Prima Fila, the International Lyric Academy Magazine.

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OFFENBACH LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN

AN OPERA FANTASTIQUE BETWEEN DREAM AND MADNESS

MOZART LE NOZZE DI FIGARO

AN ATEMPORAL MASTERPIECE ABOUT LOVE, INFIDELITY, AND FORGIVENESS

IMPORTANCE OF YAPS MELISSA WEGNER

REFLECTIONS ON EARLY CAREER AND THE FUTURE OF OPERA LIMMIE PULLIAM

FROM ILA TO THE WORLD

DANIEL MONTENEGRO

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YAP TRACKER

JULIE BARON

CELEBRATING 29
THE INTERNATIONAL LYRIC ACADEMY MAGAZINE / SUMMER ISSUE 2023
YEARS

CHARLOTTE

(NC)

International Lyric Academy 2023 ®

June 28 , 7 p.m.

FLORILEGIUM 1

ILA Lyric Concert

CPCC, Halton Theater (Free admission)

June 29, 7 p.m.

MOZART MARATHON

Opera Gala

LISA ENGELBRECHT, Pianist

CPCC, Halton Theater

July 1, 7 p.m.

FLORILEGIUM 2

ILA Lyric Concert

CPCC, Halton Theater (Free admission)

July 3, 7 p.m.

OPERA SCENES

ILA Lyric Concert

CHRISTINE BLANNER, Director

CPCC, Halton Theater (Free admission)

July 5 & 8, 7 p.m.

J. Offenbach

THE TALES OF HOFFMANN

Opera (semi-staged)

JAMES MEENA, Conductor

PETER BOON KOH, Director

CPCC, Halton Theater

July 6 & 7, 7 p.m.

W. A. Mozart

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

Full Opera production

STEFANO VIGNATI, Conductor

KERRY JENNINGS, Director

CPCC, Halton Theater

July 8, 2 p.m.

WITH A SONG IN MY HEART

The Romance of Richard Rodgers

Conceived & arranged by DAVID FIORELLO

(Musical Theatre)

CPCC, Halton Theater

SUMMER PROGRAM IN CHARLOTTE
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(ITALY)

International Lyric Academy 2023 ®

July 13 & 14 , 9 p.m.

FLORILEGIUM 1 & 2

ILA Lyric Concert / Chamber Music

Hotel De La Ville, Palladio Hall (Free admission)

July 15, 9 p.m.

WITH A SONG IN MY HEART

The Romance of Richard Rodgers

Conceived & arranged by DAVID FIORELLO (Musical Theatre)

Teatro Comunale di Vicenza, Ridotto Hall

July 16, 6 p.m.

MUSICAL THEATRE RECITAL

Hotel De La Ville, Palladio Hall (Free admission)

July 17, 7 p.m.

OPERA SCENES

ILA Lyric Concert

Teatro Comunale di Vicenza, Ridotto Hall (Free admission)

July 18 & 19, 9 p.m.

J. Offenbach

LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN

Opera (Concert version)

JAMES MEENA, Conductor

PETER BOON KOH, Director

Teatro Comunale di Vicenza, Great Hall

July 20, 9 p.m.

MOZART MARATHON

Opera Gala

STEFANO VIGNATI, Conductor

Teatro Comunale di Vicenza, Great Hall

July 21 & 22, 9 p.m.

W. A. Mozart

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

Opera (Concert version)

STEFANO VIGNATI, Conductor

KERRY JENNINGS, Director

Teatro Comunale di Vicenza, Great Hall

SUMMER
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PROGRAM IN VICENZA
Special tuition for full choirs or groups View complete program, dates, and audition information at www.ilasummerprogram.com VICENZA (Italy) July 21 - August 4 W. A. Mozart THE MAGIC FLUTE (Full Opera production) L. van Beethoven SYMPHONY No. 9, OP. 125 In collaboration with . ® International Lyric AcademY 2024 Choir Program Celebrating 30 Years

Perspectives

MELISSA WEGNER

Importance of YAPs

F I L A 01 Table of CREDITS CONTENTS ARTICLES • INTERVIEWS

Standpoint

STEFANO VIGNATI

Artistic Director’s editorial

Performance

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

MEET THE ARTISTS

Standpoint

JULIE BARON

Tips for Making the Most of YAP Tracker

Performance

Le Nozze di Figaro

MEET THE ARTISTS

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7 9 14 17
& MORE... 22 21 24 36 41 5 Prima Fila / magazine #1 Perspective DANIEL GRAMBOW My ILA experience by Ashley
Perspectives LIMMIE PULLIAM Reflections on Early Career and the Future of Opera by Dasia Hood Standpoint EUN MEE KO San Francisco Conservatory of Music by Ashley Johnson Lam Perspectives DANIEL MONTENEGRO From ILA to the World by Ashley Johnson Lam Contemporary ASYA KOZINA Amazing Paper Creations from the Web 25 Director’s Corner • PETER BOON KOH 26 Spotlights • ILA Faculty 29 Director’s Corner • KERRY JENNINGS 32 Spotlights • ILA Emerging Artists 40 Youth Academy • ELI HALSO 42 Where • ILA in USA and ITALY 44 Magic Moments • ILA Galleries 2022/23
Johnson Lam

01Thanks and CREDITS

F I L A

Publisher

TRUE COLORS LAB, LLC

Editor-in-Chief

STEFANO VIGNATI

Co-Editor

ASHLEY JOHNSON LAM

Art Creator & Designer

GIOVANNI T. FESTA / THE KALEIDOSTUDIO

Contributors

DASIA HOOD

ASHLEY JOHNSON LAM

ELI HALSO

Pictures credits: MELISSA WEGNER by Rubén Sosa/Metropolitan Opera

ASYA KOZINA

ERIN MORLEY

MET Opera Archive

Copyrights:

PETTINGER, TEJVAN.

“Biography of Mozart”, Oxford, UK. www.biographyonline.net, ANN RONAN Picture Library

Heritage-Images

Special Thanks:

JAMES MEENA

CLAUDIO FERRI

ALINA MCNICHOL

GAIL GARVIN

LOGAN WEBBER

SARAH WATSON

TINA KATIS

PHIL VOLPONI

TEIL BUCK

MELISSA VRANA

VALENTINA CECCHI

GIACOMO CIRELLA

Photo by Anastasia Andreeva
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STEFANO VIGNATI STANDPOINT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The 29 th Season of the International Lyric Academy has just ended and I am already planning the future together with my wonderful staff.

We are so excited about the outstanding success and want to thank all the teachers and students who with their passion and talent have made it all possible.

The announced collaboration with Opera Carolina has become a reality thanks to a shared vision with General Director and Maestro James Meena. This partnership has been more than successful and we will repeat this format also in 2024.

I am thrilled and honored to officially announce the beginning of our Celebrations for the 30 th Anniversary of the International Lyric Academy

When I created this program 30 years ago in Rome, Italy, it was just a dream, and today it is a concrete reality that still helps thousands of young artists to develop their careers.

To commemorate our anniversary, we’re working hard to create a very special 2024 season for all of you. We hope you will join our ILA summer program which will be full of music, passion, and many new exciting features and opportunities.

First of all, visit our new website - www.ilasummerprogram.com -that we hope will explain even better what the ILA is and all the benefits that can be obtained from it.

We invite all of you not just to apply, but to share it with your friends and students, to continue supporting the growth of new generations of musicians.

Fondly,

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Les Contes d’Hoffmann

(The Tales of Hoffmann)

Opera in three acts

Music by JACQUES OFFENBACH

Libretto by Jules Barbier

Based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann

First performance: February 10, 1881, Opéra-Comique Paris (France)

JULY 5 & 8, 2023

Halton Theater, CPCC, Charlotte (Semi-staged production)

THE CAST

Hoffmann

Luvo Maranti, Albert Stanley

Olympia Amber Rose Romero, So-Chung Shinn

Antonia Huiying Chen, Bethany Jargstorf

Giulietta Ruijing Guo, Sahara Adamitz

Nicklausse, La muse

Luana Berger

Coppelius, Dappertutto, Miracolo Zhenpeng Zhang

Frantz, Cochenille, Pitichinacchio Johnathan White

Schlemil, Crespelle Ramelle Brooks

Spallanzani

Chorus

Ethan Stinson, Frank Watnick

Julien Zhou, Amy Cai, Helen Xie

Allison Fulghum, Erin Klubek, Andrea Yang

Mariya Chernokhlebova, Kellie Williams, Madeline Macry, Ashlyn Clark, KaLynn Belton

Mckeila Ortiz, Greyson Griffin-Roberts

Maya Sky Ng, Adam Daruvala, Emilio Felix Lopez

Topher Esguerra, Eli Shlimovitz, Ravan Ramgopal

CREATIVE TEAM

Conductor James Meena

Director

Peter Boon Koh

Chorus Master Rebecca Steinke

Collaborative Pianist

Daria Ruzhynska

Lighting Design Hallie Gray

Set scenery and Cosrumes Opera Carolina

The International Lyric Academy Orchestra and Choir

PERFORMANCE

LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN

MEET THE ARTISTS

JAMES MEENA, Conductor

Artistic Director James Meena continues his twenty-second season with Charlotte’s opera company. Mo. Meena’s guest conducting engagements have included the Washington Opera, the Pittsburgh Opera, L’Opera de Montreal, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Festival Puccini Torre del Lago, Teatro del Giglio Lucca, Teatro Pavarotti Modena, Teatro Ravenna, Teatro Sociale Rovigo, the Arizona Opera, Edmonton Opera, the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, South Korea, the National Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of China, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cairo Philharmonic in Egypt, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Sicily and the Orchestra Regionale Toscana in Florence, Italy.

Pre-covid, he made his debut in the historic Teatro Antica in Taromina Sicily and the Teatro Greco in Siracusa leading Puccini’s Turandot.

For more than a decade he was Resident Conductor of the Toledo Symphony, General Director of Toledo Opera and conductor for the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet. His commitment to new works include Opera Carolina premieres of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree and Susannah, Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s Margaret Garner, Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg, Adolphus Hailstork’s Rise for Freedom and this season’s The Falling and the Rising by Zach Redler and Jerre Dye, as well as Charlotte debut performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin Rachmaninov’s Aleko, Puccini’s Il Trittico and La fanciulla del West, Verdi’s Nabucco, and Otello. Maestro Meena has conducted legendary singers Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, Roberta Peters, James McCracken, Vivica Geneaux, Diana Soviero, Mignon Dunn, Marilyn Horne, Sherril Milnes, Jerry Hadley, Jerome Hines and Marcello Giordani.

PETER BOON KOH, Director

Boon Koh is a director-actor who is comfortable on- and offstage. He has directed Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites for Balance Arts Opera Berlin, and assistant-directed Carmen for Singapore Lyric Theatre. He also directed the sold-out production of Michael Chiang’s Army Daze and Once Upon A Time.

He is equally at home on film, and has enthralled audiences in post-screening talks at the Berlin International Film Festival with Eric Khoo’s Wanton Mee, and through his performance in films such as Boo Junfeng’s Apprentice and Khoo’s 12 Storeys at leading festivals around the world.

He is a StorySlam champion of the prestigious storytelling competition run by The Moth, a renowned New York-based group dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling and has been part of their GrandSlam lineup.

A Master of Arts in Communication Management and a multiple award-winning journalist, he has spent more than a decade telling stories through print for the leading national daily in Singapore, The Straits Times. He is a teaching licentiate of London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (Honours), and as a certified trainer in Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis, has trained a wide range of professionals including singers and actors.

He commutes between Kauai and Los Angeles, and has been seen on American network television shows such as 9-1-1 with Angela Bassett and Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sunnyside with Kal Penn, as well as on the big screen in Everything Everywhere All At Once with Michelle Yeoh and James Hong. He is an Upright Citizens Brigade Scholar currently working on his solo show.

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PERSPECTIVES

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA’S LINDEMANN

YOUNG ARTIST DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM AND THE LAFFONT COMPETITION

MELISSA WEGNER

The journey of singer development is rarely a preset, one-size-fits-all path. Often, it is more akin to Dorothy’s house being dropped in the Land of Oz – new and defining experiences in technicolor that are both amazing and challenging with a shimmering goal toward the path’s end. And though each singer’s yellow brick road is different, young artists programs (YAPs) are one path that can lead the way to a singer’s own Emerald City. The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program is the one of the most prestigious programs in the world and Executive Director Melissa Wegner, who also oversees the Laffont Competition each year, knows just how impactful these programs can be in a singer’s journey.

The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program was established in 1980 and has had more than 210 artists engaged in its robust program that aims to help artists continue their development and actualize their own artistic acumen. “We’re seeking kernels of world-class artistry that we can help develop,” Wegner says of the program’s intent. But the Lindemann Program doesn’t have pre-defined yellow brick roads. Instead, Wegner and her team work with singers to help each build their own paths by helping singers define what success means to them and create plans focused on providing what each artist nee ds to get to their Emerald City.

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“It’s a true development program,” Wegner underscores, “we’re less focused on providing lead roles which is very different from other companies, but it leads to very complex training plans for each artist and allows the plans to be very artist led.” Members of each year’s cohort are given the leeway they need to put the skills they are honing to work in practical application and direct their growth based on the needs of their own calendar’s commitments, including being released for periods of time to engage in performing contracts, tours, and competitions elsewhere. “What we’re able to offer with the Met’s resources is very specialized and I’m very proud of the environment we’ve been able to create where there is a balance between group dynamic and support and individual progress and vulnerability” she adds of a feat that is a journey within itself. After all, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

This tailored environment is one facet that makes YAPs such an impactful path for emerging young artists – much like Dorothy’s squad of characters who each help her make her way to Oz. In general, program participants have completed some level of college vocal study where a base of musical and vocal knowledge and technique is laid. In YAPs, artists are provided experiences and opportunities to begin transitioning their academic mindset into practical application. “YAPs offer a chance for people to explore how they interact with professional expectations when they’re not being graded and are out of their usual structure – they can test out how they want to function as a young professional,” Wegner shares. Young artists are provided more performances experiences in YAPs than are typical in a university setting, from roles to recitals. And with more performance responsibility comes more self-directed growth around how to develop both craft and professionalism.

Another valuable member of the squad for singer development is networking. YAPs offer artists the ability to meet and make peers who can turn into future colleagues, and to meet and work with faculty who can be pivotal to a singers’ growth and success. “I personally did three summer programs when I was in undergrad, and I have colleagues from each one of them who are still in my life. I would say each of them was extremely transformative for me as a singer, expanding my worldview from my undergrad to having a much bigger sense of what this opera thing is all about,” she recalls, leading to another important facet that YAPs offer: a sense of connection. Perhaps most crucial to the world of the professional singer is a sense of connection and community. Could Dorothy have persevered through the entire yellow brick road with a squad of acquaintances? Likely not. It was the relationships she developed that made the difference between travelling as an uncertain individual or a young woman empowered by her team, and YAPs are goldmines for this work. Given the professional singing world’s tendency to be a transient profession, living gig to gig across cities, YAPs offer relationship development that provides a “home base”, as Wegner calls it, that offers a center of purpose and consistency in the face of a lifestyle that is constant change. “I love when I see Lindemann alumni showing up (on social media) at each other’s performances or sharing their excitement to be in the same cast,” she shares seeing firsthand how having a close support squad maintains a sense of community whether near or fa r.

Young artists programs like the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and summer intensives like the International Lyric Academy provide a valuable set of next steps. But there are important factors to consider, as YAPs are one of many options available. Wegner offers a wise reminder: “Singers should have a good ability to take self-inventory and figure out what they need at any moment of their development, whether applying to graduate programs, a resident artist program, a young artists development program, a studio of some sort which are all different things and it’s important that the singer does enough research to know the differences and compare that with what they do that really well already, what skills still need to be developed, and who they are personally. It’s a lot of work to figure out but it’s helpful in making sure that next step is heading in the direction you want.” And though much of the decision about whether a YAP path is the right one focuses on introspection, there is also the expectation of the program leaders to consider. Wegner, with her Laffont Competition hat on, shares a few insights. “We’re looking for singers who share who they are in this moment, rather than ask for validation as an artist. We want them to demonstrate their clear love of music-making and its process by stepping onto the stage and showing us the trust they place in their preparation.” In other words, how are you demonstrating your ability to grow into those ruby red slippers?

With a myriad of yellow brick roads for young artists there is much to consider, and it takes considerable self-eva luation and research to match the best opportunity for the desired growth. When a young artist development program is chosen as the appropriate next step, technicolor is turned on enabling a bloom of artistic and professional growth and helping develop and sustain the operatic artform and industry. It is under the leadership of incredible individuals like Melissa Wegner who build programs and opportunities that put tailored singer development at the heart of the work that YAPs can provide for lasting impacts on the trajectory of a singer’s career, no matter how they define their own Emerald City.

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LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN MEET THE ARTISTS

LUVO MARANTI

Hoffmann

SAHARA ADAMITZ Giulietta

ZHENPENG ZHANG

Coppelius/Dappertutto Miracolo

ALBERT STANLEY

Hoffmann

HUIYING CHEN

Antonia

AMBER ROSE ROMERO*

Olympia

SO-CHUNG SHINN

Olympia

RUIJING GUO

Giulietta

BETHANY JARGSTORF

Antonia

LUANA BERGER

Tenor

Nicklausse/La Muse

RAMELLE BROOKS* Schlemil/Crespelle

JOHNATHAN WHITE*

Frantz/Cochenille Pitichinacchio

ETHAN STINSON

Spallanzani

FRANK WATNICK Spallanzani

PERFORMANCE
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ILA 2023, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Semi-staged performance in Italy

Cast

Olympia..........................Amber Rose Romero So-Chung Shinn (8)

Giulietta..........................................Ruijing Guo

Sahara Adamitz (8)

Antonia/ Stella.............................Huiying Chen

Bethany Jargstorf (8)

Hoffmann.....................................Luvo Maranti

Albert Stanley (8)

Coppelius/ Dappertutto........Zhenpeng Zhang

Miracolo

Nicklausse/ La Muse....................Luana Berger

Schlemil/ Crespelle................. Ramelle Brooks

Frantz/ Cochenille.................Johnathan White

Pitichinacchio

Spallanzani................................. Ethan Stinson

Frank Watnick (8)

Choir............Julien Zhou, Amy Cai, Helen Xie

Allison Fulghum, Erin Klubek

Mariya Chernokhlebova, Kellie Williams

Ashlyn Clark, KaLynn Belton

Mckeila Ortiz, Greyson Griffin-Roberts

Raghav Ramgopal, Eli Lev Shlimotvitz

Emilio Lopez Felix, Adam Daruvala

Thoper Esguerra

Music by JACQUES OFFENBACH

Libretto by Jules Barbier

INTERNATIONAL LYRIC ACADEMY ORCHESTRA

Conductor

JAMES MEENA Director

PETER BOON KOH

Collaborative Pianist

DARIA RUZHYNSKA

Chorus Master

REBECCA STEINKE

Light Designer

HALLIE GRAY

Choreographer

LUANA BERGER

Costumes manager

ALLISON COLLINS

Costumes assistants

LANE MORRIS • BETH KILLION

Stage manager

SARAH WATSON

Set Scenery & Costumes

OPERA CAROLINA

HALTON THEATER

CENTRAL PIEDMONT COMMUNITY COLLEGE

JULY 5 & 8, 2023 ~ 7:00 pm

www.internationallyricacademy.com

in collaboration with

STANDPOINT

YAP TRACKER CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

JULIE BARON

I f you are a young artist, chances are slim you’ve never heard of YAP Tracker. With thousands of auditions and competitions held worldwide annually, YAP Tracker is your one-stop shop for finding these golden opportunities. But this tool that many singers rely heavily on wasn’t always available – at least not until mezzo soprano Julie Baron arrived on the scene nearly twenty years ago.

If necessity is the mother of invention, Julie Baron wears the crown of Queen Mother of YAP Tracker. Emerging as an eager young artist from her studies at Manhattan School of Music and fresh on the artist circuit at Opera Colorado in the early 2000s, she began the rite of navigating t he competition and audition circuit.

At that time, listings and advertisements for opportunities were scattered; not only did one have to be a well-prepared singer, but also a skilled detective in sleuthing out all possible avenues to find information in every nook and cranny of the internet and across magazines that may or may not have been available in your area. The young artist circuit was a veritable gauntlet, a worthy rival o f any Tamino trial.

But in her best Mozartian spirit, Julie set forth to create some order out of the chaotic landscape. What began as a simple spreadsheet to track audition and competition opportunities developed into a database with the help of her husband, a software engineer.

Word spread among her friends and the database sharing began. It quickly became evident what a gem Julie had created with this central hub for essential singing career elevation. In 2005, the tool went public online as an affordable subscription-based membership that would help young artists track all of their options -more than 3,600 of them- in one convenient place. A true game-changer. And subscription options are made artist-friendly: “Having been a singer myself, I’m sensitive to accessibility,” states Baron, “I love to help young singers, and this is one way we do that at YAP Tracker.”

Today, YAP Tracker is ubiquitous throughout the Young Artists landscape. But it is a continually growing resource, as the path forward for young artists continues to evolve. On the site you can find more auditions, competitions, and training programs than you can imagine. A more recent addition to the site is scholarship and grant opportunities.

Born out of pandemic priorities, funding opportunities for scholarships and grants were added at a time when singers were suffering a great loss of both opportunity and income. And, while we seemed to have slipped past the grip of the Covid pandemic, Baron is happy to share that funding opportunities will stay on the menu of YAP Tracker’s listings. “Some of the funding opportunities listed are very niche and not all are large awards, but if you find just one, not only does it pay for your membership, but it can be life-changing for your career,” she says with a tone of gratitude that reflects her personal experience in find ing funding for herself as a young singer.

And while young singers are the first beneficiaries that come to mind when the words YAP Tracker are mentioned, companies and the singing industry at large are growing from the platform, too. Companies and programs can list their opportunities at no charge and reach a national and international pool of artists with their information.

This practice was leaned into heavily during the pandemic, but Baron shares that companies continue to embrace the access to talent that YAP Tracker provides; yet another innovation she’s helped steer through her warm, generous self, genuine drive to support the singer landscape, a nd her dedicated team.

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Julie Baron’s Tips for Making the Most of YAP Tracker

1. Singers can earn free memberships by referring new members to the site. https://www.yaptracker.com/ account/refer/

2. YAP Tracker also offers listings and features for accompanying pianists. They can post their availability to play for auditions, be listed in an accompanist directory or find out about opportunities for accompanying pianists. https://www.yaptracker.com/register-accompanist

3. Ever wonder if other singers are hearing from a company yet? YAP Tracker uses exclamation marks (orange and blue, single or multiple) to give a visual cue when singers are reporting they’ve gotten an audition slot or an offer. https://www.yaptracker.com/more/all-notifications/

4. YAP Tracker is just for Americans right? Nope. We post opportunities from all locations. Out of the over 3600 opportunities we posted in 2022, over 1500 were either based in Europe or held auditions on the continent.

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Le Nozze di Figaro

(The Marriage of Figaro)

Opera in four acts

Music by WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte

Based on La folle journée, ou, Le mariage de Figaro by Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

JULY 6 & 7, 2023

Halton Theater, CPCC, Charlotte

THE CAST

Susanna Aubrey Cole, Zixue Wu

Figaro Blake Stevenson, Chandler Benn

Countess Almaviva

Count Almaviva

Cherubino

Marcellina

Don Bartolo

Don Basilio

Marija Jelic, Chunghee Lee

Zachary Hugo

Estefani Lopez, Nan Sun

Natasha Roh, Kirsten Leon

Benjamin Franklin

Topher Esguerra, Frank Watnick

Barbarina So-Chung Shinn, Jenna Hansen

Don Curzio Eli Lev Shlimovitz, Raghav Ramgopal

Antonio Adam Daruvala, Emilio Lopez Felix

Two Girls with flowers Mady Tozer, Ella Ondrick

Chorus Julien Zhou, Amy Cai, Helen Xie

Allison Fulghum, Erin Klubek, Andrea Yang

Mariya Chernokhlebova, Kellie Williams, Madeline Macry, Ashlyn Clark, KaLynn Belton

Mckeila Ortiz, Greyson Griffin-Roberts

Maya Sky Ng, Richard Lock, Meredith Heggen

Anna Hubbard, Stephanie Mayer

CREATIVE TEAM

Conductor

Director

Chorus Master

Collaborative Pianist

Lighting Design

Set scenery

Costumes supplied by

Stefano Vignati

Kerry Jennings

Rebecca Steinke

Lisa Engelbrecht

Hallie Gray

Opera Carolina

Norcostco, Inc.

The International Lyric Academy Orchestra and Choir

PERFORMANCE

MEET THE ARTISTS

STEFANO VIGNATI, Conductor

Stefano Vignati is an Italian-born American conductor. He has conducted prestigious orchestras in the United States, Italy, China, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenija, Serbia and Switzerland and has collaborated with world-famous artists such as: Lina Wertmuller, Michele Campanella, Mariella Devia, Bruno Praticò, Alfonso Antoniozzi, Pierre Amoyal, Nicola Ulivieri, Marco Vinco, Mirco Palazzi, Jesus Leon, Moni Ovadia, Janet Perry, Carol Neblett, Limmie Pulliam, Svetla Vassileva, Leo An and Alexander Malta. In 1995 his first Concerto produced by the Italian RAI Radio-Television for “I Concerti di RaiTre” was broadcast and in 2007 and 2008 he directed two other RAI productions “Prima della Prima”, of “Le Nozze di Figaro” by Mozart and Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, directed by Lina Wertmuller and Alfonso Antoniozzi respectively. In 1998, 1999 and 2000 he recorded various music CDs including the first interactive CD dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi’s Opera omnia, published by De Agostini of Novara. From 2007 to 2017 Maestro Vignati has been Artistic and Music Director of Tuscia Operafestival in Italy. In 2009 he was also appointed Artistic and Music Director of the Italian American Opera Foundation in Los Angeles, and in 2010 Artistic Director of the Viterbo Baroque Festival (2010- 2014) during which, among others, he conducted the Accademia Baroque Orchestra of Santa Cecilia and collaborated with artists and ensembles such as: Giovanni Antonini and the Giardino Armonico, Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, Ramin Barhami, Enrico Onofri and Evangelina Mascardi. Maestro Vignati studied Piano and Composition under the guidance of T. Procaccini, C. Savelloni and C. Ricci, and Conducting with N. Hansalik Samale and Lawrence Golan. He also earned his Master’s degree in Conducting from the University of Denver in Colorado, USA. M° Vignati has been Professor at Drake University, Iowa, where he was also Director and Principal Conductor of the Drake Opera Theater (2015-2022.) He has been also guest conductor in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2007 of the UNM Symphony Orchestra in New Mexico, in 2000 of the Amarillo Symphony of Dallas, Texas, in 2012 and 2013 of the Tonhalle in Zurich, and from 2014 to 2017 of the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra in China. Currently he is the Artistic and Music Director of the International Lyric Academy. Maestro Vignati is represented by Royal International Artists and PB Music.

KERRY JENNINGS, Director

Kerry Jennings is an Associate Professor of Opera Studies at Cal State Fullerton. His stage direction has recently been recognized with 1st and 2nd Place Awards in the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition with scenes from The Ballad of Baby Doe (2021) and Der Rosenkavalier (2020), as well as being named a national finalist for The American Prize in Collegiate Opera Direction for his production of Massenet’s Cendrillon. Additional directorial credits encompass works from Monteverdi to composers of the 21st Century and include highlights such as L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Dido and Aeneas, Cosí fan tutte, Hänsel und Gretel, La bella dormente nel bosco, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Old Maid and the Thief, Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters, Sorry, Wrong Number, and The Cows of Apollo. Dr. Jennings also recently directed a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the Austrian American Vocal Academy at the Kleines Theater in Salzburg. Before turning to a concentration in directing, Dr. Jennings’ performance highlights included over forty lead and supporting roles comprised of early, standard, and contemporary repertoire, recently singing the role of Ernesto in Don Pasquale in Sankt Anton, Austria. As a concert soloist, he has been heard in works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Händel, Haydn, Mozart, Puccini, Saint-Saëns, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Fonseco, Orff, Rorem, and others. Noted for his “beautiful voice, great diction, and uncanny sense of style and phrasing,” Kerry’s recording In My Memory: American Songs and Song Cycles on Centaur Records was met with acclaim from both the composers and critics alike and features works by Libby Larsen, Tom Cipullo, Lori Laitman, and Richard Pearson Thomas. Libby Larsen has called Kerry’s recording of her cycle My Àntonia “the definitive reference performance for future performances. Jennings was a District Winner and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO 17 Prima Fila / magazine #1

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO

MEET THE ARTISTS

CHANDLER BENN

Figaro

BLAKE STEVENSON

Figaro

AUBREY COLE

Susanna

ZIXUE WU

Susanna

MARIJA JELIC

Countess Almaviva

ESTEFANI LOPEZ Cherubino

RAGHAV RAMGOPAL

Don Curzio

NAN SUN

Cherubino

ELI LEV SHLIMOVITZ

Don Curzio

NATASHA ROH

Marcellina

SO-CHUNG SHINN

Barbarina

KIRSTEN LEON

Marcellina

JENNA HANSEN

Barbarina

CHUNGHEE LEE

Countess Almaviva

RAMELLE BROOKS*

Don Bartolo

ADAM DARUVALA Antonio

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Don Bartolo

EMILIO LOPEZ FELIX Antonio

CELESTE DIXON Countess Almaviva (Italy)

ZACHARY HUGO*

Count Almaviva

TOPHER ESGUERRA

Don Basilio

MADY TOZER

Susanna (Italy) Girl with Flowers

FRANK WATNICK

Don Basilio

ELLA ONDRICK

Girl with flowers

PERFORMANCE
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* Opera Carolina Resident Company

Cast

Figaro..................................Blake Stevenson Chandler Benn (7)

Susanna..................................... Aubrey Cole Haiming Wu (7)

Countess......................................Marija Jelić

Chunghee Lee (7)

Count.......................................Zachary Hugo

Cherubino..............................Estefani Lopez

Nan Sun (7)

Marcellina................................. Kirsten Leon Natasha Roh (7)

Don Bartolo......................Benjamin Franklin

Don Basilio......................... Topher Esguerra

Frank Watnick (7)

Barbarina.................................Jenna Hansen

So-Chung Shinn (7)

Don Curzio........................Eli Lev Shlimovitz

Raghav Ramgopal (7)

Antonio............................. Adam Daruvala

Emilio Lopez Felix (7)

Two Girls ..............Mady Tozer, Ella Ondrick

Choir......... Julien Zhou, Amy Cai, Helen Xie

Allison Fulghum, Erin Klubek

Mariya Chernokhlebova, Kellie Williams

Madeline Macry, Ashlyn Clark

Mckeila Ortiz, Greyson Griffin-Roberts

Music by WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte

INTERNATIONAL LYRIC ACADEMY ORCHESTRA

Conductor

STEFANO VIGNATI

Director

KERRY JENNINGS

Collaborative Pianist

LISA ENGELBRECHT

Chorus Master

REBECCA STEINKE

Light Designer

HALLIE GRAY

Choreographer

LUANA BERGER

Costumes manager

ALLISON COLLINS

Costumes assistants

LANE MORRIS • BETH KILLION

Stage manager

SARAH WATSON

Set Scenery

OPERA CAROLINA

HALTON THEATER

CENTRAL PIEDMONT COMMUNITY COLLEGE

JULY 6 & 7, 2023 ~ 7:00 pm

www.internationallyricacademy.com

in collaboration with

International Lyric AcademY 2024 Summer Program Celebrating

CHARLOTTE (NC, USA)

June 9 - July 6

G. Puccini

SUOR ANGELICA GIANNI SCHICCHI

(Full Opera productions)

W. A. Mozart

EXSULTATE JUBILATE, K. 165

G. B. Pergolesi STABAT MATER

Alan J. Lerner & F. Loewe BRIGADOON

30 Years .

VICENZA (ITALY)

July 7 - August 4

W. A. Mozart

THE MAGIC FLUTE

(Full Opera production)

G. Puccini

PUCCINI GRAND GALA

(Opera recital with Orchestra)

L. van Beethoven

SYMPHONY No. 9, OP. 125

A. Boublil & C. M. Schönberg

LES MISÉRABLES

SINGERS • ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS • ENSEMBLE • CONDUCTORS • PIANISTS • CHOIRS

TEACHERS • TECHNICAL APPRENTICES • HIGH SCHOOL & YOUTH ACADEMY

Full Opera Productions & Opera Scenes, Musical Theater, Chamber Music, Recitals Masterclasses, Voice lessons, Coachings, Italian lessons, Audition training, Auditions with Agents

View complete program, dates, and audition information at www.ilasummerprogram.com

30
® In collaboration with

MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHAUTAUQUA OPERA COMPANY

DANIEL GRAMBOW PERSPECTIVES

R achel Gilmore. Limmie Pulliam. Daniel Montenegro. These successful artists all share that they are alumni of the ILA program. And while the ILA has served as a springboard for careers of performing artists, it has also helped shaped the careers of opera industry young leaders like Daniel Grambow, Managing Director at Chautauqua Opera Company.

A twist on the adage: those who administer aren’t necessarily unable to perform. Grambow is an accomplished artist having studied at Cleveland Institute and performed many roles -including Papageno and Guglielmo with the ILA- and directing many operas around the country. And his thirst for bringing the arts to life didn’t stop in the theater: he earned an M.S. in Leadership for Creative Enterprises and founded and led the site-specific Floating Opera Company in Chicago, Illinois. Today he finds his inspiration in form of creative leadership at Chautauqua, in many ways paying forward the wisdom that was imparted to him as a young artist by creating opera experiences that resonate for all - audience and artists.

“My ILA experiences helped lay the foundation and aspirations of my current and future work,” Daniel reflects. “They really give an incredible perspective on the industry.” From Maestro Vignati and Claudio Ferri helping provide first-hand perspective on the industry from the singer’s point of view including auditions, repertoire, and more, to helping young artists begin building their network, Grambow’s program experience created a well-rounded understanding of how to work with young artists, what is required to produce an opera (and doing so in unique ways) , and how to engage with all the stakeholders it takes to put o n an opera.

“Giving someone the experience to work internationally with European professionals,” he adds, “is a great opportunity for those who are figuring out what they want out of their professional life. I highly recommend the experience.”

Though Chautauqua is a forward-focused organization, their primary aim being the production of new works, and the ILA rooted in tradition through the performance of opera’s treasured works, there are shared values between both, particularly developing young artists’ potential. As Managing Director, Grambow serves as a representative for the opera company across the entire Chautauqua Institution in a role that is responsible for securing personnel, funds, and all things needed to make the company run, including the important role of accepting and helping develop young artists. “I bring my perspectives from ILA when I hear singers audition with more traditional repertoire, but especially with the screening process for young singers – what’s the potential that person has to grow in their craft and how is Chautauqua the right fit for that growth?” Such a development-focused lens on opera and community is in the groundwork of the Institution, but there’s no doubt that Grambow and his ILA experiences coupled with his penchant for innovation and creative leadership help fulfill that mission to the fullest.

“That’s something that comes from my time at ILA… seeing someone’s potential in what they can become,” shares Grambow. It’s a tune that harmonizes beautifully with the mission of the Chautauqua Institution at large: dedication to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life.

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That’s something that comes from my time at ILA… seeing someone’s potential in what they can become ”

LIMMIE PULLIAM PERSPECTIVES

Reflections on Early Career and the Future of Opera

Since childhood, Limmie Pulliam has had a beautiful voice that took him on a path of self-discovery. As the son of a pastor, Pulliam’s singing experience began with the church choir. He later joined his middle school choir and stuck with it in high school. “In high school, my choir director introduced me to opera. She heard something in my voice that made her think I could sing opera, a nd she was correct.”

He began working and learning opera, going on to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Richard Miller. In college, Pulliam was introduced to a summer program in Italy by the program director, Luisa Panou, who he kept in touch with after she heard him sing in high school. Thanks to a scholarship and some fundraising, Pulliam attended New Operafestival di Roma in 1996, directed by Stefano Vignati, who transformed the program into the International Lyric Academy the year after. “I learned some much from M° Vignati while I was there,” Pulliam reflects, “I was just a young singer - I think I was 19 or 20 at the time.”

The value of early language and career training

That experience was such a vital part of my early training,” Pulliam explains, “because it helped reinforce some things I was learning at the conservatory. As a student, it started to instill the importance of being a professional and how to be a professional colleague because they treated us as professionals and not as students while we were there.” Having accessibility to professional language and career training early on makes a difference in the starting paths of young opera singers. It gives them foresight into what it would take to pursue a career in classical music.

Walking your path

After his training experience, Pulliam returned to college and sang briefly after graduating from Oberlin; however, he decided to take a break from opera to pursue other interests, live life, and do some soul-searching. Looking back, Pulliam believes taking time away was a blessing, as he gained more life experience to return to his art. “Every artist’s path is different. My path took me away from my career for some years, but the road returned to where I was meant to be.”

Pulliam advises young artists to take chances, be vulnerable, have persistence, and be consistent as they make their way. Put in the work and surround yourself with good mentors to support you.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some senior members of the classical community whose footprints and on whose shoulders we stand, especially for me as a Black artist,” states Pulliam, “People like George Shirley, the first African-American male tenor to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera. To have access to those individuals, other colleagues, and artists who encouraged me when I r eturned to the field.”

Looking forward

Pulliam envisions himself as a mentor for the next generation. He wants students to know that representation matters. People want to see people like them on the stage. Thriving opera companies will reach out to a diverse audience to make people feel welcome to the art of opera.

“It’s only right that I be willing to reach back and share those experiences with others. Whether an artist or color or an artist of size.”

METROPOLITAN OPERA NEW STARS
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EUN-MEE KO STANDPOINT FOR

CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC - CHAIR OF VOICE DEPARTMENT

PRE-COLLEGE

While the ILA is focused on singer training and development, its profsional-level experiences often shape artists in ways that help them discover their true path. Alumna Eun-Mee Ko, San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Voice Department Chair for Pre-College and Continuing Education, credits her journey with the ILA as a key to her long-held role at SFCM and her love for teaching and inspiring young vocalists.

AJL: We hear a lot about superhero origin stories, but every singer has one too. What’s your origin story?

EMK: I grew up in a musical home. My father was a popular singer in Seoul, so music was always in my house and it’s deeply engrained in my culture. In Korea, I was a member of a girls chorus where I started my formal training. When I graduated high school, I came to California where I began studying voice at SFCM with Sylvia Anderson. It was there that Herman LeRoux introduced the ILA to me!

AJL: What an amazing journey you’ve had! It also included participating in the ILA in 2000 and 2001. What kind of support did your ILA immersion offer you as an emerging young singer?

EMK: Where do I start? I’m grateful to Mr. LeRoux for introducing me to the program and for Maestro Vignati’s amazing musicianship and expressiveness. To be able to work with such a skilled conductor who has created an environment so filled with passion for learning and opera and having so much opportunity to perform in lead roles as a young artist was priceless. And the level of the faculty was incredible – working with stars, master artists, and living legends like Fedora Barbieri and Giuseppe T addei was a dream!

AJL: You’ve dedicated yourself to the development of young artists through your role at SFCM – dare we say you’re paying it forward? How has the ILA shaped your path to where you are today?

EMK: Originally, I didn’t want to be a voice teacher; I wanted to be a performer. But the ILA opened the possibility of teaching to me: it helped me compare the lifestyles (of a professional singer and a teacher). I realized that the performer lifestyle wasn’t for me, and my two years of ILA experiences helped quench my thirst for being on the stage. I’ve been with SFCM for 23 years now and it’s home. The ILA felt like home, too, with it’s incredible people and environment and I try to provide that same experience for my students.

AJL: Studying music has an amazing way of leading each of us to our life paths and discovering our own superpowers. What advice would you give to young singers as they journey this path?

EMK: Be yourself and enjoy the journey. We spend a lot of time as singers perfecting our technique, learning the background of songs and operas and other singers’ interpretations, which is all very important. But we should learn those things so we can then bring our own selves to the music. This is what makes musical experiences powerful, and enjoyable for everyone, being able to create authentic experiences.

SAN FRANCISCO
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ILA 2001, Eun Mee as Cleopatra in Haendel’s Julius Caesar

STANDPOINT

DIRECTORS’ CORNER

PETER BOON KOH

ILA 2023 Debut Les Contes

d’Hoffmann

In his lifetime, Jacques Offenbach was known for his comedic light operettas with catchy tunes. But as with all creative geniuses, he wanted more.

He wanted to be remembered as a composer of something serious, something lasting.

Enter The Tales of Hoffman. Or Les Contes D’ Hoffmann, which he hoped would elevate his reputation and standing as a master of serious opera after cutting his teeth on earlier frothy works.

The story draws on the life of E.T.A. Hoffman, inspired by a play about the German poet written by Jules Barbier and Michael Carre.

The real Hoffmann was born Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann in 1776 (he introduced the “A” later as an homage to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). Like the character in the opera, he was given to drink, but unlike the character, he was an accomplished writer of fantasy stories, a music critic, a composer and a lawyer to boot.

Placing the troubled titular character center-stage in three stories starring a lifelike doll, a seductive courtesan, and a singer with a life-threatening affliction, we witness the vagaries of his heart. In spite of his deluded rose-tinted predispositions, we get drawn into his universe of tragic love. The result is lush, expressive 19th century French opera melding musical artistry with emotional pathos.

That universe is charming, yet dark; real, but surreal. Are there really different villains and love interests? Or are they facets of the same cores: Heaven and Hell, caressing the fool-for-love Hoffman one moment and tormenting him the next? What does it say about us, as a modern day audience, that we have a soft spot for these themes, if not in opera houses around the world, then as the backbone of multi-season reality television shows?

In this pared-down staging, you will experience these elements through our young singers, under the masterful baton of Maestro James Meena.

Thankfully, our production was spared from the real life drama of Les Contes D’ Hoffmann. For example, the original production suffered a setback in its early days when the theater that the opera was to make its debut in had its budget slashed. Then, after Offenbach continued working on his still-unfinished score at a second theater, the production again got halted when the composer died. It eventually premiered four months later.

Consequently, the debate over the composer’s vision and intentions has seen the sequence of the three stories in the plot line vary in many stagings since. In ours, we have opted to showcase the stories of Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta in that order.

Despite its early difficulties, The Tales of Hoffmann has endured as one of the most popular works in opera repertory after it first premiered in 1881.

Offenbach may not have lived to see the premiere of his Tales of Hoffman but through this staging, I hope his magnum opus will live on in you, dear opera lover.

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E.T.A. Hoffmann, Selfportrait

SPOTLIGHTS ILA FACULTY

THOMAS MICHAEL ALLEN

Vocal Arts & Opera Faculty

USC,Thornton School of Music, CA

Lyric Tenor Thomas Michael Allen has enjoyed an international singing career that has spanned over two decades. Allen has performed at Théatre des Champs-Élyées in Paris, Zurich Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, La Monnaie in Brussels, Grand Théatre de Genève, Baden-Baden Easter Festival, Opéra de Lyon, Opéra de Monte Carlo, de Nederlandse Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and the Glimmerglass Festival. He has been a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Les Musiciens du Louvre, the Academy for Ancient Music and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under the baton of such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, William Christie, René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski, Simone Young, Gary Bertini, Helmut Rilling, Christoph Eschenbach, and Kurt Masur. (For more, visit https://music.usc.edu/thomas-allen/ )

LEANNE FREEMAN-MILLER Professor of Voice Drake University, IA

Leanne Freeman-Miller, soprano, is a Professor of Voice at Drake University, teaching studio voice, vocal pedagogy, and Italian & German diction. In May 2006, she received the Madelyn Levitt Teacher of the Year award, Drake’s highest honor awarded to faculty for teaching. Ms. Freeman-Miller has appeared frequently as a soloist with many performing groups in the Midwest region in oratorio and opera. She was the soprano soloist for Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn at the Des Moines Civic Center, and has also appeared on the Salisbury House Chamber Music series, Onstage at the Des Moines Art Center, and has extensive musical theatre experience in both performing and musical direction. (For more, visit https://www.drake.edu/music/faculty/leannefreeman-miller/ )

YUNAH LEE

Assistant Professor of Voice University of Arizona, AZ

Korean American lyric Soprano Yunah Lee has been praised in the U.S., Europe and Asia for her “handsomely colored full lyric sound” (Opera News) and “picture perfect” acting (Berkshire Fine Arts). Performances in the title role of Madama Butterfly were hailed in Germany as “a revelation… [her] voice unites the girlish innocence and the wistful sensuality [of Cio Cio San]” (Online Musik Magazine). “…thoroughly captivating, above all thanks to Yunah Lee, who is utterly convincing in mood and presentation… a commanding and touching performance revealing the highs and lows of Butterfly’s emotions.” (Das Operngals). Ever since she made her professional debut with New York City Opera while a student at the Juilliard school, Ms. Lee has been in demand for operatic engagements all around the world. (For more, visit https://cfa. arizona.edu/profile/yunahlee/ )

MATTHEW MARKHAM

Associate Professor of Voice University of Wisconsin SP, WI

Baritone Matthew Markham enjoys an active career on the operatic, concert, and recital stages. He has appeared on the operatic stage with Ash Lawn Opera, Janiec Opera, Spoleto Festival, New Jersey Opera, Manhattan Opera Theater of the French Institute Alliance Française, Da Ponte Concert Opera, Westminster Opera Theater, and Florida State Opera. Roles span Mozart through lyric French and English/American opera. He is a frequent soloist in oratorio ranging Bach to Britten and has performed in prestigious concert venues including Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City and Suk Hall at the Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic.An avid interpreter of art song, he has worked with musical luminaries Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, John Harbison, Jake Heggie, Ricky Ian Gordon and the late Craig Smith in performances at Songfest in Malibu, California. (For more, visit https://www.uwsp.edu/directory/profile/matthew-markham/ )

2023
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CHRISTINE BLANNER

Teaching Associate of Voice

Drake University, IA

Christine Blanner received her Bachelor of Music from Drake University in 2003 after which she moved to Boston, MA and received her Masters of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2006, graduating with academic honors. Christine has performed many roles all over the country and has sung in recitals and concerts throughout Europe in Italy, Switzerland, and France. Christine’s roles include Ruth in Sparks Fly Upward, Polly Peacham in Threepenny Opera, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Mme. Heartmelt in The Impresario, Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne, Clara in Signor Deluso, Juliet in The Little Sweep, Angelina in Trial by Jury and Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas. Her Oratorio credits include Second Soprano Soloist in Mozart’s C Minor Mass with...] (For more, visit: https://www. drake.edu/music/facultystaff/christineblanner/ )

EUN-MEE KO

Chair, Voive Depart. Pre College San Francisco Conservatory

Teaching classical voice and musical theater and specializing in preparation for performances, competitions, and auditions for colleges (Extra Curricular) & music schools for Pre-College students and Continuing Education students who are on the professional track. Her students have won numerous awards in local, national, and international competitions, including Junior Bach Audition, the Pacific Music Society & Foundation Annual Competition, the United States International Music Competition, International American Protégé Competition, Schmidt Vocal Competition, CS Music Vocal Competition, and others. Her students participated in prominent summer music festivals, including Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Interlochen Arts Camp, and International Lyric Academy, where she is on the faculty and others. She has been an adjudicator for auditions and competitions, including the United States International Competition and the New York Lyric Opera National Voice Competition.. (For more, visit: https://sfcm.edu/study/ faculty/eun-mee-ko )

DAVID FIORELLO

Musical Theater Director

Loyola University, Chicago

David Fiorello is an Equity Jeff Award-winning Music Director, Director, Performer, Orchestrator and Playwright that’s had his work featured across the globe. Most recent credits include serving as Music Director for Blues in the Night (starring Tony-Nominee Felicia P. Fields), Music Directing To Be with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and served as Director & Music Director for the East Coast and International Premiere of his show With a Song in My Heart: The Romance of Richard Rodgers. He Music Directed the hit production of Gypsy in Chicago, starring 8-time Jeff Award-Winner E. Faye Butler, has toured internationally with John Doyle’s re-imagined Sweeney Todd, and served as Music Director for the Off-Broadway hit Danny & Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Story. (For more, visit https://www.luc.edu/ theatre/aboutus/facultyandproductionstaff/davidfiorello.shtml

KERRY JENNINGS

Associate Professor Opera Director

California State Univ., Fullerton

Dr. Kerry Jennings is an Associate Professor of Opera Studies at Cal State Fullerton. His stage direction has recently been recognized with 1st and 2nd Place Awards in the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition with scenes from The Ballad of Baby Doe (2021) and Der Rosenkavalier (2020), as well as being named a national finalist for The American Prize in Collegiate Opera Direction for his production of Massenet’s Cendrillon. Additional directorial credits encompass works from Monteverdi to composers of the 21st Century and include highlights such as L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Dido and Aeneas, Cosí fan tutte, Hänsel und Gretel, La bella dormente nel bosco, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Old Maid and the Thief, Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters, Sorry, Wrong Number, and The Cows of Apollo. Jennings also recently directed a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the Austrian American Vocal Academy at the Kleines Theater in Salzburg. (For more, visit: https://www.fullerton.edu/arts/music/ about_us/faculty_administration/jennings_k.php )

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Teacher of Voice, CEO, The Mona Lisa Life

Lisa Kay Fletcher (LK Fletcher) is the consummate performer. A critically acclaimed singer, pianist and conductor she has an international reputation as a master teacher and clinician, opera singer and stage director. LK is an Equity actress, a published playwright and composer, and a national drama critic. More importantly, she is a mentor, an educator and encourager to thousands of performers. She has served as a music professor at several institutions including Colorado Christian University and taught in summer opera programs in Europe and throughout the U.S. Her students are active music educators, performers, recording artists and outstanding musicians in multiple venues. (For more, visit: https://www.nats.org/cgi/page. cgi/_membership.html/67069-Lisa-Kay-Fletcher?value=TEXOMA&attr=region )

MARC DABOLL Professor of Voice University of Toronto (Canada)

A tireless researcher and advocate for the effortless singing professional, Mark Joelson Daboll is a performing baritone, music educator, and voice teacher – a capacity for which he has garnered much praise as a master technician. His 21st century teaching skill-set successfully serves the building of all voices. He is sought after as a reliable voice-renovator to professional opera and music theatre singers in all stages of their careers, and for the development and rehabilitation of misdirected voices. He is a teacher with immediate solutions to reaffirm individual, authentic vocal identity, and maximize vocal and artistic capability at the highest level of performance. Mr. Daboll serves on the Voice Faculty at the University of Toronto, teaching applied voice, and as a guest lecturer on topics in graduate-level voice pedagogy. (For more, visit: https://www. music.utoronto.ca/mob-our-people.php?fid=198 )

LISA ENGELBRECHT

Pianist and Vocal Coach

Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa

Lisa is the operatic vocal coach at Opera UCT and also regularly coaches and accompanies singers at Cape Town Opera and is a guest vocal coach locally at the University of North West’s Conservatoire of Music and internationally at the Royal College and Academies of Music in London. Lisa is on the teaching faculty as Coach/Accompanist of the International Lyric Academy in Vicenza, Italy. She also lectures in Lyric Diction. Lisa initially received her BMus degree at UCT in Piano Performance but went on to study voice in Milan, Italy with Virginia Borroni and completed an opera diploma at the Piccolo Conservatorio. She decided to fuse her skills as both singer and pianist when she was accepted on a full scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London fora Post Graduate diploma in Higher Performance for Repétitéurs in 1998. She subsequently coached for the Jeunes Voix du Rhin opera program in Strasbourg, The Renata Scotto academy in Savona, Italy, The Merola Opera Program (San Francisco Opera) and Glimmerglass (New York State).

(For more visit: https://humanities.uct.ac.za/college-music/contacts/ )

REBECCA STEINKE

Teacher of Voice, Chorus Master

St. Lawrence Catholic Church

Rebecca Steinke was born in Tampa and has lived in San Diego California for the last 23 years. Rebecca has been a professional director of music since 1990, and before that a volunteer since the age of 9. Over the course of her career she has worked with just about every type of music program: retirees, multi-generational choirs, university students, tenn and children’s choirs . She has worked with musical styles from the Medieval/Renaissance to the present day. Rebecca has two degrees in music: Applied Voice from USF and a Masters of Music Education from the University of Florida. (For more, visit: https://stlawrence.org/ ministry/ministry-directory/liturgical/music/director-of-music/ )

ILA
FACULTY
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SPOTLIGHTS

STANDPOINT

DIRECTORS’ CORNER

KERRY JENNINGS

ILA 2023 returning Le Nozze di Figaro

Mozart’s masterpiece “Le nozze di Figaro” is often called the perfect opera, and is as relevant today as it was when it premiered in 1786.

With its thinly veiled commentary on wealth and class, it was initially banned in Vienna. With a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte based on the comedy La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro by Pierre Beaumarchais, the opera is set over just one day and tells the story of how Figaro and his sharp-witted fiancé Susanna succeed in getting married, despite Count Almaviva’s interference and all the chaos that ensues over the course of that single day.

Mistaken identities, an unexpected game of hide-and-seek, twists and turns, and a day full of lust, jealousy, regret, and ultimately forgiveness all combine with Mozart’s genius score to make for an unforgettable experience, and truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

The opera begins with Figaro measuring the room for a bed, only to have Susanna inform him that Count Almaviva has re-instated the feudal right, allowing him to bed a servant girl on her wedding night, which explains the proximity of their new quarters to the Count’s. Figaro is of course filled with rage, and along with his betrothed Susanna, the now-forsaken Countess, and the libidinous pageboy Cherubino, they concoct a plan to entrap the Count and expose his philandering ways.

Add to the mix a drunken gardener, a manipulative housekeeper, a revenge-seeking doctor/lawyer, a pot-stirring music teacher, and a bevy of other characters, and you will see why this is one of the most beloved operas of all time.

And through all the twists and turns, “Le nozze di Figaro” is ultimately a story of love and forgiveness, which is something we all need to give and accept.

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W. A. Mozart, portrait

Mozart Marathon

Opera Gala

Music by WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

JUNE 29, 2023 - 7 P.M.

Tate Hall, CPCC, Charlotte

Pianist

LISA ENGELBRECHT

PROGRAM

“Deh vieni non tardar” from Le Nozze di Figaro

“Un aura amorosa” from Così fan Tutte

“Un moto di gioia” K. 579 (Originally from Le Nozze di Figaro)

“Non so più cosa son” from Le Nozze di Figaro

“Porgi Amor” from Le Nozze di Figaro

“Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo” from Così fan Tutte

“Non più andrai farfallone” from Le Nozze di Figaro

“Hai già vinta la causa?!” from Le Nozze di Figaro

“Il mio Tesoro intanto” from Don Giovanni

“Or sai chi l’onore” from Don Giovanni

“Aprite un po’ quegl’occhi” from Le Nozze di Figaro

“Der Hölle Rache” from The Magic Flute

Mady Tozer

Johnathan White

Kay Marion

Estefani Lopez

Gwen Cartwright

Zhenpeng Zhang

Chandler Benn

Zachary Hugo

Luvo Maranti

Chunghee Lee

Blake Stevenson

So-Chung Shinn

Singers

MADY TOZER

Soprano

JOHNATHAN WHITE

Tenor

KAY

MARION

Soprano

ESTEFANI LOPEZ

Mezzo

GWEN CARTWRIGHT

Soprano

ZHENPENG ZHANG

Baritone

CHANDLER BENN

Baritone

ZACHARY HUGO

Baritone

LUVO

MARANTI

Tenor

CHUNGHEE LEE

Soprano

BLAKE STEVENSON

Baritone

SO-CHUNG SHINN

Soprano

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INTERNATIONAL LYRIC ACADEMY

ILA 2023

EMERGING ARTISTS

DANIEL BOWERS

Drake University, IA

Opera Scenes program

DANIEL DENG

St. Marks School, TX

Opera Scenes Program

MEREDITH HEGGEN

Drake University, IA

Opera Scenes Program

RICHARD LOCK

Drake University, IA

Opera Scenes Program

KAY MARION

Charlotte, NC

Opera Scenes Program

STEPHANIE MAYER

Drake University, IA

Opera Scenes Program

ARIEL OLALEYE

Vanderbilt University, TN

Opera Scenes Program

EMILY SCHARF

DePauw University, IN Opera Scenes Program

CHRISTIAN SOUZA

UNC - Charlotte Opera Scenes Program

AMY CAI

San Francisco Conservatory, CA Ensemble program

MARIYA CHERNOKHLEBOVA

UNC Charlotte, NC Ensemble program

ASHLYN CLARK

CPCC Charlotte, NC Ensemble program

ALLISON FULGHUM

North West Cabarrus HS, NC Ensemble program

GRAYSON GRIFFIN-ROBERTS

CPCC Charlotte, NC Ensemble program

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CELEBRATING 29 YEARS

ILA 2023

EMERGING ARTISTS

ELI HALSO

Youth Academy Ensemble Program

ANNA HUBBARD

Mission Bay HS, CA Ensemble program

ERIN KLUBEK

MidAmerica Nazarene, KS Ensemble Program

MCKEILA ORTIZ

UNC Charlotte, NC Ensemble Program

MIRA ROHATGI

Youth Academy Ensemble Program

MAYA SKY NG

Youth Academy Ensemble Program

KELLIE WILLIAMS

CPCC Charlotte, NC Ensemble Program

HELEN XIE

San Francisco Conservatory, CA Ensemble Program

ANDREA YANG

Youth Academy Ensemble Program

JULIEN ZHOU

Youth Academy Ensemble Program

ILA 2023 PIANISTS

LISA ENGELBRECHT

Le Nozze di Figaro

Mozart Marathon

DARIA RUZHYNSKA

Les Contes d’Hoffmann Masterclasses

ZAIBA SHEIKH

Opera Scenes Youth Academy

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INTERNATIONAL LYRIC ACADEMY

ILA 2023 PIANISTS

CLAUDIO OLIVERA

ILA Recitals Masterclasses

ELISABETTA CHIARATO

Opera Scenes

ILA Recitals

MATTEO DAL TOSO

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

ILA Recitals

FRANCESCO ORECCHIO

ILA Recitals Masterclasses

MAHOUR ARBABIAN

Le Nozze di Figaro

ILa Recitals

ILA 2023 ORCHESTRA

CHRIS KOWALEWSKY

1st Flute (USA)

BRANDON REVILLA

2nd Flute

ERICK MORALES

1st Clarinet

MELISSA ARBETTER

1st Violin

KATHERINE YUNG

1st Viola

ISABELLA MIER

Viola

RAIMONDO CAPIZZI

1st Flute (Italy)

Orchestra Manager (Italy)

TEIL BUCK

1st Oboe (USA)

Orchestra Manager (USA)

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Summer Program Celebrating 30 Years

CHARLOTTE (NC, USA)

June 9 - July 1

G. Puccini

SUOR ANGELICA

GIANNI SCHICCHI (Full Opera productions)

W. A. Mozart

EXSULTATE JUBILATE, K. 165

G. B. Pergolesi STABAT MATER

VICENZA (Italy)

July 7 - August 4

W. A. Mozart

THE MAGIC FLUTE (Full Opera production)

G. Puccini

PUCCINI GRAND GALA

L. van Beethoven

SYMPHONY No. 9, OP. 125

R. Schumann

SYMPHONY No. 1, OP. 38 “SPRING”

MASTERCLASSES & CHAMBER MUSIC

View complete program, dates, and audition information at www.ilasummerprogram.com

Special Tuition for Orchestra Musicians
International Lyric AcademY 2024
In collaboration with . ®

5 QUESTIONS WITH ILA ALUMNUS DANIEL MONTENEGRO PERSPECTIVES

Lyric tenor Daniel Montenegro, a graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and an ILA ’99 and ’00 alumnus, has an active career singing around the U.S. today. And though there are many factors that play into the making of a successful singing career, we were able catch up with Daniel on how the ILA helped shape his accomplished path.

AJL: We often think of successful artists as being involved in their craft from a very early age. Was this this case for you, Daniel?

DM: It couldn’t be any more opposite! I did not come from a musical family and only joined choir in middle school because I was recruited by a buddy. My first exposure to opera was with the Three Tenors. My senior year in high school, I happened to get comp tickets to see Pagliacci with Plácido Domingo and that’s when the bug really hit. I ended up studying at San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Herman LaRoux and Marilyn Tyler.

AJL: Like many eager young singers, you sought out summer opportunities, including the ILA. What did your two summers of ILA offer your artistic development?

DM: The ILA was my first true introduction to a real opera conductor. If you’re in the music world, you know it takes a special skillset to conduct opera. Maestro Vignati was an amazing conductor to have this experience with. He (and everyone else with the program) showed me what an authentic opera experience was and the true professional demand the artform requires. It shaped my mindset toward what I expected of myself. Being able to study and perform on master classes with legends like Fedora Barbieri was also invaluable.

AJL: Such a rich experience during your musically formative years. Do you see that experience showing up today in your professional career?

DM: Definitely. My approach to professional expectations, like the level of preparedness and ability to deliver, and how to learn a role was established through my ILA experiences. These are things I lean on every time I take a role with a company, whether new or not. And the volume of performance opportunities during ILA helped prepare me for the pace and variety that is the professional singing life.

AJL: It’s an amazing career path and way to experience life. What do you love most about being a professional singer?

DM: There’s something so special about the ephemeral and creative nature of performing – makes you truly take in every moment. And the camaraderie you share with cast mates and travel to new places can’t be beat. These are all things I was fortunate to experience at ILA and continue to experience in my career today.

AJL: Here we are, 20-something years after your ILA days. As a seasoned professional, what advice would you give today’s young singers?

DM: I don’t say this to be negative or scary: a career as a professional singer is not for the faint of heart. Make sure that you are willing to be all in in all ways. I love what I do but some days it’s tough to be away from family. Singing has to be a career that you know no other careers will satisfy, and you have to keep that in your mind and heart. The ILA is a great way to test and experience the professional world on a small scale.

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Daniel with Fedora Barbieri (2000)

Musical Theatre Program Celebrating 30 Years

CHARLOTTE (NC, USA)

June 23 - July 6

A. J. Lerner & F. Loewe BRIGADOON

VICENZA (ITALY)

July 7 - 21

A. Boublil & C. M. Schönberg LES MISÉRABLES

(Productions with Orchestra ensemble and costumes)

Special discounted bundles to participate in both USA and ITALY sessions

View complete program, dates, and audition information at www.ilasummerprogram.com

In collaboration with . ® International Lyric
AcademY 2024

Singers

DEMIE ANDERSON

Soprano

WESLY ANTHONY CLERGÉ

Baritone

LUCAS J. FAWER

Tenor

SHEA HOPKINS

Tenor

HENRY LOMBARDO

Tenor

ABBEY LORIA

Soprano

ABI MCKENZIE

Soprano

ELEANOR MORROW

Soprano

KATIE PFEFFER

Soprano

JAKE REHLING

Tenor

MADELINE TOPLIFF

Soprano

BEN

WEISS

Tenor

DEAN ZAVERDAS JR.

Baritone

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Musical Theatre

JULY 8, 2023 - 2 P.M.

Halton Theater, CPCC, Charlotte

CAST

Demie Anderson

Wesly Anthony Clergé

Lucas J. Fawer

Shea Hopkins

Henry Lombardo

Abbey Loria

Abi McKenzie

Eleanor Morrow

Katie Pfeffer

Jake Rehling

Madeline Topliff

Ben Weiss

Dean Zaverdas, Jr.

Director and Pianist

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OPERA CAROLINA YOUTH ACADEMY

OPERA IS SO IMPORTANT EDUCATIONAL

Music is a universal language. That’s something that’s said all the time, but it doesn’t make it any less true. It’s a language of emotions, of expression, of people. Music is in the lives of every person, no matter your race, language, and religion; no matter your life. In this sense, opera is the epitome of the language of music.

Performed all over the world in many different languages, opera reflects humanity. No matter the premier date, the main ideas of operas still stay true. One can walk out of a 2023 production of L’Orfeo having experienced the same human ideals and expressions as hundreds of thousands of others have since its initial performance in 1607.

While my love of opera started in the fourth grade when I was 9, my experience in its world started in 2019 at age 12. I had a voice teacher who was part of Opera Carolina who encouraged me to try for the Youth Academy Chorus. So I did. It was the best choice I could have made. I found my calling. My place. The experience of being on stage as the song starts, hearing everything around you and feeling it reverberate through the air, through the floor, through your very body and soul. It’s a life changing experience.

I then moved to the Youth Academy Summer Workshop for teens, which is completely dedicated to helping shape, grow, and cultivate young singers. It’s an environment where you’re surrounded by people with the same passion for music as you, learning from each other, helping each other develop, and forming important bonds and relationships that will continue to help you grow and flourish outsi de of the Youth Academy. In a way it’s networking, which is very important in working to get into a musical profession. You’ve now met, acquainted, and bonded with people going into the same industry as you. You have connections, which are crucial to have.

Besides learning from each other, you’re learning from professionals in the industry. That’s an important opportunity for young performers to have. You have someone who knows what it’s like to live your goals there to cultivate you. That’s an important thing to have, an experience that guides you not only now, but in future endeavors.

That is why the Youth Academy is so important and helpful for young, developing musicians. I recently had a chance to perform with the Academy Chorus again. It was just as incredible an opportunity now as it was then. Opera is so important. It provides still relevant commentary on society and power. It teaches lessons and reflects humanity. Being able to live and experience those stori es as a kid is a great honor.

The story of opera is the story of humanity. It’s a story that the world needs to hear. Most importantly, it’s a story that Opera Carolina’s programs manage to reach children w ith.

And that’s something to be proud of.

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Youth Academy Chorus, Puccini, La Bohème

CONTEMPORARY

SYA KOZINA

Asya Kozina is a creative focused on exploring the possibilities of modernpaper sculpture. Her interest as a professional artist lies in the field of cultural research, archiving and plastic expression of various historical, traditional and artistic representations. Unique and intricate designs require trying on, insisting on telling your story through limited edition photographs and prints.

The universal white paper is used not only as a tool, but also as a concept to help symbolize the historical process. The images of the Mongolian, African, Scythian, Venetian, Baroque, Modern cultures are easily recognizable and at the same time metaphorical.

A paraphrase of the modern understanding of history as a set of events, cleared of the signs of epochs, but often filled with modern emotions and value judgments. Since then, the artist has left a blank paper surface to be eaten by the viewer’s perception.

The plain white sheet works have become the artist’s signature mark. Asya believe that white paper allows for them to accent form and conceal secondary details. All of their pieces are crafted by hand, each unique in its own right, never to be replicated. This individuality forms an opposition to multiplying media images created with the help of digital tools, a representation of modern visual culture. At first glance, one may suspect some of Kozin’s works to be graphically designed through digital means. Happily enough, these projects have been left unaltered by present-day technology, a true representation of craftsmanship.

Visit www.asya-kozina.com

“The versatile white paper is used not only as a tool, but also as a concept which helps to express the historical process in a symbolic fashion.” (Asya Kozina)

for more information
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WHERE IN VICENZA

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Vicenza, ITALY Teatro Comunale di Vicenza (Main Hall) TCVI main entrance
in
I L A LOCATIONS
TCVI, small (Theather) Shopping
in Vicenza Dinner time
Italy

WHERE IN CHARLOTTE

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Fairfield Hotel Uptown Charlotte, NC Halton Theater at CPCC Central Piedmont Community College Tate Hall at CPCC Shopping in Charlotte
I
Lake Norman, waterfront dining
L A LOCATIONS

MAGIC MOMENTS

SEASONS 2022 AND 2023

GALLERIES

G. Puccini, Gianni Schicchi , 2022, TCVI Vicenza (Italy) G. C. Menotti, 2022, The Old Maid & the Thief • TCVI Vicenza (Italy)
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ILA 2022, G. Puccini, Suor Angelica • Teatro Comunale di Vicenza (Italy)

Orchestra rehearsals

Opera scenes

Masterclasses

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ILA 2023, J. Offenbach, Les Contes d’Hoffmann (rehearsal) • Teatro Comunale di Vicenza (Italy)
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ILA 2023, W. A. Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, Opera production in collaboration with Opera Carolina (Halton Theater) ILA 2023, Musical Theatre R. Rodgers, With a Song in my Heart
www.stefanovignati.net
STEFANO
VIGNATI
International Lyric Academy Artistic & Music Director Priscilla Baglioni - management -

Enjoy Opera, then relax.

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