Eleni Apostolis holds a Masters of Music in Opera from the University of Texas at Austin. During her graduate studies, she has performed the roles of Adina in Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, and Barbarina in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Eleni performed the roles of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro and Mme Silbertonen in Der Schauspieldirektor with the Austrian American Mozart Academy in Saltzburg, Austria.
As an undergraduate, she performed the roles of Adele, Constance Fletcher and Miss Pinkerton. Eleni made her concert debut with the Houston Sinfonietta this February where she sang the United States premiere of Kalomoiris' Magic Herbs. Ms. Apostolis has been invited to return for a performance with the Houston Sinfonietta this spring. This concert is an opportunity for Ms. Apostolis to continue her support of Greek music.
Christina Arethas was most recently seen in the role of "Magda" (La Rondine) with The Opera Company of Brooklyn. For this role, she received critical acclaim for a "fully realized" performance as well as for her "stylish and attractive singing, with glints of power". Prior to her engagement with The Opera Company of Brooklyn, Ms. Arethas appeared with the Sarasota Opera as "Rosalinde" (Die Fledermaus).
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Christina Arethas began her studies at Westminster Choir College from where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 1994. She then went to Manhattan School of Music where she completed a Master of Music degree in 1999 and a Professional Studies Certificate in 2000.
While studying at the Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Arethas performed three significant roles, "Mimi" (La Boheme); "Elettra" (Idomeneo); and "Gilda" (Talk Opera by Milton Granger, a New York Premiere). She was also a two-time soloist with the Manhattan School of Music Philarmonia, singing the soprano solos in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Francis Thorne's La Luce eterna, which was recorded for Albany Records.
Christina Arethas currently resides in New York City and studies with Anthony Frisell.
Ionas Artemou was born in Cyprus and after completing his military service he immigrated to the United States. He is a member of the Pancyprian choir where he has appeared numerous times as soloist and member if the theatrical group "Our Cyprus," where he has played and sang in various roles. He has also been associated with the Hellenic Music Foundation since November 2004 where he performed at the Foundation's 5th Annual Gala Benefit Concert "Athens 2004" dedicated to the spirit of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games of Athens, Greece. He has studied voice with baritone Dr. Constantinos Yiannoudes and has also performed as soloist in various cultural and ethnic events.
Mr. Artemou lives in Long Island with his wife and four children and runs his own business while he continues to pursue his passion for music and singing. His first CD album with some of the most beautiful Cyprian melodies has just been released titled "Musical Treasures from Greece".
The young dramatic soprano Olga Bakali was born in Athens, Greece, where she began her musical training as a pianist. At the age of fourteen, she was awarded first prize at the Greek Competition "Filon" for piano. It was at this time that her unique vocal abilities were discovered and she began serious vocal studies with Barbara Gavakou at the Glyfada Conservatory of Music in Athens, where, in 1991, she received her diploma with honors. She continued her studies under the noted Greek baritone Kostas Paskalis and Mme. Gavakou. A recipient of grants and scholarships from the European Community, she participated in master classes at the Athenaeum Cultural Center under the tutelage of such distinguished artists as Ileana Cotrubas, Jeanette Pilou, Luigi Alva, and Maestro Paskalis. In 1996, she received her second diploma in piano from the Greek Conservatory of Music in Athens, again with honors.
Olga Bakali was a prizewinner and scholarship recipient at the Francisco Vinas World Competition in Barcelona. In 1994, she represented Greece at the Competition for Wagnerian Voices, held annually in Bayreuth. She was awarded an artists grant from the Fulbright Foundation in 1996. This enabled her to continue her studies in New York with Benjamin Matthews. In 1997, an award grant from the Evangelos Simegiatos Foundation for the Performing Arts permitted her to continue her studies in New York where she is currently studying with soprano Mariana Christos.
During these years, her performing career blossomed. An early debut with the National Opera of Greece was followed in other theaters with leading roles in staged and concert opera. She also sang performances of Respighi's rarely staged Maria Egiziaca. Her 1992 debut at the Megaron Theater in Athens was in a fully staged Electra in which Hildegard Behrens sang the title role with the Dresden Philharmonic. In 1993, she debuted at the Athens Festival as the Priestess in Aida in a production that featured Maria Dragoni and Giuseppe Giacomini. In 1996 she sang in a concert sponsored by the Jose Carreras Foundation for Leukemia Research. Since her arrival in the United States, Miss Bakali has given a number of concerts, including a joint recital in New York with the bass Dimitri Kavrakos.
The summer of 1999 brought a great personal and artistic triumph with Olga Bakali's debut in South America. She was invited to replace Aprile Millo in performances of Carlos Gomes' rarely heard opera, Lo Schiavo. Under the auspices of the Opera Brazil, she sang performances of the lead soprano role, Ilara, at the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, and throughout the major cities of Brazil, including Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Belem, and Sao Luis. These appearances were coupled with a series of joint and solo recitals throughout Brazil.
She sang at the Greek National Opera in Nabucco in 2000 and participated at a benefit Gala for the New Jersey Opera. and appeared in more concerts in Greece, The United States and Brazil during the season 2001-2002.
Proclaimed "‚Ä¶.ravishing to the ear" by the Raleigh News and Observer, soprano Kimberley Bentley has triumphed in roles such as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Waltraute in Die Walk√ºre, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and the role of Mother in Hansel and Gretel which she performed with the North Carolina Symphony and Capital Opera Raleigh. A lover of contemporary opera and art song, Ms. Bentley has also sung in new works including the world premiere of J.M. Scearce‚Äôs opera Kitty Hawk, in which she created the role of Amanda Atheridge, and the world premiere of the opera Twelfth Night by Joel Feigin where she created the role of Countess Olivia. Future performances include concerts in New York City and North Carolina.
Kate Bony is considered one of the best interpreters of Greek popular music in Greece and a great recording artist. Her musical career spans countless appearances in TV and clubs such as Perivoli t'Ouranou, Plakiotiko Saloni, Pigi tou Rempetikou, Rempetiki Nihta among others and in theaters (Vempo, Dinotiko Theatro, Minoa and Noturno). She collaborated with many great artists such as the unforgettable George Ikonomidis, Aristidi Mosho, Manoli Daskalaki, the composers Mimi Plessa, Theodore and Thanasi Polikandrioti and others, and toured extensively in the United States, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Australia etc.
Born in Athens Greece and raised in New Jersey, Kate Bony begun composing her own music since she was nine years old. Her musical talent was recognized in 1976 at a Greek Festival where the great and unforgettable Sophia Vempo, who was the head of the committee, presented her with the Golden award. This resulted for her career to take flight. In 1980 she won another first prize in "NA I EFKERIA" and immediately she signed a recording deal with the great recording company LYRA.
Future recordings followed such as the album " Manolis Hiotis "TA OREOTERA TRAGOUDIA" - Kate Bony, her own music and lyrics PALI EDO. Many great singers have interpreted her songs such as Giota Lydia "MIA SPITHA SOU AKOMA", Stratos Dionysiou "EGO NA THIS", her daughter Teresa a young modern rising star singing a duet with the authentic popular singer George Margaritis.
She is currently appearing on her own Greek Radio Show at Hellas FM.
Seattle native, J'NAI MARIE LEWIS BRIDGES, is a young mezzo-soprano currently in her third year at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She discovered her gift for singing while she was a junior in high school and immediately began vocal training. Along with taking voice lessons, J'nai continued her piano studies, which started at the ripe age of five. For the past two summers J'nai was chosen to participate in the highly acclaimed Centro Studi Lirica summer program in Novafltria, Italy where she performed scenes from various operas and spiritual concerts. In the Fall of 2007 J'nai was cast as Dorabella in Mosart's Cosi Fan Tutte for the annual opera scenes at Manhattan School of Music. She will alsobe performing scenes from Giulio Cesare and Martha for the upcoming Junior Opera Schenes in May.
J'nai has an outstanding appreciation for all genres of music and an amazing work ethic. Every Sunday she section leads at Bethel African-Methodist-Episcopal Church in Harlem, New York where there is such positive reception to classical vocal music. Along with her love for opera, J'nai enjoys playing the piano, basketball, doing ceramics, and helping out in her community. She has been a tutor for different schools through America Read , a program to help the advancement of reading skills for children all over America. This spring J'nai will be featured as April Davis in Manhattan School of Music production of Street Scene by Kurt Weill. For this summer she was also accepted into Opera North, a highly acclaimed and prestigious young Artist program in New Hampshire. After receiving her undergraduate degree, J'nai plans to attend graduate school with a major in Vocal Performance.
Daniel Byerly is a 26 year old tenor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Relatively new to New York City, he has performed the roles of Nemorino in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore and Choni in Bekku's A Story of Three Women. He is currently preparing the roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. Upcoming engagements include performances of Handel's MESSIAH in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Lyric Soprano ELENI CALENOS was recently acclaimed by Houston Press for her portrayal of Cio-Cio-San in the 2008 production of "Madama Butterfly" by Opera in the Heights. She is a graduate of the Opera Institute at Boston University. Her performances there include the roles of Pamina in "The Magic Flute", Mimi in "La Bohéme", and the title role in "Suor Angelica". She also covered for the role of the Lady with the cake box in "Postcard from Morocco" for the Institute's 2007 production. Her other roles include the Countess in "Le Nozze di Figaro" with Houston Opera in the Heights, Fiordiligi in "Cos‚àö¬® fan tutte" with the Barbados Music Festival, and Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni" with the Martina Arroyo Foundation, for which she earned critical acclaim from the NY Times.
Born in Greece, Ms. Calenos received her first degree from Salonica's Municipal Conservatory, a diploma in cello performance. She obtained her master's degree in vocal performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where she performed the role of Vee Talbott in the New York premiere of "Orpheus Descending" by Bruce Saylor, and appeared as Mother in "Hansel and Gretel".
Her concert appearances include Verdi's Requiem with the BU Symphony at Boston Symphony Hall and with the Queens College Symphony at Colden Theater in NY, as well as "Mirologhia", by George Tsontakis with the Portland and Albany Symphonies. Recordings include "Mirologhia" by G. Tsontakis with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under the record label KOCH.
Ms. Calenos won the audience's favorite "Merle McInturff Award for Musical Excellence" of the Irma Cooper International Voice Competition 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. She is a winner of the Schyler Foundation Career Bridges Award, and received three scholarship awards from the Aaron Copland School of Music while studying for her master's degree. Upcoming performances include, Liu in "Turandot" with Boston Concert Opera, a return to Houston Opera in the Heights for the title role in "Manon", as well as a number of recitals for Greek cultural organizations of the United States.
Margarita Cassina, of Greek ancestry, hails from Houston, Texas where she was reared and educated. She attended the University of Houston where she majored in Voice. From Houston she went on to New York City as a scholarship student in the Opera Department at the Manhattan School of Music. Privately, Ms. Cassina studied voice with Cornelius Reed, Robert Weede, Ray Buckingham, and Erika Kothe; and studied acting with David LeGrant.
Ms. Cassina has had a wide variety of performing to her credit. From being a soloist at Radio City Music Hall, she went on to the Broadway stage, and sang in "Fanny," "Li‚Äö√Ñ√¥l Abner," and as one of the "Pick a Little Ladies" in "Music Man." Her employment in hit shows permitted Margarita to keep up her operatic studies and soon she joined the Goldovsky Opera Theatre to sing the role of Micaela in "Carmen". A contract with the Israel National Opera followed, where she became the Prima Donna of the opera. This was her first commitment in repertoire theatre. She sang sixty performances, among them Cio-Cio-San, Violetta, Tosca, Leonora in (Il Trovatore), Georgetta, and Juliette. Instead of extending her contract, she decided to return to New York; whereupon she was asked again to sing with the Goldovsky Opera Theatre, this time the role of Elvira in "Don Giovanni."
Returning to Houston as a hometown girl who made good, Margarita Cassina thrilled Houston opera-goers with her portrayal of Cio-Cio-San and later in the role of Floria Tosca. Shortly thereafter, a contract followed with the Buffalo Philharmonic to sing the role of Santuzza in a concert version of "Cavalleria Rusticana."
Ms. Cassina decided to return to Europe, again to work with a repertory theatre, trying new roles and singing many performances of them. After many auditions, she was hired to sing the role of Turandot in Aachen with the Stadt Theatre, and sang the role in at least twenty performances, then the roles of Amelia in "Ballo in Maschera" and Leonora in "La Forza del Destino."Back in the States again she was contracted to tour on the West Coast, with the Goldovsky Opera Theatre, this time singing the role
of Cio-Cio-San in "Madame Butterfly."
For the past eight years, Ms. Cassina has lived in Munich and in Vienna, singing in concerts and in churches; in between her busy schedule, she teaches young singers who want to embrace the music field and who will devote themselves to the development of this wonderful art.
Greek-American bass-baritone Michael Janaros Cofield is rising to the forefront of young professional artists with impressive enthusiasm. Having already gained substantial experience on the opera, concert, musical theater, and theater stages, Mr. Cofield triumphs in roles such as Verdi's Filippo II, Banco, and Ferrando. A true singing actor, possessing a voice which matches range and size with distinction, Mr. Cofield is equally capable in the spirited role of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirate King or the darker, villainous roles of Sparafucile or Offenbach's Dapertutto. He also appeared in the role of King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors at the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City on December 12, 2008.
A native of Rhode Island, Mr. Cofield holds degrees in Music and Theater (Education minor) from Rhode Island College and a Master's degree in Theater and Film from the University of Kansas. He is also an initiated member of the Omicron Pi chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America.
Hong Dai studied music at Tianjin Conservatory in China. He also studied voice at the University of Tel Aviv for 3 years. After graduation, he was accepted by the Central Opera House (currently called National Opera House) where he sang in productions such as Carmen (Don Jose), Pagiacci (Canio) as well as the Verdi Requiem. His repertoire includes arias from operas by Verdi and Puccini as well as Chinese songs. Future engagements involve recitals and master classes in several provinces in China as he has accepted a position in the Voice Faculty at Guangzhou University.
Mary Ellen Duncan makes her Carnegie Hall debut this spring as the soprano soloist for the Mozart,Vesperae solennes de Confessore, Vivaldi Gloria, and Beatus Vir. Additionally this spring, she is happy to be singing with colleagues from Decatur County and for the Decatur County and Southeastern Indiana Cultural and Arts Council. Upcoming engagements include covering the leading soprano role, Lucia, Riccardo Zandonai's La farsa amorosa to be performed at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.
Most recently, sang Gianetta in L'Elisir del d'amore with Maestro Anton Coppola. She also sang Gretel in Hansël und Gretel for New York Opera Project and was asked to return as their featured soprano soloist for their Opera Gala with the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Ms. Duncan was then featured on Greenwich Village Orchestra's "Best of‚Äö√Ñ¬∂.." compact disc recording for 2005.
Mary Ellen's first performance as Mimi in La boheme came with Dicapo Opera. It was with the same company she covered and stepped in at the last minute to sing Mrs. Murrant in Street Scene in which the New York Times commented that Ms. Duncan "acquitted herself well (Feb.20, 2002)."
Further credits include singing 1st Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, under the baton of Willie Anthony Waters, Curley's Wife as her professional debut in Of Mice and Men, opposite Gary Lakes, and Masha in The Music Shop all with Orlando Opera. She performed Luisa in the world premier of Bloodlines with Opera Omaha, and she sang Musetta with Commonwealth Opera in Massachusetts on their 25th Anniversary Opera Gala.
As a former Resident Artist of Orlando Opera (1998-2000) Mary Ellen had the opportunity to perform in a number of orchestra concerts the most exciting of which was the Orlando Opera Annual Gala Concert in 1999 featuring Jerry Hadley, conducted by Hal France. She was featured in two duets, Make Our Garden Grow (Candide) and One Kiss (Student Prince) with Mr. Hadley. During her tenure with Orlando Opera she covered Liu in Turandot, Marguerite in Faust, and Butterfly in Madame Butterfly, singing the title role in Butterfly for numerous educational outreach programs
Other solo concert work includes numerous performances with the Orlando Philharmonic, most notably the Millennium Concert with 25,000 people in attendance. In Lakeland, Florida she was the soprano soloist for Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Imperial Symphony. She sang on a concert of The Sopranos, with Opera Fordham., and a concert series of musical theater with Newberry Opera, SC and Hal MacIntosh.
Mary Ellen attended the International Institute of Vocal Arts, Chiari Italy in 1997 and Brevard Music Center in 1995. Other awards to her credit are Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Eastern and New England Regions in 2002 and 1997. She also placed in the National Finals of the National Association of Teacher's Singing Competition in 2004. She placed second and third place in the Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition in 2000 and 1999 respectively. She was a semi-finalist in the MacAllister Awards and Jenny Lind Competitions in 2001, and she was a finalist and a Judge's Award recipient for the Rehfuss Singing Actor's Tournament, Orlando, FL, in 1998 and 1999. Other roles Mary Ellen has performed list Pamina in Die Zauberflote, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Monica in The Medium, Dodo in The Merry Widow, Micaela in Carmen, and Novizia in Suor Angelica.
A graduate of New England Conservatory and DePauw University, she is originally from Greensburg, Indiana.
David P. France (born October 30, 1967) is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of David P. France Dance Company based in Basel, Switzerland and New York City. He is a visual artist, photographer, as well as entrepreneur, producer, promoter and an advocate of the arts. David began as a gymnast and continued his involvement in dance through the Arts House Dance Company. In October of 2001, David joined Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company in New York and performed with them for five seasons and served on its board in 2007. In addition, David has served as an Ailey Ambassador of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He is also a founding member of the Annenberg Guild of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. David graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.
Baritone Kian Freitas' recent roles include Schaunard in La Boheme and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Papageno in The Magic Flute with New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble, Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief at the Delphi Theater, and Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte, Ben in The Telephone, and Dr. Gregg in Gallantry with Cantiamo Opera Theater in New York City. Mr. Freitas was invited to create the role of Stephano in the world premiere of La Tempesta, an operatic adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest presented in Citt√† della Pieve, Italy. He hold a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego and currently studies with Franco Bertacci.
The tenor Matthew Garrett is a 2005 graduate of the prestigious Juilliard Opera Center in New York City. The 2009-2010 season featured him as Ferrando in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with the Jacksonville Symphony, and as tenor soloist in Orff's Carmina Burana with Tulsa Opera and Ballet, Mendelssohn's Paulus at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York, Mozart's Mass in C minor at Carnegie Hall with Musica Sacra, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Carmina Burana at Avery Fisher Hall with the National Chorale, Handel's Messiah with the Syracuse Symphony, the premiere of John Tavener's Requiem at St. Ignatius Loyola, Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Berkshire Choral Festival, Carmina Burana with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and Riverside Choral Society, Bach's St. John Passion with the Pioneer Valley Symphony, CPE Bach's Auferstehung und Himmelfaht Jesu with the Grand Tour Orchestra, and Britten's St. Nicolas with the Richmond Choral Society.
Recent seasons included leading roles at Scottish Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Connecticut Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, Syracuse Opera, Eugene Opera, Merola Opera, Miller Theater at Columbia University, and the Cincinnati May Festival. Mr. Garrett has also been a featured soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv, Basel Festival Orchestra, Arion Ensemble under Bernard Labadie, Ann Arbor Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and New World Symphony. He has presented solo recitals in Merkin Hall and Paul Hall in New York, including a complete Die Schöne Müllerin of Schubert.
Mr. Garrett was recently a World Finalist in the Montreal International Musical Competition. Other awards include 2nd Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Competition, 2nd Prize in the Eastern Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2nd Prize in the Dupont Voice Competion at Opera at Florham, and encouragement prizes from Opera Index, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and the Giulio Gari Foundation.
Operatic performances include Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Belmonte and Pedrillo (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Don Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Paolino (Il Matrimonio Segreto), Lensky (Eugene Onegin), Apollo (Orfeo), Jenik (The Bartered Bride), Imeneo (Imeneo), Zen (What Next, Carter), Soldat (Der Kaiser von Atlantis), Sam Sharkey (Paul Bunyan), Le Petit Vieillard (L'Enfant et les Sortilèges), Harry (La Fanciulla del West), the Prologue (Turn of the Screw), the wistful John Styx (Orphée aux Enfers), Little Bat (Susannah), Gomatz (Zaide), and Lysander and Flute (A Midsummer Night's Dream).
Past teaching engagements include three years as a Teaching Fellow in the Ear Training Department at the Juilliard School, and at the Metropolitan Opera as a music theory teacher to the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Originally trained as an orchestral conductor, he received a Bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1999, as well as the coveted Madeira Prize and Ron Nelson Prize for musical excellence. He earned a Masters degree in Voice from the Juilliard School in 2003.
The Greek-American Folklore Society is dedicated to the study, preservation and instruction of the history and traditions of Hellenic folk culture. We share our work with the public through stage re-enactments of traditional Greek customs, songs and dances, as well as through lectures, exhibits and workshops.
The Society activities encompass a wide variety of folk art traditions from all regions and islands of Greece, in addition to the communities of the Greek Diaspora past and present. The primary focus is on Demotic folk songs and dances, as these reveal both the spirit and materiality of their respective cultures of origin. In the lyrics, music and ritualized motion of Greek folk traditions, we see reflections of a people's history, spirituality and world-view. We discern aesthetic ideals which defined Greek communities of past generations.
We give special attention to old Greek communities lost or otherwise forgotten in the Balkans. Of particular importance to GAFS is the authenticity of the material it teaches and presents, which is accomplished through extensive research in the villages of Greece, as well as collaboration with prominent folk groups and organizations in Greece.
Our performance genre thus stands as a vital link between the engraved folk traditions and their contemporary expressions within radically different contexts. They survive not only in memory and legend, but in the dynamic structures which continue to shape the Hellenic identity and the communities of the Diaspora today.
GAFS was founded in 1983 by Apostolos "Paul" Ginis as a non-profit organization. Within a few years, GAFS became one of the most respected Greek Folklore organizations in North America. Mr. Ginis himself quickly became a recognized authority on Greek folklore and was often invited to teach, lecture and collaborate, not only within the US and Canada, but also in Greece, in such prestigious places as the Lykeion ton Hellenidon (Lyceum of Greek Women), the "Dora Stratou" Theater, the Society for the Dissemination of National Music etc.
Perhaps one of Mr. Ginis's most notable achievements is that he inspired many of his pupils to become actively involved in preserving and teaching our folk arts. Some of his pupils have gone on to found their own folklore groups, others learned how to play traditional instruments and/or sing while others still became interested in making costumes etc.
The Greek American Folklore Society offers instruction in folk dancing for dancers of all ages, abilities and levels, including special classes for children. During the classes the dances are put in their proper perspective through consideration of the historical background of each region, cultural influences and the significance of each dance in the village, especially in relation to religious or social celebrations and events, such as the Easter ceremonies or weddings.
GAFS frequently offers lectures, presentations, costume exhibitions, festivals and special events, such as wedding re-enactments, for the general public. In addition, it organizes special workshops and seminars in which acclaimed folklorists and teachers are invited from Greece and North America to present their work and pass on their knowledge and expertise to folklore enthusiasts.
The long-term plans of the Greek American Folklore Society include the formation of a Greek Folk Museum that would house a permanent exhibition of authentic folk costumes and other artifacts. The Museum would also include a library that would contain printed and audiovisual material and would serve as a source of information to whoever is interested in learning more about our heritage and folk traditions. www.emoreiro.com/GAFS/
Tenor David Gordon has performed recently with the New Rochelle Opera, the Liederkranz Society, ConcertOpera Philadelphia, and the Downtown Orchestra. Roles include, Jose (CARMEN), Don Alvaro (LA FORZA DEL DESTINO), Alfredo (LA TRAVIATA), Loge (DAS RHEINGOLD), Turiddu (CAVALERIA RUSTICANA), Male Chorus (LUCRETIA), among others. David made his New York City Opera debut in 2005.
Soprano, Lauren Nicole Haber, is of Greek ancestry from the islands of Piraeus and Symi. She recently created the demanding role of Lauren Kane/"Erica" in OperaWorks' original three act Improvisational Opera, Pride and Promiscuity. In addition to being an Artist in Residence, Lauren made her Carnegie Hall debut as Il Paggio with New York Lyric Opera Theatre. Ms. Haber performed Mimi's "Si, mi chiamano Mim√¨ and Donna Anna's "Non mi dir" from Mozart's Don Giovanni while attending the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute Program. She sang the third act quartet in the role of Mimi from La Boh√®me, while attending the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, Canada. Lauren is also a recurring participant in the Martina Arroyo Foundation Role Performance Seminar, where she recently completed the role of Donna Anna from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Other roles learned while participating in the Role Performance Seminar are Mimi from Puccini's La Boh√®me, Amelia from Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, the Countess from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, and Desdemona from Verdi's Otello. Her scene performances include Fiordiligi from Cos√¨ Fan Tutte, the Countess from Le Nozze di Figaro, and Donna Elvira from Don Giovanni. She has also enjoyed collaborating with the Long Island Youth Symphony on the soprano solos from the Mozart Requiem and Carmina Burana. Ms. Haber earned her Master of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2006 and her Bachelor of Music degree from C.W. Post, Long Island University in 2004.
CONSTANDINA HOMAYUNI, mezzo-soprano, is a 15-year old freshman at Long Island Lutheran Middle High School where she is part of the Youth group there. She has been singing for six years and attends lessons with her voice teacher Ms. Jin at the Manhasset School of Music. She has sung at various school concerts and last year she performed in her eighth grade musical, The Music Man. She also took place in this year's Division 4 All Country Chorus. In the upcoming months, she will be performing at Carnegie Hall.
Constandina, enjoys going to church regularly, practices photography and participates in interscholastic sports, such as the Track team, Cheerleading team and the Lacross team. Her dream is that one day she will become a professional vocalist and would also try photography or writing as a career.
FLORA KIROU, soprano, was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1991 and has been in the United States since 1992. At age 8, Flora started taking private lessons in piano and at age 10 she started participating for the first time in different choral ensembles including the St. Demetrios Choir and the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Youth Choir. It was in these choral ensembles that Flora discovered her passion and inclination in singing. At the suggestion of one of her choral directors she began to take private vocal lessons at age 12 at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Manhattan and has continued her piano lessons there as well. Wishing to expand her musical horizons, Flora also took classes in music theory, harmony and ear training. At age 14, Flora was admitted to the La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts where she is currently a junior. La Guardia High School has given Flora the opportunity to get valuable experience as a performer and musician. Currently, Flora is a member of the prestigious Senior Chorus at the school as well as a member of the Opera Workshop in which she is preparing to star as Yum-Yum in May 2008 school production of the Mikado. Flora is also a finalist in the Classical Singer High School Competition, the final round of which will take place in New York in May 2008.
Dionysia-Niovi Klavdianou, a native of Greece, has been trained both as a straight theatre performer and as a lyric singer and has worked on stages of Europe and the United States for the past six years. In 2001 she graduated from the Synchronon Conservatory in Thessaloniki "cum laude" won a "Special Prize in Musical Interpretation" and she was accepted to continue her studies in the Opera Program of the Maryland State University at College Park.
Ms. Klavdianou has been a recipient of the only "Opera Award" at Maryland for three consecutive years and is also a fellow of the "Alexandros Onassis Foundation" since 2001. She has collaborated a number of times with the Opera Theatre of the Rockies in Colorado, with the National Theatre of Catalonia (Spain) and the National Theatre of Greece. Roles that she has performed include: Mimi in La Boheme, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, Magda Sorell in The Consul, Agathe in Der Freischütz, and Tatyanna in Eugene Onegin among others. Future engagements for 2003-2004 include Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Alicia Ford in Falstaff.
Ms. Klavdianou is currently residing in the Washington DC area and is fluent in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. She also speaks Italian and French.
Theodore Lambrinos's career encompasses nearly 60 major baritone roles and he has performed with opera companies throughout the United States and internationally. His powerful voice and compelling stage presence make him one of the finest Verdi baritones appearing before the public today. Early in his career he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Herald in Lohengrin, and returned in 1995 to sing the title role in Rigoletto. "His gripping performance brought down the house" and he was hailed as the "Metropolitan Opera's A-Team." (New Jersey Star Ledger). Mr. Lambrinos has also been involved in the new Metropolitan Opera productions covering the leading baritone roles in Stiffelio, Simon Boccanegra, La Forza del Destino and Andrea Chenier.
In the 1999-2000 season, Mr. Lambrinos brought his gripping interpretation of Rigoletto for the historical first-ever performance of opera in Hanoi, Vietnam. He, then, sang the role of Barnaba in La Gioconda with Arizona Opera, and Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera with Nevada Opera. This was followed by an extensive tour throughout France and Spain with the Teatro Lirica d'Europa as Rigoletto, and he appeared with this company in Denmark as Amonasro in Aida and in the title role of Nabucco in 2000.
In the 1997 season Mr. Lambrinos was heard at the Metropolitan Opera as Amonasro with Sharon Sweet in Aida. He then traveled to Beinjing, China where he received ovations for his "compelling and faithful portrayal" of the title role in Rigoletto (China Daily), which "clearly demonstrated why the famous baritone performs regularly throughout the world." He then sang Germont in La Traviata, with the Arizona Opera, High Priest in Samson and Delilah with Nevada Opera, and 30 performances of Nabucco, La Traviata, and Aida throughout France, Spain and Switzerland, followed by Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in France with the National Bulgarian Opera.
Recent seasons have included the role of Roger in the New York premiere of Verdi's Jerusalem at Carnegie Hall. For the New York Grand Opera's Verdi Festival in Central Park, Mr. Lambrinos sang Egberto in Aroldo, the title roles in Macbeth, Nabucco and Oberto, Don Carlo in Ernani, the 1854 version of Simon Boccanegra and the original uncut version of La Forza del Destino. For Opera Quebec he sang Aida and Nabucco, and Scarpia in Tosca throughout France with the National Bulgarian Opera. Mr. Lambrinos performed the role of Emile de Beque in South Pacific in over 50 performances in Auckland, New Zealand and was invited to return in the title role in Don Giovanni. He was heard, on May 26, 1999, at Avery Fisher Hall in the "A Salute to the Hellenic Spirit" and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Far East performing in opera productions and orchestral concerts throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, India, Kuwait, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Africa.
A nativc of Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Lambrinos began his professional career as soloist with the famed Don Cossacks on their North American tour and gained extensive stage experience performing in musicals and on and Off-Broadway. Immediately after winning the Gladys Axman Taylor Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, he made his professional operatic debut as Lt. Redburn in the New York premiere of Billy Budd at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Sir Georg Solti.
CASSANDRA MARIE LAMBROS, soprano graduated in May 2006 with highest honors from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, with a BM in violin performance. She was a member of the Rutgers University and Sinfonia Orchestras and has been soloist with the Westfield (NJ) Concerto Orchestra and at the National Arts Club, New York City. While at Rutgers, she was awarded the James Bryan and Edna Noris Noe Scholarship three years and also received the Plainfield (NJ) Music Club Scholarship (2002 and 2003) and the Hickory Tree Music Scholarship in 2002. She has been soprano soloist for the First Presbyterian Church, Elizabeth (NJ), performed in recital for the Middlesex (NJ) Library and the South Plainfield (NJ) Cultural Arts Commission, and is currently soloist at the First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack, (NJ).
In February 2008 she was a guest soprano soloist in the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra singing works by Handel and Puccini. She recently covered the role of Giannetta (twice) for the Opera for Humanity benefit performance of L'Elisir d'Amore and performed in the chorus with the State Repertory Opera in Don Pasquale. In April 2007 she was named winner in the voice category of the Irving Ludwig Young Artists Auditions. In high school and throughout her undergraduate years, she was able to present recitals featuring both her singing and violin playing.
Cassandra studies voice with Amy Shoremount-Obra of the Metropolitan Opera and teaches violin and piano while continuing her orchestral activities. She teaches violin and piano and, in addition, she is a member of the New Jersey Ballet and the Serova Dance Company and will be appearing in recital the Spring of 2008.
Because of her Greek heritage, Cassandra undertook a senior music class research project to set up a website devoted to the Turks' historical, social, religious and nationalistic influences on Greek music during the occupation. Cassandra writes poetry and has a Shitzu and Maine Coon cat, both of whom are in their middle teens.
While pursuing her degree in violin performance, Cassandra was simultaneously studying voice. Upon graduation, she decided to devote most of her time to the latter. Her immediate goal is to enter a young Artist program, attend graduate school in the voice program, and gain more professional experience in the operatic field. Her long range goal is to sing opera and oratorio.
Iona Lampas, soprano, was born in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she has appeared in opera and concert throughout Europe and the United States. She has performed the major Puccini and Verdi heroines with The National Opera Co. Lake George Opera, Juilliard Opera, Hartford Opera, Palm Beach Opera as well as at Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. European critics (Italy, Germany, Bulgaria) have praised her with". . .fine vocal technique. . .gifted with a voice worthy of attention." The American press with "sings with power and lustre. . .she is capable of moments of rare beauty", an equally fine actress and singer".
Recent appearances have been as, Liú in "Turandot" and Ariadne in "Ariadne auf Naxos", and the title role of "Suor Angelica". She has sung Tatyana's Letter Scene from "Eugene Onegin" (in Russian) and excerpts from "Otello" along with her husband, tenor, Marko Lampas with the Staten Island Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Anthony Aibel and "Tosca" with the BMCC Downtown Symphony Orchestra.
On the Donnell Library Concert Series she has appeared along with her husband, as Adriana in "La Voix d'Adrienne Lecouvreur", a piece which she conceived and directed and in "Around the World in Opera & Song". In 2000/2001 she was co-Artistic Director of the Genesis Opera along with her husband Marko Lampas, presenting 5 performances of Puccini's "Suor Angelica" & "Il Tabarro" and 6 performances of Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos".
She and Marko teach voice in their Heraklione Studio in New York City.
Marko Lampas, tenor, is a native of Florina, Greece. He came to the United States in his youth and won scholarships from The Metropolitan Opera, Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School as a member of the American Opera Center. There his talents were fostered by the legendary Maria Callas when he won a scholarship to participate in her memorable Master Classes.
"Singing with Mme. Callas in the Master Classes was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life." The moments he spent singing the aria "A te o Cara" from Bellini's I PURITANI with her are an unforgettable treasure. It can be heard on his website www.millerlampas.com Mr. Lampas' temperament and dramatic skills make him a particularly gifted interpreter of Verdi and Puccini roles, which he has performed throughout the U.S. He salutes his heritage in Concerts of Greek Folk, Classical and Modern songs. In Athens, Greece, he sang in the Inaugural Concert, which opened the Civic Theater.
He toured South America where he sang Turiddu in Mascagni's CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA opposite Nicola Martinucci's Canio in a season at the Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition to his many operatic appearances are included excerpts from Otello with the Staten Island Symphony Orchestra, Cavaradossi in Puccini's TOSCA with many companies including the Pensacola Opera , and the BMCC Downtown Symphony Orchestra with his wife, soprano Barbara Iona Miller, as Tosca. He has also appeared with her in "La Voix D'Adrienne Lecouvreur," an encapsulated version of the Cilea's opera and in a series of Duet Concerts, "Around the World in Opera & Song."
Maria La Vita received degrees in: a) singing b) harmony and c) counterpoint from the Athens National Conservatory. As a member of the Greek National Opera, performed Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana. Additionally, she performed Nurse in Theodorakis Medea at the Herodus Atticus Theater. She participated at the "Millenium concert series" of the Hellenic Group of Contemporary Music, singing works by Yannis Christou, Theodore Antoniou, Koukos and Xanthoudakis and she recorded the "Symphony No. 1" of Yannis Christou with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia. She was a substitute and did all the preparation for the premiere of the Opera "Heleni" by Thanos Mikroutsikos at the "Megaron Concert Hall" in Athens.
She came in the United States in 1993 and she first studied voice with Richard Cassilly at the University of Boston and now in New York with Maria Farworth and repertory with Joan Dornemann from the Metropolitan Opera of New York.
She has been a member of "The Acquarius Opera Workshop" in New York performing the role of "Martha" in Gounod's Faust and attended seminars with Nico Castell, Christa Ludwig and Marilyn Horne. She appeared in recitals in Cremona and Ameno in Italy and last June she sang at Carnegie Hall in the Oratorio of J. Berkey "Come follow me".
Scott Lefurgy (baritone), made his New York City singing debut at the 2nd Annual Gala Benefit Classical Concert of the Hellenic Music Foundation at Merkin Concert Hall. Mr. Lefurgy has performed with Dicapo Opera Theater, Pacific Opera Company, and University of Michigan Productions. His roles include Marco (Puccini's Gianni Schicchi), Grosvernor (Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience) and Samuel (Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance). He also appeared in Pacific Opera's Great Moments in Music at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall as the featured baritone in five opera scenes. This summer Mr. Lefurgy will perform the role of Silvio (Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci) with Manhattan Chamber Opera.
Currently, Mr. Lefurgy sings with the St. James Schola Cantorum in New York City. His oratorio credits include Faure's Requiem with the Detroit Oratario Society and Durufle's Requiem with the 1st Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, MI. Mr. Lefurgy is an active recitalist and has performed art song and operatic recitals throughout New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, specializing in lieder and chanson. He is also featured on the recently released HMF recording Romantic Greek Nights with his wife, soprano Christina Rohm.
Mr. Lefurgy received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan in the Artist and Scholar Honors Program, where he was a student of Rosemary Russell and the winner of the Undergraduate Concerto Competition. He also completed a degree in biochemistry at Michigan and is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Columbia University.
Soprano Deborah Lifton, a native of New York whose parents are from Athens and Sparta, has performed extensively on both the operatic and recital stages. She most recently completed an apprenticeship with the Ash-Lawn Highland Summer Festival where she covered the role of Beth in Little Women. Her most recent recital appearance as part of the Trinity Concert Series included works by Schumann, Schubert, Rorem and Ginastera.
Operatic roles have included Susanna and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Catherine in the New York premiere of Mayer's A Death in the Family, Flora in The Turn of the Screw and the title roles in Haydn's Armida, Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne and Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortileges. Concert engagements have included the soprano solos in Mozart's Requiem and Vivaldi's Gloria. She is also the recipient of the Hellenic Times Scholarship which allowed her to study voice at Saltzburg College in Austria.
Ms. Lifton has collaborated in master classes and performances with such esteemed artists as Martin Katz, Phyllis Curtin, Elly Ameling, Marni Nixon, and Ara Berberian. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the voice department at New York University.
Jennifer Marcellana, mezzo-soprano of Greek-American descent and a native of Columbus Ohio, studied vocal performance at the Boston Conservatory and at Kenyon College. She has performed as a soloist with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and sang in the opening ceremonies of the 1998 Winter Olympics. She has also performed in the 50th Anniversary production of Peter Grimes at Tanglewood under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, as well as appearing in the 1996 documentary film, A Tale of Tanglewood.
Ms. Marcellana has performed as an ensemble member with the Boston Pops, the original Broadway cast Ragtime, and composer Stephen Flaherty. She has performed with Opera Columbus, with the Ocean State Lyric Opera Company in Providence, Rhode Island, was a guest soloist with La Orquesta Juvenil de Musica Nueva in Lima, Peru and has participated on promotional recordings for Bose Stereo Systems. Upcoming performances include appearances as featured guest artist with the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio, and soloist at the Columbus Arts Festival.
Ms. Marcellana enjoys teaching as much as she enjoys performing, and formerly served on the voice faculty at Emerson College (Boston). She currently teaches voice students at Kenyon College.
The Hartford, Connecticut native received his formal training at the Hartt College of Music at the University of Hartford. Mr. Martin made his professional debut with the Bel Canto Opera Company in Franchetti's Ruy Blas. A student of baritone Louis Quilico, he was a featured soloist in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera under James Levine.
Mr. Martin toured with the Houston Grand Opera as Frere Laurent in Romeo and Juliette. For two seasons, he sang the role of Porgy and Bess's Jake at England‚Äö√Ñ√¥s prestigious Glyndebourne Festival, a role he repeated in Goetz Friedrich's production of the Gershwin opera for Berlin's Theater des Westens. Awarded Stipendiat of the American-Berlin Foundation to the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he appeared in productions of Les Huguenots, Oedipus, The Makropulos Case, Il Barbieri di Siviglia, Il Trovatore and Beatrice di Tenda led by Fabio Luisi and recorded for Berlin Classics. The following year he was selected to attend the Munchner Singschul studying with Herr Kammersanger Josef Metternich and also as Stipendiat of the Richard Wagner Verband.
Winner of the New York Grand Opera's voice competition, Mr. Martin first performed for that company as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. He was a leading baritone during it highly regarded Verdi festival from 1994 to 2002, traversing such roles as Germont, Renato, Amonasro, Iago, Count di Luna and Rigoletto.
The versatile artist was soloist with the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic with Lukas Foss, and the New York Pops with Skitch Henderson. Winner of the 2002 Center for Contemporary Opera International Opera Singers Competition, Mr Martin and pianist and composer Andrew Violette performed together at Weill Recital Hall in a program of twentieth century music, introducing Mr. Violette's work, "Songs For a Dead Hero", a forty-five minute song cycle for baritone. Most recently in the premiere of A Se Stesso for baritone and orchestra by Peter Bellino with the Mannes Community Orchestra
This past season Mr. Martin appeared in Mozart's Gran Mass in C Minor and Bach's Wachet auf, ruff uns die Stimme with the Rockland Symphony, with the Kennett Symphony in a concert version of Porgy and Bess and with the Key West Pops Orchestra in Gershwin's rarely performed opera, Blue Monday. Other recent roles include Elijah with the Stockton Oratorio Society, Scott Joplin's Treemonisha and Emmett Till with Trilogy Opera Newark, and as Scarpia with New York Grand Opera. A frequent soloist with the Orchestra of St. Peter's by the Sea, he performed Verdi's Rigoletto and as Tonio in Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci.
Mr. Martin resides in New York City and studies with Joan Caplan at the Manhattan School of Music.
Angelo Mazzone is a graduate of the Crane School of Music receiving a degree in French Horn Performance and Music Education. Angelo began his Vocal training in Sienna, Italy, with the tenor Stefano Algieri. Upon his return to the United States, his pursuit of a career in opera began, working with such companies as Sarasota Opera, Tri Cities Opera and Opera Excelsior. Mr. Mazzone was the featured tenor soloist with the Victor Herbert Festival in Saratoga, New York. Angelo is a fine recitalist, delighting audiences at the Saugerties Pro Musica concert series. He was featured in a sacred music concert at St. Thomas's Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland. His voice has graced the Caramoor Opera Festival, as well as the International Vocal Arts Institute in San Juan Puerto Rico.
Angelo made his New York City debut with the West Side Opera Society singing the role of Robert in Donizetti's opera Roberto Devereux. He has recently worked with Opera Exposures delighting audiences with opera aria and duets by Verdi, Puccini and Donizetti and has recently returned from Augusta, Sicily, having the great honor of working with Marcello Giordani, world renowned tenor. In Sicily, Mr. Mazzone was the first recipient of the Marcello Giordani Vocal Competition. Angelo is looking forward to returning to Sicily, as well as performing recitals as part of the State University of New York at Albeny Concert Series.
The Metropolitan Greek Chorale is marking its 43rd season and can look back on an enviable record as a dedicated and innovative group of musicians. Established in 1965 in New York City, the Chorale is comprised of an all-volunteer membership from Greek communities and their friends in the greater metropolitan area. Since its 1968 concert debut at Town Hall, the Chorale has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and other major concert halls in the U.S. In 1977, at the invitation of the Greek government and under the patronage of His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos, the Chorale traveled to Greece for an exciting seventeen-day concert tour. In 1982, the Greek Theatre joined the Chorale in the premier production of George Tsontakis' Erotokritos in New York in a sold-out performance at Alice Tully Hall. Their 30th year was celebrated with the presentation of Mikis Theodorakis' Zorbas, and their 35th with a gala concert presenting a concert version of Gluck's Orfeo, both performances at Alice Tully Hall. In recent years, the Chorale has been participating in performances of Verdi's Requiem and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, both at Carnegie Hall with Vincent La Selva and the New York Grand Opera. In May 2007, the Chorale participated in a collaboration of The Verdi Requiem with the Mannes Community Orchestra, Peter Bellino, Music Director, the Arcadian Chorale, and the Richmond Choral Society, Marina Alexander, Music Director.
The Chorale is unique among its peers in its commitment to offering world and American premieres of the works of Greek, Greek-American, and international composers. Past concerts and premiere performances have featured: Kalomiris' Songs for Greek Children and The Mother's Ring; Theodorakis' Axion Esti; Tsontakis' The Byzantium Kanon, Five Choral Sketches on Is Aghios, Saviors, and Stabat Mater; Roussakis' God Abandons Antony; Antoniou's Eros 1; Hawley's Three Ancient Choruses; Kalogeras' On the Way to Seville; Constantinides' Antigone; and Vaughan Williams' Mystical Songs.
The Metropolitan Greek Chorale looks forward to continuing its tradition of musical excellence and cultural service while providing a forum for outstanding artists, especially from the Greek community.
Soprano Maryann Mootos will shortly be performing as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni [Regina Opera]. She has appeared uner the direction of Maestro Jeffrey Rink [Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Alan Aurelia [Riverside Opera] as a soprano soloist. She has also performed leading roles with Miami Lyric Opera, Chelsea Opera, Chorus pro Musica and Amato Opera. Roles include Marguerite, Nedda, Mimi, Micaela, Pamina and Violetta. Soloist roles also include performances with Temple University Orchestra and Chorus [ Philadelphia's Academy of Music], Reading Symphony Orchestra, Easton Chamber Orchestra, and Newton Community Chorus. Ms. Mootos was selected as a Finalist in Lakes Region Opera Company's Opera Idol competition in Concord, NH in 2008. She was also the recipient of the Maquis Award in the Emerging Professional Division of the 2006 Classical Singer AudComps Competition. In 2005 she studied and performed abroad in Spoleto, Italy with the Spoleto Arts Symposia. Ms. Mootos received a Bachelor's degree in Voice from the Eastman School of Music, and a Master's degree in Opera Performance from Temple University where she attended on a full scholarship.
Rodnie Nelson, tenor, was born and raised in Edmonds, Washington. He graduated in 1977 from Princeton University, where he performed with Triangle, the musical comedy organization, and the Tigertones, an a cappella singing group. For the next nine years, he built a career in international commodities finance that took him to Europe, South America and throughout the United States. At the same time, he began vocal and acting classes to serve his musical interests.
In 1986, he left the finance arena to devote himself to becoming a concert and operatic artist. During the past seventeen years, he has studied in New York and in Los Angeles with a number of teachers and coaches. He currently studies with Maestro Joshua Greene; Soprano Sonja Karlsen; and Maestro Juan Felipe Orrego-Benavente. He has studied with Cornelius Reid; Miss Margaret Hoswell; Maria Farnworth; Soprano Nova Thomas; Seth Riggs; and Madame Marina Koshetz. Recognizing that acting is a critical ingredient in any performance of music, Rodnie has studied acting with Robert Ravan, Ron Burrus, Caren Adorni and Donna Moryn. Rodnie currently studies acting in New York with Sam Schacht, the Chairman of the Acting Department of The Actor's Studio. He has studied Alexander Technique extensively with Jean-Louis Rodrigue, as well as with Jessica Wolf and Hope Gillerman.
A serious head injury in 1991 led to a plethora of health problems and nearly derailed his career. Various medical treatments and continued study enabled Rodnie to get back on track with the development of his career. He has been a member of AGMA since 1986. Performance highlights are a Croix Rouge (Red Cross) Benefit before Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg; a debut concert performance of a new orchestral/vocal/dance work at the National Academy of Science, UC Irvine; and the debut of "One Blade of Grass" by composer Jim Berenholtz. Composer Berenholtz has adapted a number of his compositions for Rodnie. Since 1989, Rodnie has performed numerous solo recitals with piano in Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as Carnegie Recital Hall (Weill Recital Hall) in New York. Future engagements will include solo recitals in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as San Francisco, Portland, London, Paris, Norway, Luxembourg and Caracas.
Rodnie, and his wife, Jean Smith, reside in New York City and in Santa Monica. Rodnie's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website, www.rodnie.com, although still "under construction," will note concert dates, recordings and other information. Correspondence can be sent to email@example.com or to Jean Smith, enspire management, 130 E 12th Street, #5B, NY, NY 10003.
Lina Orfanos is a 21-year-old Greek American soprano. She is a senior at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey majoring in voice. In 2000-2001 she performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir at Avery Fisher Hall and at Carnegie Hall.
Her singing career began at the age of seven with the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus where she performed in French, German, Italian and Russian operas. Later, she studied American musical theater at the Herbert Berghof Studios. During adolescence, she performed in Madrigals and the Jazz Ensemble of Montclair High School and the Montclair Operetta Club. Her solo debut was on June 5, 2001 at the Donnell Library Auditorium. She sang songs of the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. Her goal is to become an accomplished singer of classical songs and arias including Greek repertoire.
Lyric soprano Nicole Pantos performs opera, classical concert repertoire, as well as jazz. Ms. Pantos holds both a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Vocal Performance Certificate from Princeton University. She is currently a candidate for a Master of Music Degree at Manhattan School of Music where she studies with Ted Puffer.
Ms. Pantos recently appeared as "Grete" in Manhattan Opera Troupe's production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. In opera scenes concerts, she performed the roles of Pamina, Fiordiligi, and Leonora and also appeared in the American Repertory Ballet's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream singing First Fairy in Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music.
Ms. Pantos's concert experience is extensive -- she has soloed with ensembles such as the Russian Chamber Choir of New York City, the Metropolitan Greek Chorale, and the Princeton University Glee Club. She debuted numerous world premieres at composer concerts and offered many public recitals through the sponsorship of "Friends of Music at Princeton." A soloist in the a cappella jazz ensemble, Katzenjammers, Ms. Pantos toured internationally and performed at venues such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting.
Ms. Pantos has distinguished herself musically with numerous honors including an Aspen Festival Scholarship, membership in the TRI-M Music Honor Society, selection to the All-Eastern Honors Choir, and recipient of a Certificate of Excellence in the Westminster Choir College Piano Competition. Her academic awards include scholarship grants from AT&T, Tylenol, and the State of New Jersey. Formerly a grantee in the program, Ms. Pantos is currently advising the Women's International Leadership Program, an international organization that prepares outstanding women to be forerunners in their field of focus.
Mezzo Soprano Marissia Papalexiou was born in Athens, in 1977, and studied Law at the University of Athens. In 1996 she started her musical studies at the Conservatory of Athens (vocal classes of Kiki Morfoniou and melodrama classes of Kostas Paskalis), from where she graduated in June 2002 with unanimous A (excellent) and the "In memoriam of Philippos Nakas" Award.
From May 2000 to May 2003 she was member of The National Opera staff, during which period she also participated in concerts and recitals, while she performed as a soloist in productions of Athens Megaron such as R.Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten (Danish National Symphony Orchestra/DR, conductor Michael Schoenwandt), and of Thessaloniki Megaron, in G.Puccini's Madama Butterfly (National Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki, conductor Marcello Panni). She also participated in seminars organised by Ghena Dimitrova¬†and Elisabeth Vidal.
In 2003 she left Athens in order to continue her studies in Paris with Œïlisabeth Vidal, Michel Comande, Œúarie Therese Keller and Gerard Chapuis. The landmark in her musical studies and development, though, was her acquaintance with mezzo soprano Jane Henschel, whom she followed to Germany (Dusseldorf), and is still studying with her.
In she participated in opera performances such as Die Zauberfloete of W.A.Mozart, and L'enfant et les Sortileges of M.Ravel, she also gave recitals interpreting lieder, cooperated as a soloist in concerts (Requiem and Kroenungsmesse W.A.Mozart, The Messiah G.F.Haendel, Gloria and Magnificat A.Vivaldi, Stabat Mater G.B.Pergolesi, Nelsonmesse J.Haydn), and worked with several conductors, namely, Paul Kuentz, Jean-Yves Gaudin, Olivier Grangean.
In June and September 2006 she successfully appeared in the Festival of Nice in South France, interpreting the role of Carmen in G. Bizet's Carmen under the musical direction of Francois Magnier. In 2008 she collaborated with the Opera of Thessaloniki, in the role of Flora in La Traviata, under the musical direction of Loukas Karytinos, and she interpreted (world first premiere) seven one-act operas during a competition of composition and direction within the framework of the festival Pais Opera (conductor Constantia Gourzi).
In December 2009 she returned to Athens and interpreted the role of Maddalena in G.Verdi's Rigoletto (conductor Elias Voudouris), and in February 2010 the role of Suzuki in G.Puccini's Madama Butterfly,with Hui He in the leading role, under the musical direction of Loukas Karytinos. In spring 2010 she also participated in the World Premiere of Spyros Samaras'opera Tigra interpreting the role of Tigra ion Athens Megaron.In her summer projects are included a tour in Greece performing Tigra as well as a recording of the Tigra cd.
Soprano Katia Paschou made her Weill Hall Debut, as a winner of the Artists International Presentations Special Prize, in May 4 2008. The program included works by Brahms, Ravel, Poulenc and the world premiere "A Short Story" by Joseph Papadatos on poetry of George Koropoulis.
In July 2007 Ms. Paschou collaborated with the National Greek Radio Station, ERT Orchestra at a live broadcasted concert in Greek operetta works under the direction of the conductor Andreas Pylarinos.
In 2004 Ms. Paschou received the Onassis Foundation Scholarship and moved to the US, where she performs at various venues, while keeping in touch with her audience in her native country with concerts at summer festivals around Greece, such as Nafplio Festival, International Music Festival of Cyclades, Corfu Festival and Dimitria Festival.
Her repertoire includes the operatic roles of Musetta in La Boheme, Micaela in Carmen, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Violetta in La Traviata and Manon in Manon, as well as with the art songs and chamber music works of Brahms, Ravel, Schumann, and many contemporary composers. She has appeared in performance and concerts at the Herodioum Auditorium, Athens Concert Hall, Thessaloniki Concert hall, Lykabetus Theater.
From 2001-2004 she collaborated with the National Greek Opera Scene in the leading roles of Pamina and Papagena in the Magic Flute, Agathe in Der Freischutz, Cenerentola in La Cenerentola and Rosina in the Barber of Seville.
Born in Athens, Greece holds a BA in Theatre Studies from the University of Athens, School of Philosophy, and has attended master classes with Teresa Berganza, Costa Paschalis, Dalton Baldwin, David Jones, Joan Dornemann and Marilyn Horne.
Erika Pirl started dancing at the age of 3 in Puebla, Mexico at La Academia de Ballet Eugenia Flores. Erika took part in many summer dance intensives throughout the USA before furthering her professional dance training at the Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver, Canada. At Goh Ballet, from 2006-2009, Erika danced classical repertoire and works of international choreographers. In 2010, she continued her classical and contemporary dance training in Lausanne, Switzerland under scholarship. Currently, she has been performing with different companies in Switzerland: Compania de Ballet Octavio de la Roza, L'Avant Scene Compagnie, Compagnie Va-et Vient and David P. France Dance Company.
Michelle Pretto, soprano, is from New York City. Most recently (2009) she performed Strauss's Four Last Songs with the South Shore Symphony (Long Island, NY). In March of 2008, Ms. Pretto performed the title role in Turandot with the Lowell House Opera at Harvard University with the Harvard University Orchestra. Ms. Pretto's participation in the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) program in Graz, Austria, led her to study German, her fourth language. She won third place in their Meistersingerkonzert vocal competition with "Sola, perduta, abbandonata" (Manon Lescaut). She also performed selections from Fidelio at the Stefaniensaal in Graz. Back in New York, Ms. Pretto sang the role of Violetta (La Traviata) under the direction of Carmine Aufiero, and in scenes with the Prelude to Performance program under the direction of world-renowned soprano Martina Arroyo. As a resident artist with Dicapo Opera Theater (New York City), she performed Praskowia (The Merry Widow), Suor Dolcina (Suor Angelica), and Madame Lisette Raquin in the premiere of Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin. With the Centre Symphony Orchestra (New York City) she sang Mimi (La Bohéme). With the Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival in Massachusetts, she sang Marcellina and the Countess (Figaro) and Clotilde (Norma). Ms. Pretto has sung for dignitaries at the White House and for the Governors of New Jersey and Arkansas. Ms. Pretto's creativity and improvisational ability are on display in the feature film Slingshot. Her voice is heard in various commercials and hers is the voice for the doll "Bilingual Betty." She was heard via radio broadcast as a finalist in New Hampshire's Lakes Region Opera Company competition (2009). Ms. Pretto is the first ever recipient of a scholarship from The Muses Foundation. In December she will be performing Michaela from Carmen with Opera Feroce, in January, the role of Donatella from a new opera by Christof Bergman called Piazza Navona, in March she starts rehearsals for Antonia from Les Contes d'Hoffman with Regina Opera, all in New York. The dramatic soprano's current and prospective roles include Manon (Manon Lescaut), Suor Angelica, Leonora (Trovatore), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Butterfly, Elsa (Tannhäuser), Aida, and Desdemona (Otello).
Dante Puleio is a Jersey boy. He was a late bloomer and started dancing at 19. He trained in London at the Laban Centre, then transferred to Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, UK and finished school at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He joined the Limon Company in 2000, and took a hiatus 2 years later to experiment with his first love, musical theatre. He did some fun shows with some very cool people and got to tour the world while doing it. During this time however, he discovered his true love was still contemporary dance and rejoined Limon in 2008 with whom he currently teaches, tours, and performs. He would be nowhere without his endlessly supportive friends and family.
Singer, dancer, actress Irini Res, was born in Chios, Greece, sings in four languages and has been performing internationally. She has performed at popular mid-town clubs such as Don't Tell Mama, Le Bar Bat, and Dillons. She studied ballet, jazz and modern dance at Broadway Dance, Ballet Arts and Steps in New York.
Irini is an accomplished dancer and has worked as a principal dancer in various companies. She has also studied acting and musical theater at HB Studios in New York City. She has performed extensively in repertory companies where she played Anna in "The King and I", Alice in "I Never Sang for My Father", Shirley in "Shirley Valentine", Evy in "The Gingerbread Lady" and Celemine in "Misanthrope".
Christina Rohm has been called "outstanding" by Opera News and "fierce" by the Wall Street Journal. She has been hailed for her "exquisite conviction and emotion" and her singing has been called "indescribable in its impact, beseechingly powerful, yet humbling and heartfelt".
For the 2009-2010 season, Ms. Rohm sang the role of Harriet Mosher in Tobias Picker's Emmeline at Dicapo Opera in New York. This production also traveled to Szeged, Hungary in November 2009 as part of the Mezzo Opera Competition and was televised on Mezzo TV. In 2010, Ms. Rohm returned to Dicapo Opera to sing the role of Rachele in the world premiere of Francesco Cilluffo's Il Caso Mortara. Other 2010 highlights include Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly and the soprano soloist in Verdi's Requiem with Gateway Classical Music Society. Ms. Rohm was also a featured soloist in the "Bel Canto: Showcasing the Style" masterclass with Jane Marsh presented by the Metropolitan Opera Guild and performed several recitals of Spanish song with guitarist, Larry Del Casale. Upcoming performances include the title roles in Madama Butterfly with Bleecker Street Opera, an opera scences concert with New Rochelle Opera, Tosca with Regina Opera, and Ann Putnam in The Crucible with Empire Opera.
Other opera credits include Micaela (Carmen) with Treasure Coast Opera Society, Inc.; Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly) with Opera Company of the Highlands and Dicapo Opera Theatre (student matinee); Hanna Glawari (The Merry Widow) with Pineda Lyric Opera Company; Marguerite (Faust) with Regina Opera, One World Symphony, and Dicapo Opera Theatre (student matinee); Nedda (Pagliacci) with Rockland Opera and Riverside Opera; Mimi (La Bohème) with Cantiamo Opera and New York Opera Singers Association; Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus) with Little Opera Company of New Jersey and New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble; Leonora (Il Trovatore) with Regina Opera and One World Symphony; Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) with the New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble; Mother (Hansel and Gretel) with Liederkranz Foundation; Pamina (The Magic Flute) with Dicapo Opera Theatre and Opera for the Young; Vitelia (Clemenza di Tito) with One World Symphony; Claudia (Claudia Legare - New York stage premiere), Soprano (Opera Senza Rancor), Estrella (La Perichole), and Mother (Passion) with Dicapo Opera Theatre; and Alice Ford (Falstaff ) for Dicapo Opera Theatre (student matinee). She has also appeared as Ilia (Idomeneo) with Golden Door Productions; Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte) and Belinda (Dido & Aeneas) with Michigan Opera Works; Mrs. Gleaton (Susannah) and the Second Lady (The Magic Flute) with University of Michigan Productions; and Phyllis (Iolanthe) with South Suburban Opera.
Ms. Rohm recently made her debut with The Choral Society as the soprano soloist in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Other solo concert highlights include appearances with National Lyric Opera in the preview of Floyd's Susannah and in the Verismo Opera Scenes/Pagliacci tour, the world premiere of Stan Grill's chamber piece In Their Flight, Great Moments in Music in Weill Recital Hall with the Pacific Opera Company, the Hellenic Music Foundation Gala in Merkin Hall, and an opera scenes program for the National Opera Conference in Cincinnati. Oratorio credits include Faure's Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and Handel's Messiah, many of which were broadcast on WMBI 90.1 FM in Chicago. Ms. Rohm has toured extensively as a soloist with the Moody Chorale in England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan and is featured on several recordings including Handel's Messiah (Moody Productions), Light Everlasting (Moody Chorale), and Romantic Greek Nights (Hellenic Music Foundation). Ms. Rohm is also an active recitalist performing regularly with classical guitarist, Lawrence Del Casale.
Ms. Rohm earned her Master of Music at the University of Michigan where she was awarded a merit-based scholarship. She is also recipient of the Giardina Family Memorial Award for an Outstanding Young Artist; won 2nd Place in the Dicapo Opera Vocal Competition; won 3rd place in the Little Italy Soprano Vocal Competition; was a NATS winner in the Illinois district; and was a finalist in the Liederkranz Competition, the Center for Contemporary Opera's International Opera Singers Competition, the Career Bridges Competition, and the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera Competition.
For information about her private voice studio, please click here. (ChristinaRohm.com/lessons.html)
Alkis Sarantinos, was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. He earned a BFA in Music at Concordia University and has pursued lifelong private vocal studies with some of Canada's most reputable opera singers, including Huguette Tourangeau and Gabrielle Lavigne. Before moving to New York in 2007 to pursue opportunities in the opera world here, he spent several years as the leading tenor with the Montreal West Operatic Society, one of North America's oldest Gilbert & Sullivan repertory companies.
Another highlight was the lead tenor role in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte for the Orford Arts Summer Festival under the direction of the pre-eminent soprano, Rosemarie Landry, member of the Order of Canada. His upcoming appearances include the role of Normanno in Lucia di Lamermoor for Regina Opera at the end of November. He is currently studying with soprano Sherry Zanoth.
Heather Sarris a "full, bright soprano with a winning stage manner" said the New York Times of her Town Hall debut as Rachelina in LA MOLINARA by Giovanni Paisiello. The American Record Guide wrote, "Heather Sarris sparkled as the miller maid, and her bright, flexible soprano kept Paisiello's lyrical melody lines airborne and animated".The Washington Post reviewed Heather as "an amazing Musetta, wicked, teasing, sexy and phenomenally lyrical" while touring as Musetta in LA BOHEME with the American Opera Company.
Singing her first Violetta in LA TRAVIATA for the NJ Verismo Opera, Heather was reviewed by the Harrison Independent stating that she "performed Verdi's work to perfection. Violetta's beautiful coloratura renditions of the well known arias were flawless"
Heather has also sung the title role of SUSANNAH in Carlisle Floyd's tragic opera in the Central City Opera's youth performance as well as Madeline in the FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR. She has sung with the Sarasota Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis as well as the Opera Theater of Connecticut.
A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Heather received outstanding reviews as Beatriz in the New York premiere of Daniel Catan's LA HIJA DE RAPPACCINI (The New York Athletic Club - "Beatriz sung handsomely and acted with appropriate passion and mystery by soprano Heather Sarris") and starred opposite Spiro Malas in the MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR while obtaining her MM degree.
Ms. Sarris made her New York City recital debut at Florence Gould Hall singing Soulima Stravinsky's CHANTEFABLES, which was broadcast over National Public Radio. The New Jersey School of the Arts touring northern Germany with the Bremen Orchestra funded her European debut. Ms. Sarris can be heard as Christine on the critically acclaimed recording of MISS JULIE by Ned Rorem released on Newport Classics.
Upcoming engagements for Ms. Sarris include Gilda with Treasure Coast Opera as well as the roles of Genovieffa in SUOR ANGELICA, Mimi in LA BOHEME and MANON.
Timothy Sarris, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. His operatic debut was with the Wolftrap Opera Company in Don Giovanni as a baritone. While attending Curtis, he was chosen by Gian Carlo Menotti to sing the lead in Amelia Goes to the Ball at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
In 1989, he made his New York City recital debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall as soloist in Ned Rorem's Mourning Scene. Timothy, then, returned to the Wolftrap Opera Company in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Love for Three Oranges. Subsequently, he performed leading operatic baritone roles with Opera Pacific, Sarasota Opera, Central City Opera, Caracas Opera, L‚Äö√Ñ√¥Opera de Montreal, and the San Francisco Opera. In addition, Timothy toured with the San FranciscoWestern Opera Theatre as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. His next foray into operetta and the zwischenfach repertoire was as Danilo in The Merry Widow with Connecticut Opera.
Timothy made his official tenor debut as Rodolfo in La Boheme with Orchestra X of Houston. Immediately following his performances there, he sang Tamino in The Magic Flute with Commonwealth Opera and the role of Fernando in Goyescas by Granados with the Monmouth Civic Chorus. He then returned to the Calgary Philharmonic for Rimsky-Korsakov's Mozart and Salieri, following his success there during the previous season as The Celebrant in Bernstein's Mass. He then sang Alfredo in La Traviata to critical success for the Verismo Opera Company, and was tenor soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah for the Fairfax Choral Society.
On the concert stage, Timothy has performed with the San Francisco Symphony,Savannah Symphony, Smithsonian Chamber Players, Louisville Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony and The Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia under the direction of Maestro Max Rudolf. Most recently, he made his tenor debut at Avery Fisher Hall in a Tribute to the Hellenic Spirit with Ted Lambrinos and Maestro Anton Coppola. Mr. Sarris also premiered and recorded Ten Inventions by Dimitri Mirtopoulos at Merkin Hall. In a live telecast sponsored by the Mexican Cultural Institute of America, Timothy performed highlights from La hija de Rappacini by Daniel Catan on Mexican Public Television.
Mr. Sarris is a winner of the National Society of the Arts and Letters Competition and the Mario Lanza Voice Competition.
Since his 2003 tenor debut, Christian Sebek has been recognized for his powerful and lyric spinto. The New York Times praised him as "possessing a marvelous voice," while the Houston Chronicle extolled his Rodolfo "His singing was full of visceral excitement." In a production of Il Trovatore the Chronicle also proclaimed his Manrico as sung with "stentorian authority, with clarity, forcefulness and ring that were the standard for others to meet or miss."
In 2003, Mr. Sebek created the lead role of Nathanael in Thomas Cabaniss's Off-Broadway, contemporary opera The Sandman. Later that year he debuted as Cavaradossi in Tosca with Opera Idaho. Over the past few years Mr. Sebek has performed Radames in Aida and Calaf in Turandot with Boheme Opera, Rodolfo in La Boheme with Center City Opera Theater, Opera in the Heights and Opera Western Reserve. Additional credits include the title roles in Otello and Samson et Delilah with One World Symphony, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly with The Treasure Coast Opera and Center City Opera Theater, Canio in Pagliacci with Opera Western Reserve and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana with Opera Company of the Hamptons and The Chelsea Opera, Alfredo in La Traviata and Manrico in Il Trovatore. Mr. Sebek has also performed several supporting roles while apprenticing at Sarasota Opera and Central City Opera. Recently he performed Luigi with Mercury Opera in Edmonton, AB to rave reviews and sang the role of Romeo in Gounod's Romeo and Juliette in concert at Weill Hall with the New York Lyric Opera Theatre.
This summer Christian will sing the role of Calaf with New Rochelle Opera. Last Easter, Mr. Sebek performed the role of the Shepherd in Andrew Miller‚Äö√Ñ√¥s The Birth of Christ for the Vatican. The performance recorded for DVD starred Jim Caviziel, Michael York, and Lou Gossett Jr. In concert, Christian ‚âà‚Ä†ebek has performed at Carnegie Hall on several occasions including a concert at Zankel Hall with One Bright World to benefit Liberian Educational Relief and at Weill Hall in concert of Italian Operas. He has performed with the Greenwich Village Orchestra in a Celebration of Jewish Stories in Opera. Mr. Sebek was the tenor soloist at Carnegie Hall in Mid America's production of Handel's Messiah. Mr. ‚âà‚Ä†ebek has been the featured soloist in major choral works with orchestras around the metropolitan New York area, including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and Kurt Weill's Requiem with West Park Symphony.
Mr. Sebek currently lives in Northern New Jersey and continues his studies with Metropolitan Opera's Robert Cowart. He has received numerous awards including NATS, Gerda Lissner Foundation and was the recipient of the Birgit Nilsson award while attending Manhattan School of Music
Kristina A. Semos is a proud Greek-Texan, originally from Dallas. Her operatic repertoire includes such roles as Gilda, Lucia, Marguerite, Mica‚àö¬¥la, Violetta, Lauretta, Cunegonde, Musetta, Zerlina, and Die Königen der Nacht. She has performed with several companies, including Regina Opera, Opera Manhattan, Chelsea Opera, Amore Opera, Espresso Opera, Brooklyn Repertory Opera, Opera Lirica in Orvieto, St. John's Performance Series, and Westchester Vocal Institute. Most notable performances from outside the operatic realm include singing the Fashion Week Runway Show of Elisa Jimenez, Project Runway contestant, and for Brooklyn Fashion Weekend.
So far in 2010, Ms. Semos made her Merkin Hall debut, singing the world premier of a song cycle by Greek-Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. She also sang the role of the Queen of the Night in Amore Opera's production of The Magic Flute. This November, she will perform the role of Musetta in Opera Manhattan's production of La Bohéme.
Alexandra Skendrou made her singing debut at the Lourideio Foundation Cultural Institute in Athens, Greece. She holds a Masters Degree from the Mannes College of Music and a Soloist's Diploma from the Athenaeum Conservatory, Athens, Greece. Ms. Skendrou is a recipient of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation Award, and the New York Foundation for the Arts Scholarship, among others. She has appeared in recital at the Bruno-Walter Auditorium, Merkin Concert Hall, the National Arts Club and the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, among others.
Ms. Skendrou's operatic debut as The Minister in the U.S. premier of Robin Berger's opera Kantan was at the Kaye Playhouse with the Harmonia Opera Company. Since then she has appeared as Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Marcellina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Mercedes in Bizet's Carmen, and Peep-Bo in Gillbert & Sullivan's Mikado at the Amato Opera Company. Other appearances include roles in Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate at the National Hellenic Opera House, the U.S. premier of Mikis Theodorakis' Electra at Carnegie Hall and the US. Premier of Oresteia by Iannis Xenakis at Miller Theatre- The Columbia University in New York City.
As an international soloist Ms. Skendrou has participated in the Musikdorf Festival der Tonkunst in Ernen, Switzerland where she appeared in recital at St. George Roman Catholic Church, and the Tellenhaus. A native of Greece, Ms. Skendrou is involved with several Greek-American organizations that promote Hellenic culture. On 2008 she performed a recital dedicated to the memory of Maria Callas in the inaugural festival Greek-American Performing Arts at the Queens Theatre in the Park. On 2005 she was a featured soloist in the Greek Cultural Center's Inaugural Concert titled "A Tribute to Manos Hadjidakis," and sang in recitals at the Festival of Arts & Letters at the Greek Cultural Center of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. She has also participated in an honorary concert for his Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Her recordings include Music for the Theater by the Greek composer Sotiris Melissis, Romantic Greek Nights and Great Musical Hits of Greece with the Hellenic Music Foundation.
ALEXIA E. SKIADAS is fifteen years old and has been taking voice and piano lessons for six years. In addition, she plays the violin for her school orchestra and the organ for her church. She is involved with GOYA, plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse. She loves visiting her family in Greece in the summer and learning the latest Greek and American pop songs on the piano. Alexia is an "A" student, computer savvy, and loves to read. Her passion is music and hopes to pursue and continue in college in the music field.
Recognized for her "beautiful, warm voice with a secure and soft top and a powerful low register" (Basler Landschaftszeitung, Switzerland), Carla López-Speziale has enjoyed a distinguished career in opera, zarzuela and as a concert artist. She has appeared with the Bellas Artes Opera, the Grand Theatre de Genève, the International M√∫sica y Escena Festival and the Domingo-Embil Zarzuela Company in her native Mexico; at Weill Recital Hall and the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the New York City Opera National Company, Amigos de la Zarzuela, Family Opera Initiative and Caramoor Opera in New York; Golden Gate Opera and West Bay Opera in California, Da Corneto Opera in Chicago, Opera Providence in Rhode Island, Utah Festival Opera and the Hangzhou Opera (China).
A notable Carmen, Ms. Lopez-Speziale has performed this role in the United States at the Marin Center in California, in Mexico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Teatro de la Ciudad in Coatzacoalcos and Teatro del Estado in Xalapa, Veracruz, Centro Cultural Paso del Norte in Ciudad Ju√°rez, Chihuahua, and China at the Hangzhou Theater. She has also appeared as Dalila (Samson et Dalila), at the Clavijero Theater in Veracruz, La zia principessa (Suor Angelica), at the Angela Peralta Theater in Mazatlán, Isabella (L'italiana in Algeri), the Old Lady (Candide) and Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice) at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City as well and the Ellen Eccles Theater in Utah, Mitrena (Vivaldi's Montezuma) and Jo (Little Women) at the Teatro de la Ciudad in Mexico City, and Baba the Turk (The Rake's Progress), The Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) and La abuela (La vida breve) at the Lucie Stern Theater in California. She also sang the roles of Siegrune in Die Walk√ºre, and the Second Norn and Flosshilde in Götterdämmerung in the first Mexican production of Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. In 2005 she was featured in the world premiere of Dazzi's En susurros los muertos in Mexico City at the Covarrubias Theater, as well as its European premiere the following year in Basel at the Basel Pr√§diger Kirche, Mulhouse at La Filature Scene Nationale, and Strasbourg at the Eglise reformee du Bouclier.
Ms. López-Speziale's concert performances include appearances with the main orchestras in Mexico: the Orquesta Sinfónica de Miner√≠a, the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional, the Orquesta Filarm√≥nica de la UNAM, the Orquesta Sinf√≥nica del Estado de México, the Jalisco Philharmonic, the Sinaloa Symphony, the Guanajuato Symphony, the Nuevo León University Symphony, the Xalapa Symphony, the Mozart/Haydn Festival Orchestra, the Camerata de las Americas, La Serenissima (UK) I sonatori della gioiosa marca (Italy), and the Ensemble Pi and the Orchestra Celebrate! in New York City , the Shanghai Philharmonic in China, the Palermo Symphony in Italy, and the Orchestra of New Spain in Texas.
Some of her most remarkable performances include Mahler's Second and Third Symphony, R√ºckert Lieder, Kindertotenlieder and Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, Handel's Messiah, Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus and Dixit Dominus RV 807, and J. S. Bach's B Minor Mass, Magnificat and St. Matthew and St. John Passions with a host of conductors, including Enrique Diemecke, Eduardo D√≠azmuñoz, Paul Hostetter, Carlos Miguel Prieto, José Luis Castillo, Guido Maria Guida, Enrique Patr√≥n de Rueda, Teresa Rodr√≠guez, Pablo Zinger, David Rosenmayer, Marco Zambelli, Enrique Bátiz, Gerard Oskamp, Francesco Fanna, Adrian Chandler, Ronald Zollman, Jean Paul Penin and Jorge Mester.
Ms. López-Speziale has been awarded top prize awards in the Vincenzo Bellini Competition in Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the New York District, and the "Carlo Morelli" Competition in Mexico City. Ms. López-Speziale holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the National Conservatory in Mexico and as a Fulbright fellow, received both Master of Music and Doctor in Musical Arts Degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.
Ms. López-Speziale currently resides in New York City where she maintains a private teaching studio in addition to traveling to Mexico City to teach private classes. In 2004 she recorded Soirée musicale with works by Rossini with pianist Sergio V√°zquez for URTEXT Digital Classics. In 2011, Ms. L√≥pez-Speziale will sing De Falla's El amor brujo in Mexico City with the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra under Maestro José Luis Castillo, and Mahler's Eighth Symphony under Maestro Enrique Diemecke with the Bogot√° Philharmonic and under Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto with the Miner√≠a Symphony in Mexico City.
Hailed by The Washington Post as “A lithe soprano...especially clean and well modulated”, TAMI SWARTZ is an “American Soprano” with a varied career in opera, theater, new music and jazz. Opera roles include Butterfly, Gilda, Musetta, Heloise (in Offenbach’s Bluebeard) and Lúthien (in Leithian by Adam Klein) at Connecticut, Connecticut Grand, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, Metro Lyric, Harrisburg Opera companies and The Liederkranz Foundation. Theater credits, Off-Broadway and Regional, include: Tuptim and Lady Thiang in The King and I, Polly Peachum and Polly in Beggar’s Holiday (Duke Ellington) and The Threepenny Opera, Cunegonde in Candide and Sharon in Master Class with Music Theater of Wichita, East Carolina Summer Theatre, York Theatre Company, Caldwell Theatre Company and Harrisburg Opera Association. New music and jazz performances include concerts with world class jazz musicians Ray Anderson, Al Grey, Christian McBride, Chris Potter, Valery Ponomarev, Ted Rosenthal and Randy Sandke at the Bern Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Greenwich House and in jazz clubs across the United States. She holds Masters and Bachelors degrees from The Juilliard School and Northwestern University respectively and currently resides in New York City with her husband, tenor and renaissance man, Adam Klein. Visit her website at: http://www.tamiswartz.com.
Angeliki Theoharis, mezzo-soprano, has been described by critics as a singer with "untiring stamina" who "shows her dark tone to great effect." Of her Jordan Hall performance in Il Trovatore, the Boston Globe wrote: "As Azucena, the gifted mezzo Angeliki Theoharis ground out her hair-raising chest notes and nailed her top ones with courage and thrilling beauty."
The Boston Herald lauded her performance in Cavalleria Rusticana: "As Santuzza, the heroine of Cavalleria, Theoharis displayed a voice like a canon, capable of launching one big, solid note after another, and created a largely sympathetic character."
In May, 2000, Ms. Theoharis made her Carnegie Hall debut. She has sung principal roles for NY Touring Concert Opera, New York Opera Forum, NYC Hellenic Music Foundation, Lowell Opera, Operesque Classical Concerts of NYC, Commonwealth Opera, Salisbury Lyric Opera, Longwood Opera, Brookline Opera, Cambridge Chamber Opera, Bosdton Bel Canto Opera and Boston Academy of Music. With BAM, she recorded a selection of Amy Beach songs with pianist Virginia Eskin. Ms. Theoharis has appeared as Eboli in Don Carlo opposite Jerome Hines. Her other roles have included Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Frugola, La Principessa and Zita in Il Trittico, Laura in La Gioconda, Fricka in Die Walk‚àö¬∫re, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Maddalena in Rigoletto, and the title role in Carmen. She has a CD available for purchase.
Upcoming roles include The Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Adalgisa in Norma. Ms. Theoharis is also a featured soloist with The Hellenic Music Foundation of NYC.
Anna Tonna has been heard in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with opera Illinois, NJ State Opera and Roundtop Music Festival, in Cavaleria Rusticana with New York Grand Opera, New Rochelle Opera and NJ Association of Verismo Opera, in Le Nozze di Figaro, in Leocanvallo's La Boheme, in Capuletti ed I Montecchi with the Roundtop Music Festival, in Madama Butterfly with Teatro Nacional de Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), in Albeniz's Magic Opal at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, as well as in Cosi fan Tutte and La Cenerentola in Madrid. She has sung North American premiere's of Paissiello's La Molinara in NY's Town Hall, Vivaldi's La Griselda and Rossini's L'Equivoco Stravagante, as well as Zandonai's La farsa amorosa, Giordano's Il re and Mascagni's Guglielmo Ratcliff, both in Teatro Grattacielo at Lincoln Center.
ELENA TOUMARAS was born in New York in 1989 and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. She is currently a freshman at the Macaulay Honors College at NYU and plans on majoring in Nutrition and Music Performance, and minoring in Greek Studies.
Elena began singing at a young age at the Greek Afternoon School of Saint Nicholas and took part in all of the concerts of Ergastiri Ellinikis Mousikis at the Hellenic Cultural Center (2003-2005). In 2005, she performed in The Greek Cultural Center's concert "A Tribute to Manos Hadjidakis" at LaGuardia Community College. In addition, since the age of 15, she has had the opportunity to perform at numerous concerts with Grigoris Maninakis and his band "The Mikrokosmos Ensemble" at the Hellenic Cultural Center.
CONSTANDINOS TSOURAKIS, bass, is a proud Greek-American. His parents are from Nisyros and Fourni, Ikaria. Constandinos has been an aspiring musician from a very young age. He began performing in elementary school in music festivals and drama works, and continued performing throughout his junior high school years, as part of the Intermediate School 10 Chorus. He successfully auditioned for Tony Bennett and the Exploring The Arts Foundation to be a part of the first four year graduating class of the Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts, where he graduated in 2005.
He is currently a member of the Collegiate Chorale, a non-profit choral organization in New York City. Performances include concerts at the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Rose Hall at Lincoln Center, and various venues across the city. As a member of the chorale for the past four years, he has performed with artists such as Deborah Voigt, James Morris, Marcello Giordani, Barbara Frittoli, Barbara Boney, Aprile Millo, Dolora Zajick and Bryn Terfel, under the baton of Robert Bass. Constandinos has also performed with the chorale at the Verbier Music Festival in Verbier, Switzerland in 2006 and 2007, conducted by James Levine and Manfred Honeck.
Constandinos attends the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, where he is in his 3rd year of studies toward a bachelor of music degree in Vocal Performance/Opera Studies. There he has appeared in performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors (Balthzaar) and Cosi Fan Tutte (Don Alfonso), as well as in opera scenes from The Abduction from the Seraglio (Osmin), Don Pasquale (Don Pasquale) and The Magic Flute (Sarastro). This season he is appearing in Purchase Opera's New York Premiere of Lee Hoiby's The Tempest, where he will be performing the roles of Stephano and Courtier.
Constandinos is a member of the Board of the Nisyrian Youth Organization, promoting interaction between Nisyrians and other Dodecanese youth as well as learning Hellenic culture, history and music. He is fluent in Greek and English and can also speak Italian, German and French. His interests include sports and jazz, music theatre and opera, as well as Greek folk and popular music. His goal is to pursue music as a career and someday be able to showcase his talents on a professional level in Greece.
Marcelle Wheeler, soprano, a native of New York from Greek parentage, attended Suffolk Community College and Long Island University. She served on the board of the Archdiocesan District Federation for three years and was a choir conductor at the Assumption in Pt. Jefferson for three years. She is currently the organist at St. John's in Blue Point.
Soprano Olga Xanthopoulou was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1980. At the age of 15 she started her studies in classical singing at the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki. In 2000 she entered the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki and in 2003 the State Opera School of Thessaloniki where she sang opera roles such as Funny in Rossini's "La Cambiale di Matrimonio", Serafina in Donizetti‚Äö√Ñ√¥s "Il Campanello di Notte", Vitellia in Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito". In 2006 she graduated with excellent grades.
In 2004 after a workshop in Orvieto, Italy she was selected to sing Despina in Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte". In 2005 she sang Papagena in Mozart's "Magic Flute" and Lenio in Martinu's "Greek Passion" (Hellenic premiere) with the Opera of Thessaloniki. For her performance the Martinu's foundation in Prague wrote: "Lenio (Olga Xanthopoulou) made a favourable impression with her pleasant singing as well as her acting...)
In 2008 again with the Opera of Thessaloniki she performed the role of Nedda with the famous Russian tenor Nikolai Baskov and the famous Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos in Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci" For her performance the Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia wrote: "Olga Xanthopoulou sang the part with a precise and touching way..."
Olga has participated in master classes with famous singers such as Ghena Dimitrova, Kostas Pashalis, Elizabeth Vidal and Aris Christofelis. Since October 2006 she is in New York studying with the vocal teacher of Juilliard School of Music Lorraine Nubar and the coach from The Metropolitan Opera Steven Crawford.
Baritone Constantinos Yiannoudes has thrilled audiences throughout America with his dramatic and insightful portrayals of some of opera’s most beloved characters and most hated villains. Commanding presence, powerful voice, consummate grasp of portrayal, polished and poised artist, understated comic flair, and noble sound are just a few phrases the press has used to describe his performances.
The versatile artist’s extensive repertoire includes the title roles of Rigoletto, Macbeth, Don Giovanni,Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Gianni Schicchi, as well as Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Il Conte d' Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Escamillo in Carmen, Ford in Falstaff, Germont in La Traviata, Jago in Otello, Marcello in La Bohème, Michele in Il Tabarro, Scarpia in Tosca, Horace Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe and Tonio in I Pagliacci.
Past seasons have found him at San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Opera Idaho, Eugene Opera, Nevada Opera, Boheme Opera of New Jersey, Syracuse Opera, Mobile Opera, Taconic Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera San José, Portland Opera Repertory Theatre, Teatro Grattacielo, Slovak National Theatre, Maine Grand Opera, Athena Opera, South Texas Lyric Opera, Circolo Culturale di Mola, Fargo-Moorhead Opera and New York Grand Opera.
Noted concert performances include Fauré’s Requiem, Wilberg's Requiem, John Rutter’s Mass of the Children and Rossini's Ermione at Carnegie Hall; Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with the Helena Symphony; Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Brahms’ Requiem, and Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht with the Eugene Concert Choir; Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra; and Handel’s Utrecht Jubilate, Dvořák’s Mass in D, and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs at venues including Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall.
World premiere performances have included the role of Drosselmeir in Craig Bohmler’s The Tale of the Nutcracker, the baritone in Roger Trefousse’s Found Objects, and soloist in Stephen Walters’ Requiem at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Yiannoudes also performed the role of Olivarez in the U.S. premiere of Doña Flor by Niccolò Van Westerhout and the role of Marius in the New York premiere of Robert Starer’s Apollonia.
Mr. Yiannoudes was born and raised in Limassol and Kyrenia, Cyprus. He holds a Doctorate from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a Master’s degree from The Mannes College of Music. www.yiannoudes.com
Wendy Zaros, soprano lyric-coloratura. Distinguished for her brilliant-crystal voice, Ms. Zaros numerous solo appearances include performances with the Nashville Opera, DiCapo Opera Theater, Teatro Caio Melisso (Spoleto, Italy), Rome Festival (Italy), Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, and most recently at the 2008-2009 Annual Opening Opera Gala with the Riverside Opera Orchestra. During her tenure as voice faculty at Clemson University in South Carolina, she performed in numerous recitals and was a featured soloist in concert, opera and oratorio with various southern regional orchestras.
A Graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College (B.S. Music Education) and New England Conservatory (M.M. Vocal Performance), she is currently 2008 Marquis Whos Who in America recipient.
An esteemed interpreter of the belcanto repertoire, Mario Zeffiri has been enjoying a brilliant international career, which has brought him to perform in major institutions all over Europe.
He sang at the Teatro alla Scala (La Sonnambula), at the Opera di Roma (Tancredi, La Sonnambula, Il turco in Italia, Salome, Rosenkavalier), at the Teatro Regio di Torino (Semiramide, Die Entf√ºhrung aus dem Serail), at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Elisabetta Regina d'Inghilterra, Il barbiere di Siviglia), at the Teatro Comunale di Firenze (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Messa da Requiem; Stabat Mater), at the Teatro Verdi of Trieste (Rigoletto) and at the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona (La Sonnambula).
Outside Italy, he has performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Opera Comique in Paris, at the Liceu in Barcelona, at the Deutsche Oper and at the Philharmonie in Berlin, at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Chicago Symphony Center, as well as in the opera houses of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Köln, D√ºsseldorf, Essen, Dresden, Leipzig, Helsinki, Brussels, Bordeaux, Nice, Montpellier, Liège, Athens.
Mario Zeffiri regularly collaborates with such renowned conductors as Riccardo Muti, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Daniele Gatti, Roberto Abbado, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Alberto Zedda, Stefan Soltesz, Helmut Rilling, Eve Queler and with directors such as Dario Fo, Pierluigi Pizzi, Pier'Alli, Luca Ronconi, Hugo de Ana.
In 2007, under the baton of Riccardo Muti, he has been singing Verdi's Requiem in Ravenna, Parma, Las Palmas and at the Quirinale Palace of Rome. He took on the role of Ernesto (Don Pasquale) in Malta, Bolshoi of Moscow, Marinsky Theater of St. Petersburg, as well as that of Don Calandrino (Il ritorno di Don Calandrino by Cimarosa) in Las Palmas, Ravenna and Piacenza. He appeared as Duca di Mantova (Rigoletto) at the Estonian National Opera.
Among his 2008 engagements it is worth mentioning: Lélio by Berlioz at the Teatro la Fenice di Venezia and at the Ravenna Festival, both under Riccardo Muti, with whom Mario Zeffiri enjoys a long-time collaboration.
During the past couple of seasons Mario Zeffiri sang and recorded Verdi's Requiem with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, was Leicester (Maria Stuarda) in Mannheim, Lord Arturo Talbo ( I Puritani) at Scottish Opera in Glasgow, Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola) at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) in Thessaloniki. He made his debut in the Salzburger Festspiele production of Demofoonte (title role) at the Palais Garnier in Paris - again conducted by Riccardo Muti.
This season he sang I Puritani in Essen, Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Zurich, Petite Messe Solennelle at Napoli's San Carlo and again I Puritani in Cagliari. In September he will join Maestro Muti in his opening concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz' "Lélio" and will then go on singing Stabat Mater with him at the Wiener Musikverein in November.
Mr. Zeffiri is now preparing new roles such Des Grieux in Manon by Massenet, Werther, Roméo et Juliette, Roberto Devereux, Raoul in Les Huguenots and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor.
Born in Athens, Mario Zeffiri has completed his education in Italy, thanks to a scholarship of the "Maria Callas" Foundation at the "Accademia del Teatro alla Scala" and in Spain with tenor Juan Oncina. He is currently studying with Kammersänger Peter Gougaloff.
American born soprano Julie Ziavras has won critical acclaim for her vocal beauty, musicianship, and dramatic stage persona in the US and abroad where she has performed in concert, on radio and television. Her diverse repertory includes opera, art song, contemporary music, folk and international ballads and ethnic Greek music. Critic Dr. James Cotter in a review in The Times Herald Record said, "Soprano Julie Ziavras masters the most difficult instrument, wowing her Montgomery listeners with her warm and compelling voice, appealing presence and wide range of repertoire‚Äö√Ñ¬∂ pouring her full energy into each number with virtuosity and verve." A New York Times reviewer described her as "an estimable vocalist‚Äö√Ñ¬∂with a silvery voice‚Äö√Ñ¬∂ she held the spotlight alone". A review of her recent performance in the role of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus states that "Ziavras uses her rich soprano to soar in the high ranges and fill the scenes with drama.‚Äö√Ñ√π
Ms. Ziavras has performed in concert, on radio and TV in the US and abroad. Most recently she was heard in the title role in Offenbach's La Perichole with the Delaware Valley Opera and in the roles of Rosalinda in Strauss's Die Fledermaus and Julie in Show Boat with the Opera Company of the Highlands and as the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with the Festival Theatre of NY. She has appeared in the New York area at numerous venues including Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Hall, Symphony Space Theater, World Music Institute, Guggenheim Museum in Soho, Alternative Museum, Grand Montgomery Chamber Music Series, Opera Company of the Highlands, Regina Opera, Incontri Musicali, Warwick Master Arts Series, Greek Cathedral Concert Series, as well as radio broadcasts on WBAI, WNYC, and WJFF. She has premiered many works written expressly for her voice, including a contemporary song cycle written to the poetry of Walt Whitman, an off-Broadway musical of Aristophanes‚Äö√Ñ√¥ The Birds, an opera based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's play Babylon Revisited, and currently on mp3 in a vocalize written for her voice by Greek composer Spiros Cardamis. It remained in the number one spot in the opera category for nearly three months and is now featured in their Hall of Fame. A review of this performance in The Gods of Music states that "the strings would be vapid without the incredible voice, a siren who summoned my spirit onto the rocks of musical ecstasy."
Among numerous appearances abroad, she was invited to Greece by renowned composer/music director Manos Hadjidakis to appear on Greek National Radio (ERT) for numerous concerts and live broadcasts of opera, lieder, Renaissance song and contemporary music, including a world premiere at the Piraeus National Theatre, simulcast on national radio. She toured Greece and Serbia accompanied by an ensemble led by Greek composer/classical guitarist Notis Mavroudis, where selections from her solo CD Simply Mavroudis were premiered. She has appeared as featured artist at international festivals, including soloist in the Fiesta Internacional de las Naciones in Venezuela, the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, International Festival of Daphnis in Greece, and in Montreal, premiering a cantata written for her voice. She also appears in folk venues as part of the acoustic folk duo "Ken and Julie", featuring songs written for her voice by her husband, singer/songwriter Ken DeAngelis. In 2005, she completed a concert tour with Broadway Concerts Direct of theaters in six cities in Nova Scotia, in a repertory which included opera arias, art song, Broadway, international and folk music. Ms. Ziavras holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and has coached with Metropolitan Opera conductors George Schick and Alberta Masiello and maestros including, Vincent La Selva, Thomas Grubb, Dino Anagnost, Wayne Sanders and Jane Klaviter. Visit
her at www.kenandjulie.com.
"The DVO's production of this operetta delighted the audience. . . The main reason, although not the only one, was the tour-de-force performance of the soprano who played La Perichole, Julie Ziavras. She had the required coquettishness of a soprano in a buffo production like this one, the figure, the beauty, the charm and the panache, but she had more than that. She had a commanding voice and an energetic presence on stage."
Tom Kane, The River Reporter
"How sweet the sounds of 'La Perichole'. Coloratura (high-wire acrobatic singing) never sounded better in the hills of Sullivan County as Julie Ziavras, in the title role, displayed florid passages, trills, glissandos and sustained tones on high as her character exults in "waking up" in the Viceroy's palace."
- Marcus Kalipolites, The Times Herald Record
"Ziavras masters the most difficult instrument. Soprano Julie Ziavras wowed her Montgomery listeners with her versatile voice and the variety of her repertoire from opera to folk songs. It was Ziavras, however, who highlighted the afternoon with her warm and compelling voice, appealing presence and wide range of repertoire. . . offered ample evidence of her dramatic sense of style and personable interpretations. . .and poured her full energy into each number with virtuosity and verve. . .displayed a firm coloratura in her phrasing and treble. Her version of Puccini's 'Song of Doretta' was beautiful and moving."
- Dr. James F. Cotter, The Times Herald Record
"To this epic style of music, Ziavras brought a voice glowing with a wide range of nuances, including rich golden tones, elegant phrasing and radiant expression."
- Marcus Kalipolites, The Times Herald Record
"She held the spotlight alone. . . a pretty soprano with a silvery voice. . . an estimable vocalist."
- Howard Thompson, - The New York Times
"Ziavras uses her rich soprano to soar in the high ranges and fill the scenes with drama"
(as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus)
- Dr. James F. Cotter, The Times Herald Record
"Julie Ziavras' lovely, liquid voice expresses feelings of love, longing and wonder that don't need translation. . . it's as haunting and universal as the sound of a lonely violin".
- Steve Israel, The Times Herald Record
"But, the strings would be vapid without the incredible voice; a siren who summoned my spirit onto the rocks of musical ecstasy."
- Armond Blackwater, The Gods Of Music
"It was the most fantastic voice I had ever heard. . . her performance was direct and sensitive. . . The dreamlike rendition of Julie Ziavras makes us feel the waves of her voice, which makes the spirit airborne. What can one say. . . how can one describe the voice of a swallow?"