Daniel Sansolis Ambe
Daniel Sansolis Ambe is a Filipino-American tenor. Daniel holds a B.M. degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a M.M. degree from the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, both in classical voice performance. He has performed the roles of Mercuré in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, Cavalier Belfiore in Rossini’s Viaggio a Reims, Il Duca di Mantova in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Martin in Copland’s The Tender Land, and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. Currently, Daniel is an organist and cantor for the Archdiocese of New York; providing music for English, Spanish and Filipino Masses.
Santiago Ballerini just returned from The Atlanta Opera to debut Tonio at Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment, the Teatro Colón from Buenos Aires singing Lindoro from Rosssini’s L’italiana in Algeri and La Nonne Sanglante from Gonoud at La Comique Ópera in Paris. Last October he made his European debut at The Bordeaux National Opera in France singing Il Pirata from Bellini, and Don Pasquale at the ABAO, Bilbao Opera. Ballerini made his United States debut at the Caramoor Festival in New York as Fernand in “La Favorite” to rave reviews. He returned to Caramoor in July 2017 to sing Gualtiero in Bellini’s “Il Pirata”, and will return in 2018 to debut Rossini’s Tancredi. Ballerini has also performed concerts with The Dallas Opera, Naples Opera, Savannah VOICE Festival and Compañía Minaz in Sao Pablo, Brasil. Read More
Future engagements: Rossini’s Tancredi at Teatro Nuovo in NYC, A Midsummer night’s Dream at Teatro La Zarzuela in Madrid, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amor at Toulon Opera in France, Barber of Seville at The Atlanta Ópera and also at Canada Opera Company.
In 2014, Ballerini was awarded the “Upcoming Opera Singer” in Argentina by the Congress of Argentina and the Argentine Association of Critics. He also was a featured soloist for the “50th MET Anniversary Gala” honoring Sherrill Milnes, and was a scholarship recipient to study with Mr. Milnes. Grand Prize at the “Laguna Magica” international Vocal Competition; He won First Prize at the National Competition of “Festivals Musicales,” Before starting his professional singing career, Ballerini was a pianist for nine years, and also graduate as a Music therapist at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, specializing in addiction treatment.
Soprano Sarah Barker made her debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, singing the National Anthem at the BSO’s Star Spangled Spectacular on July 4th, 2015. More recently, she received great reviews as Papagena in Carnegie Mellon University’s fall 2017 production of Die Zauberflöte. Sarah Barker is a student of Maria Spacagna, studying at Carnegie Mellon University. She is pursuing a BFA in Vocal Performance, and is a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity. She has also appeared in the chorus of CMU’s production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and in the Carroll Summer Opera Program’s productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and L’Elisir d’Amore. Sarah has studied at summer intensives including the Sherrill Milnes Voice Studio, the Peabody Classical Singer Workshop, and the Solo Vocal Artists Program at Westminster Choir College. This spring, she will be appearing as Claire in scenes from Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town with CMU’s opera program.
Elizabeth Barry is a Grand Rapids, Michigan based soprano and music educator. An accomplished concert artist, and opera singer, Elizabeth can be seen performing regionally and throughout West Michigan.
In the 2017/2018 season Elizabeth performed the Maestra Delle Novizie in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with West Michigan Opera Project and as a soloist in their Drama Queens! Concert series. Elizabeth also made her Gilbert & Sullivan debut with West Michigan Savoyards in The Gondoliers. Previous highlights include Suor Osmina in Suor Angelica, Fortuna in Monteverdi’s L’Incornoazione di Poppea, and Delia in Rossini’s Il Viagio a Reims. In the upcoming season Elizabeth will sing the role of Mrs. Hayes in Susannah with the Kalamazoo Philharmonia, the role of Susannah in Susannah with West Michgian Opera Project as well as several recital performances throughout Michigan. Read More
A busy voice teacher, Elizabeth works with middle, high school, and adult students from around West Michigan. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Michigan School Vocal Music Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
Elizabeth received her Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Grand Valley State University.
Jessica Ann Best
Jessica Ann Best is a versatile artist, known for her dramatic interpretation and an easy, beautiful sound that crosses the operatic, musical theater, and concert stage. Ms. Best debuts Gordon Getty’s The Canterville Ghost and Usher House with LA OPERA in June 2018. Best has recorded the new opera, Jane Eyre, on the Naxos label by composer Louis Karchin anddebuted International Carol Suites by Mark Hayes, a DCINY production at Carnegie Hall. Best premiered the role of Alice Ryley, by Michael Ching, with the Savannah Voice Festival. Best is a returning artist, teacher, and director at the Savannah Voice Festival Recently, Ms. Best is touring with Velvet Caravan; an award-winning, cross-discipline gypsy-jazz ensemble. Best has been a featured artist with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, and The Rochester Oratorio Society. She has performed with The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Tampa, The Center for Contemporary Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, Nickel City Opera, and Finger Lakes Opera. For more information, please visit: www.jessicaannbest.com.
Mezzo Soprano Melanie Campbell is fast distinguishing herself as a classical artist of depth, vocal power, stage presence, great beauty, and versatility. Recent performances include Quortina in the World Premiere of Anna Hunter, composed and written by Michael Ching, with the Savannah Voice Festival and Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmelites with Balance Arts Opera Berlin. This Spring, she joined Virginia Opera’s Emerging Artist Program for their In-School Touring production of Deep River: Marian Anderson’s Journey. She performs as Haltiere in Massnet’s Cendrillon with IVAI Summer Opera Program in Tel Aviv, Israel, followed by performances of the Witch in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with Savannah Voice Festival this August.Read More
Recent opera highlights include Octavia in L´incoronozione di Poppea with Trentino Music Festival directed by Greg Eldridge, Siegrune in Die Walküre with Lidal North, directed by Arild Helleland, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto with Mid Atlantic Opera, Conducted by Jason Tramm, and scenes from Madama Butterfly as Suzuki, with Savannah Voice Festival, directed by Fabrizio Melano. Other operatic roles include Strawberry Woman in Porgy and Bess, with New Jersey State Opera, conducted by Jason Tramm, and the Innkeeper´s Wife from Cunning Little Vixen with Chautauqua Opera.
Melanie was educated at George Mason University, where she received her Bachelors in Music and a Minor in Sociology. She went on to receive her Masters of Music and a Graduate Diploma in Vocal performance on a “Wendy Shattuck Presidential Scholarship” at the New England Conservatory of Music. Continuing her studies abroad, she received the “Aufbaustudium” at the Franz Liszst School of Music in Weimar, Germany.
As a soloist, Melanie has performed at the United States Military Academy, West Point; with the Charlottesville Orchestra, conducted by Lance Vining; the Savannah Voice Experience on their recitals; Coro Lirico; and the New Jersey Opera Orchestra; directed by Jason Tramm. Her numerous awards include being a Finalist in the Hariclea Darclee International Voice Competition, and earning the Prize of Excellence and Darclee Foundation Prize, in Romania. She has received reviews from Opera News, saying “her few phrases glowed with rich individuality…”
Growing up in Waterloo Iowa, Melanie’s other love was sports. She is a former All-State shot-putter of New Jersey and went on to compete at George Mason University. She comes from an athletic family, including her father, Melvin Campbell, former Line Backer for the Oakland Raiders; her Mom Regina Campbell, basketball player and former Hall of Fame track runner; and her three sisters: Michelle Campbell, former WNBA player for Chicago Sky, currently continuing her basketball career in Turkey with Ormanspor National Team; Kristina Campbell, former basketball star at Hofstra University; and her youngest sister, Korinne Campbell, currently playing basketball in Spain with Ciudad De La Adelantados.
Sean Christensen has been recognized as a tenor with a full, warm, and lyrical timbre, steadily establishing himself professionally in New York City. He has recently appeared as Itulbo in Caramoor Opera’s production of Bellini’s Il pirata, Le Chevalier de la Force in Sarasota Opera’s production of Les dialogues des Carmélites, Des Grieux in Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s production of Manon, Fernando in Bare Opera’s production of Granados’ Goyescas, as well as Don Ottavio in Opera in Williamsburg’s production of Don Giovanni. Other recent performances include Azael in Bare Opera’s production of Ravel’s L’enfantprodigue, Gastone in Long Island Opera’s La traviata, as Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera in Williamsburg, as well as Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He was a young artist at Caramoor Opera in 2017 and 2016, where he performed as Oraspe in Aureliano in Palmira. He was an studio artist at Sarasota Opera in 2017 and 2016, where he covered the role of Jaquino in Fidelio, and was awarded the Leo M. Rodgers for Outstanding Apprentice Artist. He was also a studio artist at Chautauqua Opera in 2015, and has performed as a soloist with the American Symphonic Orchestra and with the Mannes Opera. Read More
Mr. Christensen earned a bachelor’s degree in music with a focus on singing at Bard College (’11) and received a master’s degree in music at Mannes College in Manhattan (’14). Awarded the Margaret Creal Shafer Prize in Performance and the Dr. Richard M. Siegel Memorial prize for Music as recognition of his talent, both at Bard College, Mr. Christensen has given several recitals at Bard and Mannes, with repertoire focusing on Strauss, Duparc, Tosti, Poulenc, and many others. He has sung under the baton of William Crutchfield, Victor DeRenzi, Jorge Parodi, Joseph Colaneri, James Bagwell, Leon Botstein, and Louis Burkot. He currently studies with Michael Chioldi.
Soprano Megan Cleaveland is thrilled to return to the Savannah Voice Festival as Flora in La Traviata. The 2016-2017 season included a company and role debut with North Carolina Opera’s production of Cold Mountain, return performances to Piedmont Opera as Madeleine Audebert in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night and Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri, and a Festival Apprenticeship with the Savannah Voice Festival and Opera as Drama. A recent graduate of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), Ms. Cleaveland’s roles included Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen, Elena in Il cappello di paglia di Firenze, Olympia in Les Contes D’Hoffmann, Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera, and The Foreign Woman in The Consul. Previous seasons’ highlights include Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, the soprano solo in Carmina Burana with the UNCSA symphony, the role of La Vierge Marie in Berlioz’s rarely performed L’enfance du Christ with the North Carolina Master Chorale, and a performance of the title role in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, where she studied with soprano Renata Scotto in Mezzano, Italy.
Austin Cripe is a tenor currently pursuing his Master’s degree at Florida State University under Dr. Chuck Chandler. He has performed with Florida State Opera in roles such as Gastone in La Traviata, King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and most recently, the title role in Candide. In 2017, he debuted with Red River Lyric Opera as Oronte in Alcina. He also has performed in the opera choruses for Carmen, Rigoletto, and Madama Butterfly with Opera Tampa and La Cenerentola with Florida State Opera.
Austin has participated in several competitions since 2016, winning 1st place in the Beaulieu Competition, Best Rossini Performance in the Great Composers Competition Series, 1st place in the Stephen Foster Competition and 2nd place in the National Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota. He has won awards for his performance from Florida State University and the Tallahassee Music Guild.
Austin was last seen at the Savannah VOICE Festival in 2016 as Priest 1 in The Magic Flute, and has been a participant in the Milnes VOICE Studio since 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Florida State University.
William Desbiens is a young baritone in a long line of baritones (Wellie Desbiens and his father Michel Desbiens). He began singing at the age of sixteen and now, at the young age of twenty, possesses a voice of exquisite beauty and lyric-dramatic quality. In the days where baritones rarely ring with the true full-bodied chiaro scuro, William’s ringing, warm timbered baritone reminds us of the Zancanaro days.Read More
Starting in the fall of 2017 Desbiens has been studying at Mannes School of Music (The new School) under the tutelage of voice teacher Mr. Arthur Levy. Previously he was at the Cegep de Ste-Foy, in Quebec City with Mrs. Danielle Demers. William Desbiens has been chosen to perform at one of the Mannes music festival events next November in the Concert “Mannes Sounds Festival at All Souls Church.” He will perform The Prophet for baritone from the young Mannes alumni composer Stanislav Fridman, a contemporary Russian composer, and an excerpt of the “Prorok” written by Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin. In February 2016 Desbeins won first place of a singing contest held in Quebec City called the “Concours de la relève musicale de Québec.” In March of the 2016, he won the first place of the national vocal competition of New York Lyric Opera Theater in New York (High School Division). His winner’s performance took place in April 2016 at Symphony Space on Broadway. William held his first main role as Ange Pitou in the operetta La fille de Mme Angôt by Charles Lecocq.
In July 2016, he performed the role of the Conte di Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart, with the Narni International Vocal Arts Program held in Narni, Italy with Maestro Lorenzo Porzio Principal Conductor of the Orchestra Filarmonica di Roma.
In February 2017, The Lyric Opera Studio Weimar granted him a scholarship to sing the role of Dandini in La Cenerentola by Rossini in Weimar (Germany) from January 21 to February 19, 2017 under the direction of Damon Nestor Ploumis.
Caitlyn Douglas is a fourth year student at Oregon State University currently getting her degree in Vocal Performance. She is studying with Megan Sand, and has previously studied with Richard Poppino and Marc Callahan. She currently serves are the Voice Area and Opera Intern at OSU. Douglas has performed a variety of roles with Oregon State University such as Julia Child in the one-woman one act Bon Appétit!, Mrs. Webb in Our Town and La Mere du Petit Poucet from The Blue Forest. She has also performed Third Lady/Third Spirit from Die Zauberflӧte, and Third Woodsprite from Rusalka in Vancouver, B.C. with ViVACE Summer Opera. Douglas is also working as an Apprentice Artist with Cascadia Concert Opera over their next season, with them she will be singing the role of JoJo in Tango of the White Gardenia. She has been featured as a soloist in works with the OSU Chamber Choir such as Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Mass in C. In addition to performing, Douglas has also presented her essays on 18th Century opera at the College Music Society’s regional conference in Pullman, Washington in addition to having the works published through OSU Press.
Soprano Jessica Fishenfeld, hailed for her “dramatic voice,” “refined sound” (Palm Beach ArtsPaper) and “firmly placed soprano” (Opera News) made her Carnegie/Zankel Hall debut this spring in “Music of Georgia Shreve” with the Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and is a 2018 Festival Artist with the Savannah VOICE Festival. She recently premiered the role of Kim in Big Jim & the Small-Time Investors with Gramercy Opera/Cutting Edge Concerts, May Fielding (Il gri
Soprano Claire Galloway Weber is an avid linguist and proponent of presenting modern works alongside more standard opera and art song repertoire. Having just returned from the Milnes VOICExperience in Savannah where she sang selections from Cosí fan tutte, Carmen, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Anna Hunter, Ms. Weber looks forward to the 2017 – 2018 season in which she will perform Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti with Stillpoint Theatre, return to the Baltimore Musicales, and debut with Bach in Baltimore. Read More
Her 2016 – 2017 season included Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Bel Cantanti Opera, St. Matthew Passion with Concert Artists of Baltimore, a Robert Frost Celebration with the Chamber Music Society of Maryland, St. John Passion at St. Bartholomew’s Church of Baltimore, and a reprise of Frances Pollock’s “God as she makes this earth.” In the spring of 2017, Ms. Weber joined the inaugural season of The Art Song Film Project, sang Amy in What Gets Kept by Frances Pollock at the New Music Gathering, and returned to the Baltimore War Memorial in a recital including Judith Weir’s “The Voice of Desire” and excerpts from Laura Kaminsky’s chamber opera As One.
Having performed roles in operas from Mozart and Massenet to Jonathan Dove and Frances Pollock, Ms. Weber has also performed as a soloist in oratorio works with the Peabody Concert Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and Concert Artists of Baltimore. In addition, she has performed many of the standard art song repertory alongside works such as Daron Hagen’s “Sappho Songs,” Peter Lieberson’s “Neruda Songs,” and Matthew Triplett’s “I Promise to Be Good.”
Ms. Weber currently studies with Mark Schnaible after receiving her Masters of Music at Peabody Conservatory in Steven Rainbolt’s studio.
John Green is a versatile baritone with an exceptionally beautiful timbre. Recently, he was praised for his endearing performance as Caleb Plummer in the American premiere of Zandonai’s Il Grillo del Focolare with New York City’s Teatro Grattacielo. John enthralled Norwegian audiences with his transfixing Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and his enchanting Peter in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. John has been lauded for performances as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Marcello in La Boheme, Dr Rappaccini in La Hija de Rappaccini, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and the title role in Don Giovanni. For his performance of Germont in La Traviata, he received the Opera Performance of the Year Award from Illinois Opera Theatre. John was an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, where he was honored with the Ann O’Donnell Scholarship Award for Outstanding Apprentice. John was thrilled to be a member of the Milnes Voice Studio during the 2017 Savannah Voice Festival. Equally at home in Oratorio, he has appeared as a featured soloist with the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana in performances of Bach’s B-minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio, and St John Passion, as well as Handel’s Messiah and the title character in Handel’s Saul.
Natalie Rose Havens
Natalie Rose Havens, Mezzo-soprano, was most recently seen this summer as the Mezzo in Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox with Chautauqua Opera. Recent roles have included Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with Martha Cardona Opera in New York City’s Merkin Hall. Natalie has also been seen as The Marquise of Berkenfield in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment with Opera North. Other roles include the Old Prioress in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites with UNCG Opera, the title role in Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with Harrower Opera, Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, Harriett in The Clever Artifice of Harriett and Margaret (Scenes Competition Winner for National Opera Association), Scribe/Maria Magdalena in Phillip Glass’s Galileo Galilei, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!, and Marian Paroo in The Music Man. She obtains a Bachelor’s degree from The Florida State University and a Masters degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She currently resides in New York City.
Larissa Hommes is a Oregon-based mezzo-soprano with a Vocal Performance degree from Oregon State University. Hommes has won numerous awards including being a two-time National Association of Teachers of Singing Classical Festival Winner (Willamette Chapter in 2017 & Cascade Chapter in 2015). She performs on behalf the Oregon State University music department at alumni events and organizes community concerts for opera and art song. Recent performances include Julia Gibbs in Ned Rorem’s Our Town, 2nd Woodsprite in Dvořák’s Rusalka, and Marcellina in scenes from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. As a concert soloist she has performed in Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. She has studied under Mitchell Hutchings, Luke Housner, and Nicola Nine-Zielke. This fall she will participate in international competitions as well as pursue a Master of Arts in Vocal Performance.
Clara Imon Pedtke
Clara Imon Pedtke, a native of Evanston, Illinois received her Bachelor of Music from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music where she studied with Dr. Karen Leigh-Post. At Lawrence she performed Mrs. Coaxer in The Beggar’s Opera, Sandrina in La finta giardiniera (scenes), and Knabe #2 in Die Zauberflöte (scenes). At Oberlin in Italy Clara had the unique experience to sing the role of Amore in Paride ed Elena by C.W. Gluck in an outdoor piazza in Tuscany.
Bridget Ann Johnston
Bridget Ann Johnston, soprano, is a native of Des Moines, IA. She is currently a student of the Music Department at Iowa State University, majoring in Vocal Performance. She is very involved with the ISU Opera Studio Workshop, where she has performed scenes from Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors (Mother), Massenet’s Manon (Manon), and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (Erika). This summer, she was cast in the Cedar Rapids Opera production of Brigadoon. Additionally, she participates in ISU choral activities as a member of the Iowa State Singers auditioned choir, where she has sang as a soloist in a concert of Mozart’s Requiem. Bridget is pursuing a minor in Theatre as well, and is a very active participant in her university’s theatrical productions. Previous credits include: Little Women (Aunt March), Oklahoma! (Aunt Eller), and The Secret Garden (Martha). When not on stage, Bridget pursues her passion for painting, and has worked professionally as a scenic artist for summer-stock theatre companies.
Tenor Scott Joiner made his San Francisco Opera debut as Dickon in the premiere of Gasser’s The Secret Garden and his Carnegie Hall debut in Strauss’ Friedenstag with the American Symphony Orchestra. He recently performed the role of Edoardo in the NY premiere of Zandonai’s Il Grillo del Focolare with Teatro Grattacielo and was featured on NPR for his role as singer/composer in Connection Lost (The Tinder Opera). Other performances include Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, Knoxville Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, American Opera Projects, Teatro Magnani Fidenza, NY Fringe Festival, Colorado Music Festival, the Asheville Symphony, Helena Symphony and Garden State Philharmonic.
Peter Lake just finished performing as a Resident Artist for Opera North in his role and house debut as Paris in La belle Hélène. Last summer Peter worked as a young artist at Central City Opera where he won the 2016 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Award. In the fall he travelled to Virginia Opera as a Herndon Foundation Young Artist where he covered Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. During the spring of 2017 along with multiple concert engagements Peter performed the Duke in Mississippi Opera’s youth/cover performance of Rigoletto. In May he made his role debut as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Natchez Festival of Music. Other notable roles for Peter include: Spoletta in Tosca and Vogelsang in The Impresario with Central City Opera, Remendado (José cover/youth performance) in Carmen with Mississippi Opera, and Triquet in Eugene Onegin with Chautauqua Opera.
A recipient of the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts, young baritone Alex Lawrence has been recognized for his rich voice, sensitive musicians hip and commanding stage presence. Since his professional debut in Basel, Switzerland in 2011, Lawrence has appeared with some of the great opera companies in the United States and abroad.Read More
Formerly a member of the ensembles of Theater Basel and Opernhaus Zürich, Lawrence has sung several roles in Switzerland, including The Hunter in Rusalka, Moralès in Carmen and L’Ami in Debussy’s rarely performed La Chute de la Maison Usher. Since then, he has gone on to make several significant role debuts in Zürich, including Silvio in Pagliacci under Alexander Vedernikov, Ned Keene in Peter Grimes under Erik Nielsen, and the three baritone roles of Bohuslav Martinu’s rarely performed Juliette, under Fabio Luisi.
In the 2016/17 season, Alex will debut the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro with Vancouver Opera. Previous noteworthy engagements included his principal role debut with the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, singing Belfiore in Verdi’s King For a Day, of which the New York Times noted the debut of a “sensational” new talent. In 2014, Lawrence performed in a high profile gala concert for the 85th Anniversary of the Ópera de Bellas Artes alongside legendary tenor Franzisco Araiza, soprano Maria Katzarava and bass Eric Halfvarson. He made his Lucerne Festival debut as Don Quixote in Manuel De Falla’s El Retable del Maese Pedro conducted by Clement Power, performed as the baritone soloist in Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurghisnacht with the Orchestra Symphonique de Mulhouse, and debuted the role of Sam in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti for the opening festival of Opernhaus Zürich’s 2012/13 season.
A 2007 B.M. graduate of Northwestern University, Alex Lawrence received an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in 2011. In addition to the honor of an Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts, he has been a top prizewinner at some of the most prestigious competitions in the United States, including the Opera Index Foundation, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, and Gerda Lissner Foundation.
Ting Li, Tenor, is from Zhejiang Province, China. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he studied with Professor Bo Song. In 2016, he received a master of music degree from the Yale School of Music where he studied with Professor Richard Cross. He is currently attending at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University as a first year P.D. student, under the guidance of the legendary soprano Carol Vaness.
Ting has performed as leading tenor role in major opera productions, including Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Tamino in Die Zauberflüte, Lysander in Midsummer nights dream; Rinuccio/Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi; Young Gypsy in Aleko; Guillot in Manon; Alfredo/Gastone/Guiseppe in La Traviata; Don Curzio in La Nozze di Figaro. Ting continued to perform main role in opera scene performances, including Rigoletto; Il Travatore; Adriana Lecouvreur; Romèo et Julliet; Les Contes d’Hoffmann; L’elisir d’amore; Così fan tutte; Barber of Seville; Die Fledemaus; Hamlet; and West Side Story.
He was invited by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) as one of the soloist to perform at the world renowned Carnegie Hall. In 2014, Ting sang Handel’s Messiah for his debut with the Hartford City Symphony Orchestra.
American soprano Helaine Liebman recently graduated with distinction from the Royal College of Music in London with a Masters of Performance, where she studied with Janis Kelly, Simon Lepper, and Gary Matthewman. She also holds a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, studying with Pamela Hinchman, Alan Darling, and Kenneth Smith. Helaine participated in the Castleton Music Festival 2013 in their Young Artist Training Seminar under the direction of Lorin Maazel and Nancy Gustafson. In May 2015, Helaine was a finalist in the Lies Askonas Competition. Her recent engagements include singing Rosalinda in Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus with Amore Opera in New York City, Suor Angelica at Carnegie Hall for New York Lyric Opera Theatre’s Opera Gala 2016, Fiorilla (cover) in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia with Southwest Opera, Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Westminster Opera, Zaïre in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes with Woodhouse Opera, a recital of new works entitled The Avian Eye at the National Gallery in London, a recital at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a concert of opera scenes in Mumbai.
Puerto Rican soprano Meechot Marrero, hailed by El Nuevo Día as, “a revelation…a young Puerto Rican star with a great career ahead” is a recent master’s degree recipient of the Yale School of Music, and in the 2016/17 season, will join the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensemble, after being awarded the American-Berlin Scholarship from the Opera Foundation. At Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ms. Marrero will perform the roles of Frasquita in Carmen, Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Bianca and Gabriela in La Rondine. She will also return to the Savannah Voice Festival as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. Read More
In past seasons, Meechot Marrero has performed extensively in Puerto Rico, performing with the Festival Casals as Trujamán in de Falla’s El retablo del Maese Pedro, Despina in Così fan tutte with the Teatro de la Opera, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Concepción in Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, and Rafaela in Vásquez’ La Mina de Oro with the Teatro Repertorio, UPRRP. Concert engagements have included soprano soloist with the Festival Casals in Menotti’s Muero porque no muero, de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españolas, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileras No. 5 and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Coro de Niños de San Juan and Haydn’s Creation with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bayamón.
Professionally and during her education at Yale School of Music, Meechot Marrero has performed Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Yale Opera, Despina in Così fan tutte and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Savannah Voice Festival, Norina in Don Pasquale at Opera in Williamsburg in Virginia, Mimi in La Bohème in concert with the Savannah Philharmonic. Concert appearances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah with the Hartford Chorale in Connecticut.
A native of Corozol, Puerto Rico, Meechot Marrero is the recipient of the Career Bridges grant from the Schuyler Foundation, and the Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize from the Yale School of Music. Ms. Marrero began her musical studies with the San Juan Children’s Choir, and, after completing a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology at the University of Puerto Rico, received further training from the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory and Yale Opera at the Yale School of Music.
Bass-Baritone Jeffrey Martin, a native of Maryland, recently finished his Masters Degree at The Peabody Conservatory at The Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Martin’s Peabody career took flight with The Peabody Conservatory as The Man with the Cornet Case/Puppet-master from Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, of which The Baltimore Sun said: “Jeffrey Martin brings solid tone and exemplary diction…”Read More
This formidable voice was heard singing the roles of Osmin (Die Entfürung aus dem Serail), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), Sergeant Bouncer (Cox and Box), and the Speaker (Die Zauberflöte) with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater in Cambridge, NY. Jeffrey has soared in opera scenes as Cecil (Maria Stuarda), Leporello, Osmin, and Colline (La Boheme). During his tenure in Baltimore, Jeffrey performed Leporello (Don Giovanni) in Peabody’s collaboration with Lyric Opera Baltimore on the Lyric Opera stage. Recent concert performances include Mozart’s “Great” Mass in C Minor, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin and other guest soloist engagements with groups around the country. Internationally, Jeffrey was found performing the role of Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor) with La Musica Lirica Festival in Novafeltria, Italy. Perforamnces with the University of Minnesota include Escamillo in the Peter Brooks adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen, the title role in Le nozze di Figaro and the role of Rev. Olin Blitch in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. Most recently he sang the role of Jesus in a staged version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the University of Minnesota in Collaboration with the Hochschule für Musik Detmold in Detmold, Germany. Jeffrey is currently attending the University of Minnesota pursuing his Doctorate in Vocal Performance.
Emma McAlister is currently a Sophomore in her undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University. Her major is Vocal Performance. She is also pursuing a certification in the German language. Emma is also a hypnotist, as she has a passion for hypnotherapy and is currently training to be a hypnotherapist. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where she has performed roles at churches and her high school like Mother in Amahl and The Night Visitors. She attended Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Summer 2016, where she performed Act One of Die Fledermaus and sang in a master class for Dawn Upshaw. Now, she studies in the studio of Maria Spacagna. In Fall 2017, Emma was in the Chorus of Die Zauberflöte at Carnegie Mellon. Emma plans to study the German language for a month in Berlin at the beginning of this coming summer. She’s excited for her upcoming opera auditions for Carnegie Mellon’s season next year as well.
Bryan McClary was born in Robbinsville, New Jersey where he first began his musical journey with the Robbinsville Raven’s Chorus in his freshman year of High School. During his High School years, Bryan placed best overall in the NJMEA’s All State Honor Choir in 2015-2016, and placed in CJMEA’s Regional Choir in both his junior and senior year, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016. He was also accepted into ACDA All-Eastern division High School Honors Choir in 2015-2016, and accepted into NAFME All-Nationals High School Honors Choir in 2015-2016. Since then, he has progressed on his musical journey and currently attends the Westminster Choir College as a Vocal Performance major. Studying under Sharon Sweet, Bryan has debuted in his first Opera, Dialogue of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc, in which he played Thierry and the Jailor. Bryan followed his first opera performance with Zémire et Azor by André Ernest Modeste Grétry playing the role of Sander. Bryan has worked with two voice teachers. Thomas Faracco taught him during high school, and his current voice teacher at Westminster Choir College is Sharon Sweet.
Chelsea Miller, a native of Memphis, received a bachelor’s degree in music education at Drury University in Springfield, MO. After graduating, she moved to Baton Rouge to study at Louisiana State University, where she received a Master of Music in vocal performance. While there, she performed the roles of Micaëla in La tragédie de Carmen and Tisbe in La Cenerentola.Read More
The following summer, she sang Nannetta in Falstaff at the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute. Ms. Miller made her Opera Memphis debut as Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario. In recent seasons she has performed several roles with Opera Memphis, including Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, while also earning an Artist Diploma from the University of Memphis. Last summer she appeared as Yum-Yum in The Mikado at Chautauqua Opera. Her upcoming roles include Serafina in Il campanello di notte, and Ruth Baldwin in Later the Same Evening, with IRISOrchestra and Opera Memphis.
Theo Milnes has been participating in his high school chorus since the 7th grade. He was recently in the ensemble in a high school musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and his upcoming role as the busboy in Michael Ching’s “Speed Dating Tonight!” will be his operatic debut. He plays a lot of video games in his spare time, and he would like to thank his parents as well as his friends for the support which has lead him to where he is today.
Carlton Moe, tenor, debuted at Carnegie Hall with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as the Brother in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins and has performed as soloist in major works such as Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s The Messiah with such orchestras as the Oregon Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Walla Walla Symphony, and the Charlottesville Symphony Society.
Heralded by the New York Times as an “ardent tenor” his previous opera credits include Lakmé (Gerald), I Capuletti e I Montecchi (Tebaldo), The Mother of Us All (John Adams), Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth (Malcolm), with Manhattan School of Music Opera Studio, Roméo et Juliette (Tybalt) with Aspen Music Festival, Albert Herring (Albert) with Napa Music Festival, and The Elixir of Love (Nemorino) with the Student Opera Association of PSU. For his portrayal of Chevalier de la Force in Portland State University Opera’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites, Mr. Moe “made a lasting impression that drew an additional helping of bravos at the end of the performance” (oregonmusicnews.com). Carlton also sang the role of Sparky in the premiere recording of Kenneth Froelich’s opera Valentine with Heretic Opera.Read More
Isaiah Musik-Ayala marries a handsome stage presence and innate musicality with a “mellifluous” (San Jose Mercury News), “room-filling” (SF Station Reviews), and “solid bass-baritone” (New York Times). He comes to Savannah to sing Baron Duphol in La Traviata after singing in Tampa (The Marriage of Figaro), Tel Aviv (The Barber of Seville), California (Salome, The Marriage of Figaro), and across the USA.
Mr. Musik-Ayala sang the role of Elmiro in Rossini’s Otello with Loft Opera in NYC last March, after performing in a new production of Silent Night with Opera San Jose. He also sang the Bonze in Madama Butterfly with the North Shore Music Festival. He sang Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro as a Professional Fellow with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and sang Banquo (cover) and the Doctor in the Opera Company of Middlebury’s production of Macbeth.Read More
With Sarasota Opera, Mr. Musik-Ayala most recently covered Il Re in Aida, Barbarossa in La battaglia di Legnano, and Colline in La bohème. With Chautauqua Opera, he sang another Banquo (cover) and Doctor in Macbeth, as well as Prince Gremin (cover) and Zaretzky in their Eugene Onegin. Other recent engagements include Basilio in On Site Opera’s The Barber of Seville (Paisiello), Gazella in Loft Opera’s Lucrezia Borgia, and performing with the Caramoor Music Festival.
An alum of Irene Dalis’ Resident Ensemble at Opera San Jose, his many roles with the company include his first Figaro, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Count Des Grieux in Manon, his first Don Basilio in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, his first Colline in La bohème, and Alexei Karenin in the West Coast Premiere of Anna Karenina.
Other performance highlights include Escamillo (Carmen), Simone (Gianni Schicchi), Ramfis (Aida), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Frank (Die Fledermaus), Pistola (Falstaff), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Baron Douphol (La Traviata), and the Commendatore (Don Giovanni).
Isaiah is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with the late Richard Miller.
Marco Nisticò, baritone, joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in 2009-10, where he made his debut as Dancaire (Carmen). Recent engagements include Ford in Falstaff with Colorado Opera, Ping in Turandot with San Diego Opera. Upcoming engagements: Germont with the Savannah VOICE Festival and Opera in Williamsburg, Solo recital with The Savannah VOICE Festival and Musique à Beauregard (France), roles in a comic double bill (Rita+Il Segreto di Susanna) with Sarasota Opera. Mr Nisticò is making his stage directing debut with Opera Southwest (Albuquerque) where he will direct Puccini’s Tosca. Mr Nisticò has collaborated frequently with the Savannah VOICE Festival and VOICExperience since his first appearance as Leporello in 2014, both as singer (Escamillo, Bartolo and concerts) and faculty member. He is frequently seen with Sarasota Opera in roles including Giacomo in Giovanna d’Arco, Germont in La Traviata, Rodrigue in Don Carlos, Francesco Foscari in I Due Foscari. In 2011-12 Mr Nisticò was heard as Dulcamara at the Landestheater in Bregenz, as Gugliemo at the Teatro Regio of Torino and Rigoletto with Sarasota Opera. His appearances with NYCO include Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Schaunard in La Bohème and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. Marco Nisticò is a frequent guest lecturers and coach with various education institution, including McGill University, Manhattan School of Music, IVAI (Tel Aviv), Lidal North (Oslo), VOICExperience and NYU, among others.
Praised for her “crystalline voice with the chic and class of Grace Kelly,” soprano, Micaëla Oeste, regularly appears at many of the worlds largest venues in both concert and opera. In the 2017-18 season, Micaëla made her debut at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall with the Strauss Symphony of America for the Salute to Vienna concert series. She also joined Placido Domingo for concerts in Odense, Denmark in the Sparkekassen Fyn Arena and in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the Arena Stozice. She will also make her debut at Opera Idaho as Stella in Previn’s Streetcar named Desire. Micaëla will also return to Opera de Monte-Carlo as Niece 1 in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes.
In concert form, Micaëla was recently seen alongside Mr. Domingo in Denmark, Tokyo, Macau, Budapest and Regensburg, Germany for the Thurn und Taxi’s Festival. She also made her Vienna Konzerthaus debut with violinist Zoltan Maga and her Carnegie hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra.
On the opera stage, Micaëla has been seen with LA Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Washington National Opera as Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera and Nannetta in Falstaff. She has also debuted with Polish National Opera, Opera de Monte-Carlo, Teatro de Maestranza in Seville, Santa Barbara Opera, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, San Diego Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Opera National de Montpellier.
Olivia Prendergast is a rising junior studying voice and opera in the studio of Sunny Joy Langton at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. With Northwestern’s MainStage Opera, Olivia recently performed as Beth in The Tender Land (2017) and in the chorus of Don Giovanni (2018). She also was featured with Alan Pierson and the Northwestern’s Contemporary Music Ensemble as part of the quartet in Tehillim by Steve Reich, and as the soprano soloist in Letters Made with Gold (2018). Olivia is a member of Bienen’s Baroque and Contemporary Ensemble, led by Grammy winner Donald Nally. She is manager (and member) of The Renaissance Singers, Northwestern’s elite classical a cappella group. She placed first in the American Prize Competition 2016 in the High School Art Song and Oratorio Division, and advanced to the final round of Classical Singer Magazine’s Summer Competition (2016, musical theatre division). Olivia attended SongFest in 2017 as a Studio Artist and Schubert Fellow, where she performed under the direction of John Musto and Amy Burton. She has been cast in Wolf Performing Arts Center’s productions as Eve in Children of Eden, Beth in Little Women and Ariel in The Little Mermaid (2015-2016). This summer, she will be attending Russian Opera Workshop in Philadelphia, performing in the chorus of Eugene Onegin.
Nan Qin, bass-baritone, is a native of Yucheng city, Shandong Province, China. Mr. Qin got his Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from University of North Texas, where he performed the roles of Balli in Werther, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Capulet in Romeo et Juliette, Devin in Le Devin du Village, and Pandolfe in Cendrillon. He is the finalist of Classical Singer Competition and Lois Alba Aria competition.
Soprano Alicia Renney is a captivating performer, who is often praised for her lush voice and truthful storytelling. Ms. Renney is a second year graduate student in Opera Theater at the University of South Carolina where she studies with Janet Hopkins. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Western Michigan University. She has appeared in many opera productions at the university level including MASS (Street Singer), La Finta Giardiniera (Arminda), The Impresario (Madame Goldentrill), Later the Same Evening (Ruth Baldwin), The Beautiful Bridgeroom (Terentia) and The Golden Apple (Flora). Alicia has performed professionally with Opera Grand Rapids, singing chorus in their productions of Tosca, Romeo et Juliette, and The Student Prince. In addition to her chorus work, she was an Emerging Artist with the company for their 2015-2016 season. Ms. Renney is a sought after concert artist. She was named the winner of the 2018 Honors Art Song Recital at the University of South Carolina and in 2017, performed Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate at the University of South Carolina. IN 2016, Alicia had the opportunity to perform Angels in the Architecture under the baton of Frank Tichelli at the Western Michigan University Spring Conference.
Shaelyn L. Román
Puerto Rican mezzo-soprano Shaelyn L. Román first ignited her passion for music at an early age playing Steel Drum. She learned how to play various instruments on her own, but it was not till college that she began to study music formally. She studied voice with Puerto Rican soprano, Zulimar Lopez-Hernández and belonged to the baroque group Collegium Musicum, receiving her B.A. in Music Education at the University of Puerto Rico and graduating with high honors. Also, she belonged in Coralia, Concert Choir of the University where she also stood out as soloist and participated in many international festivals and competitions; and the Philharmonic Choir of San Juan, both directed by Carmen Acevedo Lucío, with whom she had the opportunity the participate in various editions of the Festival Casals. She has also been part of the Opera Choir and Lyric Choir of Puerto Rico in different operas, zarzuelas and concerts. For two years, she interpreted arias and ensembles from composer Johann Sebastian Bach with the Puerto Rico Baroque Singers. In the summer of 2017 she debuted in her first role as Rinaldo from the opera Rinaldo by Händel in the program Vozarteum. In the meantime, she serves as a music teacher at an elementary school.
Mezzo-soprano Sydney Roslin is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Vocal Performance with a Dual Degree in Creative Writing. She is currently studying under Maria Spacagna. Her recent performances include opera roles such as Fidalma in Il matrimonio segreto at Carnegie Mellon University and Mindy McEntire in the new work Suburban Mompera with Compos-it Opera, along with musical theater roles such as Martha in Heathers, Michael in Murder Ballad, and Marty in Grease. Ms. Roslin also has a background in acting and dance, with three years of dance training at Carnegie Mellon University and four years of acting training at Carnegie Mellon University and at the Michigan Actor’s Studio. Her performance experience also includes two years on Carnegie Mellon’s No Parking Players long form improvisational comedy troupe and three years of writing and performing sketch comedy with Carnegie Mellon’s Tisbert sketch comedy troupe. As a stage director, Ms. Roslin directed a production of The Addams Family last fall with Scotch’n’Soda Theatre at Carnegie Mellon, a fully staged reading of Akristos, a new play, last spring, and most recently directed Tisbert Sketch Comedy’s Fall 2017 show, The Pink Scare. Additionally, she has fifteen years of piano study and eleven years of orchestral violin experience.
Kathryn Rupp is concluding her work this December as an undergraduate student at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and will be receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in vocal performance. Previous credits at Simpson include Venus in Venus and Adonis, Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Herdsman in The Child and the Magic Spells and Il Destino in La Callisto. She has also performed the Fairy Godmother and the Ugly Step Sister in Cinderella with Opera in the Ozarks in 2015 and Gherardino in Gianni Schicchi with the Miami Music Festival 2016. This past summer Kathryn reprised her role as Barbarina in The Le Nozze di Figaro at the Prague Summer Nights Festival and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Berlin Opera Young Artist Program. When she is not on stage performing Kathryn has taken part in competitions around the Midwest. She has placed 2nd in the National Association of Teacher in Singing (NATS) competition at the regional level 2 years in a row. Kathryn is also an alumni of the Minnesota Opera Project Opera program where she was an apprentice. Kathryn is currently auditioning for graduate school as well as upcoming programs here is the United States and overseas.
Daniel Scofield, a native of Binghamton, NY, debuts with Annapolis Opera as Gideon/Dashwood, after. Earlier this season were performances as Schaunard with Phoenicia Festival of the Voice, Malatesta with Opera at Featherstone in Martha’s Vineyard and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Pacific Opera Project. Later in 2017/2018 Daniel debuts as the title role in Rigoletto with Gulfshore Opera, and Marcello in La Boheme with Opera San Antonio, Germont with the Independent Opera and Hudson Opera Theater; and soloist in the Plano Symphony’s Carmina Burana.
Zachary is in his Freshman year at college at Mannes School of Music. Zachary fall has recently performed with groups for Elan Artists as well as his own Jazz combo group. In 2017, Zachary made his Solo Debut in Italy and at Carnegie Hall. Zachary has sung in numerous choirs such as the NJ Allstate Choir, Essex County Region Choir, Nutley High School Chamber Singers, Nutley Men’s choir, and the chorus for the opera L’Elisir D’amore, and Grace Church Choir. Zach has been a soloist with each of these choirs while performing throughout the United States. Zachary has also won numerous Best Soloist awards with his Saxophone while performing in the Nutley High School Jazz Lab, Big Band, and Marching Band. In high school Zach performed as Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Twimble in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Ching Ho in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun.
Mi Na Shin
Mi Na Shin is a Korean-American soprano. Mi Na is a graduate student of The Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College, where she received her B.M. Degree in Vocal Performance. While in the opera theatre program of the conservatory, Mi Na performed the role of La Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims, La Charmuese in Thäis and Le Rossignol in L’enfant et Les Sortilèges. She is currently studying with Mark Schnaible. In addition, she has been playing the piano and violin since grade school.
Mezzo-soprano, Katherine Short, has been on stage performing since the age of eight. Growing up, she appeared in many school and community theater production, and most recently debuted in the cantata Trial by Jury as a Bridesmaid with the Western Michigan University School of Music. Her other memorable roles include Patty Simcox in “Grease”, the Wicked Witch in “Shrek”, and Crazy Marie/Fairy Godmother in Roger and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
During the summer of 2017, Katherine had the honor to perform as an apprentice in the young artist program, Opera Maya, in the Yucatán peninsula. During her time there, she performed in a duet, quartet and trio singing arias from “Hansel and Gretel”, “The Mikado”, and “Die Zauberflöte” and sang ensemble pieces from operas such as La Traviata and Nabucco. She also took lessons under the direction of Matt Carey from Arkansas State University and worked under soprano Johanna Ruszala. In the past, Katherine has studied music and performance at summer camps such as Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Master Art Theatre, The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, MPULSE at the University of Michigan, and Seminar at Western Michigan University.
Katherine is making her debut with the Savannah Music Festival as Hansel in “Hansel and Gretel” with the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Studio. Katherine is an undergraduate currently going into her junior year, studying Vocal Performance at Western Michigan University under the guidance of Dr. Karen Kness. She grew up taking many years of voice and piano lessons.
Soprano Kristi Spicer, originally from Northampton Massachusetts, is in the second year of her master’s degree at Peabody studying vocal performance and pedagogy. Ms. Spicer most recently spent this past summer playing the roles of Despina in Cosí fan tutte and Musetta in La Bohème as part of the Mediterranean Opera Studio and festival. She has participated in other summer programs such as the Alba music festival, Opera Work’s emerging artist program, and the Florence Voice Seminar. Ms. Spicer holds a bachelors degree in music education and vocal performance from Ithaca College. While in New York, she performed in the chorus of Dana Wilson’s The Wolf by the Ears as well participated in performances of baroque opera scenes as L’Eternità in La Calisto. She spent her first year at Peabody performing her roles as Papagena and second lady in Peabody’s outreach opera of Papageno, and she will be performing Louise from Louise in an upcoming scenes production.
Mark Tamvakis is a tenor from Chicago, Illinois and is currently a rising senior at Carnegie Mellon University studying with Professor Maria Spacagna. During Carnegie Mellon Opera’s 2017/18 season, he was seen as Monostatos in The Magic Flute and Tony in West Side Story excerpts. He was most recently featured as the Narrator in a production of Bach’s Coffee Cantata entirely produced, directed, performed, and conducted by students. Other appearances include a recital of art song at the Mellon Institute on the campus of Carnegie Mellon with Jocelyn Dueck and as a featured soloist in the Carnegie Mellon Chorus during their performance of The Passion of Joan of Arc under the direction of Thomas Douglas. He is very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the voice festival and would like to thank his family for their support of his singing career and send his love to his mother, father, and two younger sisters.
Praised for his “verismo” voice, tenor Jonathan Walker-VanKuren has enjoyed a successful career both on and off the operatic stage performing works of the jazz, musical theatre, art song, and opera repertoires. His operatic performances include appearances as Martin in The Tender Land, Reverend Eager in A Room With a View, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, and most recently covering the role of Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon and performing the role of Donald Hopewell in Douglas Moore’s Gallantry. Mr. Walker-VanKuren will spend his summer as a Festival Artist with Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre performing a myriad of operatic and musical roles. He will also return for a second year to the Savannah VOICE Festival where he will be a Sherrill Milnes Studio Artist performing the role of Giuseppe in their upcoming production of La Traviata.
Mr. Walker-VanKuren holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Music degree from Michigan State University. He is also an alum of the Chrisman Studio Artist Program with Opera Santa Barbara. During the 2018-2019 season Mr. Walker-VanKuren will be joining Fort Worth Opera as a Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artist.
Chad Sonka is quickly becoming a sought after American baritone. His most recent accomplishment is his First-Place win during the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the Summer of 2016, he joined Central City Opera as an Apprentice Artist, covering Scarpia in Tosca. Previous performing credits: Gianni Schicchi (Marco) with Savannah Music Festival; Man of La Mancha (Don Quixote) and Carmen (Dancïro) with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; The Mother of Us All (Virgil T.), The Rape of Lucretia (Junius), Faust (Wagner), Elijah (Elijah) with Manhattan School of Music, and Amahl and the Night Visitors (King Melchior) with Nevada Opera. Mr. Sonka has been a chosen participant of Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, as well as Sherrill Milnes’ VOICE Programs for six years. He was also a featured bass soloist with the Cedar Rapids Concert Chorale and Oneota Valley Community Orchestra. Chad is also an active voice teacher and currently serves on faculty at Iowa State University.
Mary Catherine Wright
Mary Catherine Wright is a graduate of the University of Kentucky where she received her Bachelors in Vocal Performance and a certificate in Musical Theatre under the direction of Dr. Everett McCorvey. She is a 2015 Metropolitan National Council Audition Mid-South Region Finalist and was the first-place winner of the 2012 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. Most recently, Mary Catherine won the Gail Robinson Encouragement Award at the 2017 Metropolitan National Council Auditions. Ms. Wright has enjoyed playing roles such as: Susanna (Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro), Second Woman (Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas), Zerlina (Mozart’s Don Giovanni), Nuria (Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar), Olympia (Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Carrie (Carousel) Princess (Little Nemo in Slumberland) and Suor Genovieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. In recent years she has also covered the roles of Sister Catherine (Heggie’s Dead Man Walking), Servilia (Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito), and Cosette (Les Miserables). Mary Catherine continues to sing in the Kentucky Opera chorus and enjoys performing Handel’s Messiah throughout the holiday season. On occasion, she enjoys traveling to New York to sing with the National Chorale.
A few of her awards include first place in both the Musical Theatre and Classical divisions of Regional and Divisional NATS from 2010-2016, first place at the Peterson Undergraduate Vocal Competition in November 2014, the 2014 Gail Robinson Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, and a national finalist in the High School Division at the Classical Singer Conventions in both New York and California.
Described by critics as “tremendous,” “entertaining” and “talented,” baritone James Wright is a favorite among audiences for his charismatic presence and warm tone. His recent operatic roles include the Sacristan in Tosca, Rev. Gruffydd in Roger Ames’ How Green was My Valley with El Paso Opera, Angelotti in Tosca with Nickel City Opera and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Undercroft Opera of Pittsburgh. This season James will be appearing as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Bob inThe Old Maid and the Thief with Nickel City Opera and Richard White in Michael Ching’s Alice Ryley with The Savannah VOICE Festival.
Other operatic roles include The Pilot in Portman’s The Little Prince, John Sorel in The Consul, Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Schaunard in La Bohéme and King Melchior in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Maya Yahav Gour
Maya Yahav is a rising opera and Jazz singer from Tel Aviv, Israel. In summer 2017 Maya will make her debut as Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia with LidalNort Opera Festival at the Oslo Opera House. She will also perform the role of Cendrillon in Massanet’s Cendrillon under the baton of maestro Christopher Larkin and the direction of David Gately.
This year Maya has also made her debut singing with Opera Parallele (San Fransisco Contemporary Opera Company) as The Stewardess in Flight by J. Dove (Maestro Nicole Paeiment). Maya is a recipient of an Opera Index award and was a New York City finalist at The Loren L. Zachary competition. In Summer of 2016 Maya was a fellow at the Ravinia Music Festival as well as a young artist at Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland under the direction of Cecilia and Silvana Bartoli. In April 2016 Maya had made her debut as Angelina in La Cenerentola with Opera in Williamsburg. In 2015 Maya sang the role of L’enfant in L’enfant et les Sortilèges with Opera on the Avalon, Cendrillon in Cendrillon at Miami Music Festival and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Tuscany Music Festival. Also in 2015 she also sang the role of The Stewardess in the NYC premier of Flight by Jonathan Dove with The Mannes Opera (Maestro Joseph Colaneri). In 2014 Maya sang the role of The Abbess/Nursing Sister in Sour Angelica by Puccini, the role of Maddalena in Il Viaggio a Reims by Rossini both with The Mannes Opera, and the role of Veronique in Le Docteur Miracle by Bizet with IVAI in Tel Aviv (Maestro Paul Nadler). Other performance experience includes the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro at The Tuscia Opera Festival and Perugia Music Festival. In addition, Maya performs as a jazz soloist with different big bands and ensembles at international and local New York City Jazz festivals and clubs and specializes in Jazz from the 1920-30-40’s.
Nicholas Giovanni Yaquinto is an American singer praised for his strong stage presence and charismatic voice. 2018 summer engagements include residency with Opera Saratoga, performing Assan in The Consule, Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow, and Prince Gabriel in the world premiere of David Little’s Vinkensport. Mr. Yaquinto is returning to The Savannah VOICE Festival for his second year, performing in various concerts throughout the season. In his debut year with the Savannah VOICE experience he performed the role of Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Mr. Yaquinto is currently enrolled in his Master’s Degree at Florida State University. Recent engagements include The Wolf in Florida State University Opera’s educational outreach tour of Little Red Riding Hood, Voltaire/ Pangloss/ Martin/ Cacambo in Florida State Opera’s production of Candide, and Il Conte Almaviva in Prague Summer Night’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Since receiving his BMA from Georgia State University in May of 2015 Mr. Yaquinto was named a winner of the 2015 Atlanta District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performed as a featured soloist with the Atlanta Symphony, and made his professional debut at the Atlanta Opera as Paris in Roméo et Juliette.
Laura Zahn is a Los Angeles-based mezzo-soprano noted for her warm timbre and commanding stage presence. She was most recently seen as an Apprentice Artist at Opera Saratoga where she covered Mistress Quickly (Falstaff) and Moll and Sister Mister (The Cradle will Rock). Laura has also been an Emerging Artist at Opera in the Ozarks where she performed the roles of La Frugola (Il Tabarro) and Florence Pike (Albert Herring).
Other notable roles include Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Flora Bervoix (La Traviata), and Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress). She has also covered Minskwoman (Flight) and La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica). Equally comfortable with oratorio and chamber repertoire, Ms. Zahn was the alto soloist for the Boston Conservatory Baroque Ensemble’s performance of Bach’s “Aus der Tiefen” cantata (performed as a quartet).
In addition to theses roles, Ms. Zahn has performed with The Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Indiana University Opera Theater and Pacific Opera Project. Laura holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory. She obtained her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana University while also completing a Bachelors of the Arts in International Studies.
Maria Eleni Zollo
Greek-American soprano, Maria Eleni Zollo is an active recitalist and concert soloist in New York City. Passionate about new music, she has premiered the works of award winning composers, including Nathan Fletcher and Zachary Gubaloff Davis. Maria Eleni has appeared as with the Mannes Orchestra as concert soloist and appeared in operatic productions with, Mannes Opera, Apotheosis Opera, the Alexiad Choral, the Metro Chamber Orchestra, Kyrenia Opera, and Project 142, all at major New York City performance venues including, Lincoln Center’s Merkin Concert Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and others. During the summer of 2017, Maria Eleni appeared in the prestigious Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance production of Suor Angelica. In May 2017 Maria Eleni graduated with a BM Mannes College of Music with honors. While at Mannes, she worked as an assistant voice teacher for the New School Community Chorus as a student in the vocal pedagogy and vocal anatomy courses. Maria Eleni is the Music Director and Organist at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Maria Eleni was Miss Peloponnesus in the 2016 Miss Greek Independence Pageant. That same year, she was awarded the Pan-Hellenic Scholarship Award honoring her commitment to Hellenic Culture within the arts.