing Nan-zi in Confucius – Li Bing, with Global Symphony Orchestra.

Samantha graduated with the Master of Music Degree, having earlier earned her Bachelor of Music Degree both at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). She received generous support from the FAMA Scholarship, John Hosier Trust Scholarship 2012, and Aedas Scholarship during her studies at the HKAPA and Melbourne Opera Studio. Samantha is the member of 2015-2018 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Opera Hong Kong Young Artist Development Programme.

Yu-Yu Hsieh

A Taiwanese versatile musician base in Italy, Ms. Hsieh has received in Piano, Chamber m usic, Voice and Vocal coach 4 highest diploma with distinguished honor from Conservatorio di Verona “F. E. Dall’Abaco” and Conservatorio di Brescia “Luca Marenzio”. Awarded by Italy Government scholarship for 3 years.

At Conservatorio di Verona “F. E. Dall’Abaco”, she works as an assistant for Soprano 朱苔麗, Pianist Adriano Ambrosini, Coach Andrea Ambrosini, and Conductor Luisa Russo.

Beside her teaching, she has been performing comtemporary piano music at Sweden 哥德堡 GAS Festival, Lizst 200 universary concert. Since 2015 she was invited as pianist by “Amici della Musica di Verona” in collaborating with composer Paolo Ugoletti, conductor Maurizio Barbacini, Soprani Nina Muh and Marily Santoro.