Sherrill Milnes, Artistic Director

Sherrill Milnes is universally acclaimed as the foremost operatic baritone of his generation. With his powerful voice, commanding stage presence and rugged handsomeness, he received the kind of adulation that is usually reserved for tenors. He sang over 650 performances at the Met, where he was honored with sixteen new productions, seven opening nights, and ten national telecasts. As a leading artist in all of the world’s great opera houses, Mr. Milnes performed and recorded with the likes of Domingo, Pavarotti, Sutherland, Sills, Horne, Price, and Tebaldi. He is the winner of three Grammy Awards, and the most recorded American singer of his time. In 2008 he received the Opera News Award for Distinguished Achievement.Read More

Born on January 10, 1935 in Downers Grove, Illinois, Sherrill Milnes made his critically acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera on December 22, 1965 as Valentin in Faust, an auspicious night that also featured the Met debut of Montserrat Caballé. He was launched to stardom, however, in 1968, when his riveting performance as Miller in Verdi’s Luisa Miller literally stopped the show at the Met and immediately made him the dominant baritone of his time. Throughout his remarkable career, Mr. Milnes showed an affinity for Verdi, whose works formed the cornerstone of a repertoire of some 70 roles. His autobiography, American Aria: Encore, is available from Amadeus Press.

Driven by his dedication to make the vocal arts vibrant, vital and entertaining in today’s world, Mr. Milnes continues to give masterclasses, judge competitions, and mentor new generations of singers. With his wife, Maria Zouves, he co-founded and runs the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs: VOICExperience Foundation and the Savannah VOICE Festival, which provide training and performance opportunities for aspiring young artists while fostering new audiences for the arts.

Maria Zouves, Executive Director

Maria Zouves is an educator, director, producer and writer. She is Executive Director of the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs − VOICExperience Foundation and the Savannah VOICE Festival – which she co-founded with her husband, Sherrill Milnes, to provide training for aspiring young artists and foster new audiences for the vocal arts. The Greek-American soprano has sung leading roles in the regional U.S., made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1997, and has recorded under the VAI label.Read More

Ms. Zouves has directed, taught, and produced events all around the world, having worked with the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI) in Montreal and Puerto Rico, the International Institute of Vocal Arts (IIVA) in Chiari, Italy, and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland. From 2007 to 2011, she served as Vice President and Associate General Director of Opera Tampa, the resident opera company of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. She has taught workshops at Southern Illinois University, Drake University and served as interim opera director at Northwestern University. A sought after clinician, particularly in career development, she has also aided young singers as a career liaison through her former feature, “A Conversation with…” in Classical Singer magazine.

While Maria directs most of the concerts in the VOICE Programs and co-directed the new SVF opera commission, Ching’s Alice Ryley, a Savannah ghost story, she most recently directed Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, where the work first premiered and co-directed Le Nozze de Figaro with Sherrill Milnes this summer in Prague and Salzburg with Prague Summer Nights. She was recently seen in the title role of the premiere of Ching’s Anna Hunter: The Spirit of Savannah.

Ms. Zouves has sung leading roles with the Baltimore Opera, Florentine Opera, Memphis Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Orlando Opera, and the Pittsburgh Opera. The Stuttgarter Zeitung praised her “beautiful, lyric voice” and “a not to be surpassed ‘piano’ in the high register.” Opera News has described her voice as “creamy.” This Greek-American soprano shows great versatility in opera, on concert stages, and in crossover repertoire, with a specialty in classical and popular Greek music.


Beth Roberts

For over 20 years Beth Roberts has been a dedicated and accomplished voice teacher and music educator. She has been on the faculty of Mannes College The New School for Music since 1996 and has served as Coordinator of the Vocal Department since 2001. Read More

Her voice studio at Mannes has produced principal artists in many national and international professional venues, including the San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Saint Louis Opera, Covent Garden and La Scala. Students of Ms. Roberts have been finalists and winners of such major vocal competitions as the Metropolitan Opera National Finals, the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, the Giuseppe di Stefano Competition, the Jenny Lind Competition, the Gerda Lissner Competition, the Giulio Gari Competition and the Joy of Singing Competition. Others have entered young artist programs at Merola, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass, Santa Fe, Tanglewood and Chautauqua. Ms. Roberts has been a vocal instructor for the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca (with the University of Cincinnati), a guest lecturer at the Classical Singer Convention, and an adjunct faculty member at the Westminster Choir College. She has served as an adjudicator for numerous competitions, including the Fulbright Scholarship and the Finals of the Concours de Musique du Canada. She is currently a faculty member of the International Vocal Arts Institute, and she gives frequent master classes at Yale University. A lyric soprano, Ms. Roberts has sung with many opera companies throughout the United States, including the Santa Fe Opera and the Washington Opera, and performed numerous concerts at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall. She was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Winner and a Liederkranz Foundation Competition Winner. She has also recorded for radio and television. Ms. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Screen Actors Guild.

Mark Schnaible

Mark Schnaible has served on the voice faculties of the summer opera programs; International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy, Intermezzo Foundation in Hartford, Connecticut and Brugge, Belgium, Sherrill Milnes VOICExperience Foundation in Disney, Tampa, Florida as well as Savannah, Georgia and the LidalNorth International Opera Workshop in Oslo, Norway. Read More

He is a former Associate Professor of Voice at Boston University, a former Visiting Associate Professor of Voice at Rutgers University and remains on the voice faculty of Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. Since 2001 he has maintained a private voice studio in New York City where his students continue to excel and have been chosen for young artist programs including Chautauqua Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Ashlawn-Highland Opera Festival, Utah Festival Opera, Santa Fe Opera Apprenticeship Program, Ohio Light Opera, Sarasota and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program as well as winning numerous competitions in both the United States and Europe. Bass-baritone Mark Schnaible has sung with Oper Leipzig, Theater Lübeck, Bergen National Opera, Polish National Opera, Athens Megaron Theater, Wien Modern, Zürich Opera, Choregies d’Orange Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and with such notable conductors as Bertran de Billy, Edo de Waart, Christoph Eschenbach, Seiji Ozawa, Michel Plasson and Franz Welser-Möst.He holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree for his contributions to performance and teaching. Mark Schnaible lives in New York City with his wife Patricia and their miniature Havanese Panda.

Maria Spacagna

Providence born soprano, Maria Spacagna, has been a regular guest artist at many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the Dallas Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera Festival, Florida Grand Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Arena di Verona, Teatro San Carlo, the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, the Spoleto Festival, the Zurich Opera, Bavarian State Opera of Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera Theater of Cologne, Opera Theater of Montreal, Canadian Opera, Shanghai Grand Opera, Capetown Opera of South Africa and many others. Read More

She was the first American-born artist to perform the role of MADAMA BUTTERFLY at La Scala. She has recorded for Vox Classics, the first commercial recording of the 1904 La Scala world premiere version of Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY. VARIETY, the American daily of the entertainment industry has written, ͞Spacagna is the Cio-Cio-San of our generation. The Spacagna Butterfly was selected by FANFARE, the recording industry quarterly, as one of the three opera recordings of the year for 1997. Fanfare, places her recording of the role along with those of Tebaldi, Scotto and Toti dal Monte. Her recordings of the title role of Mascagni’s Lodoletta for Hungaroton and Vivetta in Cilea’sL’Arlesiana for Harmonia Mundi have earned critical acclaim. Ms. Spacagna is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Voice and a Master of Music in Voice with Distinction. She was honored with an Alumni of the Year Award in 2004 from NEC. She was a member of the Juilliard Opera Center at the Julliard School of Music. She is the recipient of 2 George London grants, the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Rockefeller Foundation and the Minna Kaufmann Rudd Distinguished Performance Award. Ms. Spacagna is a recipient of a Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts. In March, 2012, she received an award from the Italian Consulate General in Boston for Outstanding Achievement in Art, Culture and Entertainment. She is also Honorary President of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and has received its first Distinguished Artist Award. At the invitation of its founder, Sherrill Milnes, Ms. Spacagna is a faculty member of VOICExperience, a training program for emerging professional singers. She was Lecturer in Voice at Boston University, College of Fine Arts from 2005 until 2012. Presently, she is Associate Professor of Voice at Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Arts.

Stella Zambalis

Stella Zambalis has appeared with many of the leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera as Cherubino in The Ghosts of Versailles,New York City Opera as Magda in La Rondine, Micaela in Carmen and Mimi in La Boheme, Houston Grand Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Read More

Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, Musetta in La Boheme and Nedda in I Pagliacci, Seattle Opera as Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte and Sophie in Prokofieff’s War and Peace, Florida Grand Opera as Adalgisa in Norma, to name a few. Internationally, she has performed with the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Mimi in La Boheme and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy as Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. On the concert stage, Ms. Zambalis has performed in Santiago, Chile for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Houston, Pittsburgh and San Francisco Ballets for Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Houston Symphony in solo quartet of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes with Mischa and Cipa Dichter, with the late Robert Shaw in Verdi’s Requiem, Orlando Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Greenville Symphony in Verdi’s Requiem, San Antonio Symphony as Countess and Hanna, Arkansas Symphony as Mimi and Tosca, Opera Orchestra of New York with Ma. Eve Queler in Carnegie Hall as Sara in Roberto Devereux and Walter in La Wally, The Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy as soprano soloist in Menotti’s Mass and his Cantata to St.Teresa of Avila:Muero, Porque no Muero, which she also performed with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin. Also in Berlin Ms. Zambalis was a featured soloist under the baton of Raphael Frübech de Burgos in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra. On recordings, Ms. Zambalis may be heard as Juliet in Tchaikovsky’s unfinished work: Romeo and Juliet: Overture Fantasy with the Moscow Radio and Television Orchestra for Koch International, and a solo album featuring three complete solo song cycles by Dvorák for the Opus label.


Andrew Bisantz

Conductor Andrew Bisantz has received accolades from Opera News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Toronto Globe and Mail, and The Boston Globe; three of his recent productions have been counted among the top 10 musical events of the season in their respective cities. Recent engagements include American Lyric Theater, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Tampa, McGill University, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Virginia Opera. Mr. Bisantz is Artistic Director and Conductor of Eugene Opera, where he has led 20 productions in his eleven years with the company. Read More

He has conducted over 60 productions for companies throughout the U.S., including The Turn of the Screw, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Greek for Boston Lyric Opera, Patience and Le portrait de Manon for Glimmerglass Opera, La traviata and La fanciulla del West for Virginia Opera, and ten productions for Florida Grand Opera. Orchestrally, he has appeared with the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony. He has spent a decade on the faculty of the VOICExperience / Savannah Voice Festival. Next season, in addition to his continued role as Artistic Director of Eugene Opera, he returns to Tri-Cities Opera to conduct Tosca and Opera Tampa for Aida. His recording of Fredrick Kaufman’s Stars and Distances and Seven Sisters is available on Navona Records.

Laura Brumbaugh

Laura Brumbaugh is a vocal coach and staff accompanist at DePauw University and is on the faculty of the Savannah Voice Festival.She also serves as music director for the Centerstage Theatre Company’s summer productions in Boulder, Colorado. Read More

Equally at home with instrumental collaboration, she has performed in recital with principal musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. She has also performed at numerous national conferences, including the National Opera Association, National Flute Association, and the College Music Society. A champion of new music, Brumbaugh has worked closely with composers such as Mark Adamo and Gabriela Lena Frank on their music. Brumbaugh has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Savannah Voice Festival, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and the Oberlin in Italy Festival. She received her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012. In 2010, she graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory’s double-degree program with a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies and a B.M. in Piano Performance. Her principal teachers include Margaret McDonald, Mutsumi Moteki, Monique Duphil, and James Howsmon.

Brent Douglas

Brent Douglas, based in St. Petersburg, FL, is in his fifth year at VOICExperience. He is on the faculty at Eckerd College as piano instructor, Choral Director and staff accompanist. He plays piano in the Florida Orchestra and formerly the Springfield (MO) Symphony. He is a rehearsal pianist for St. Petersburg Opera and Organist/Choir Director at Our Savior Lutheran Church.Read More

Brent studied piano performance at Missouri State University and the University of South Florida on full academic and music scholarships. He is currently a graduate student in orchestral conducting at the University of South Florida, studying with Dr. William Wiedrich. In July, he studied conducting with Harold Faberman at the prestigious Bard College Conducting Institute. As a collaborative pianist, he regularly performs with Reflections Chamber Ensemble and the Eckerd Trio throughout the Tampa Bay area. He has given recitals throughout the country as a pianist, chamber musician, and organist. He has held positions with choruses, theaters, colleges, and opera companies as rehearsal pianist, coach and musical director. Brent is also an active studio musician and records regularly for singers and composers. As an arts administrator, Brent served as Managing Director for the Palladium Theater from 2000-2005 where he co-founded the Encore Chamber Music Series in 2001. He served as Operations Manager for St. Petersburg Opera from 2008-2010, and was on the Board of Directors for the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild where he oversaw the annual opera competition. Brent is an avid cyclist/runner/swimmer and completed his first triathlon in April 2015. He is the proud uncle of the 2 best nieces in the world.

Dan Gettinger

Dan Gettinger is happy to be returning to the Savannah Voice Festival this summer, serving as musical director for the Festival’s finale concert.Other workshops Dan has participated in as a music director, vocal coach, and pianist, include Voicexperience in New York, Orlando, and Tampa; the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Illinois; Lidal North International Opera Workshop in Oslo, Norway; the Manhattan School Of Music Summer Voice Festival in New York; the International Vocal Arts Institute in TelAviv, Israel, and Montreal, Canada; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. Read More

Dan has worked as a coach and principal pianist for Palm Beach Opera, Opera Tampa, Chautauqua Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, rehearsing their productions of Macbeth, Barber Of Seville, Tales Of Hoffmann, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Rondine, Lucia Di Lammermoor, The Merry Widow, La Traviata, Aida, Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Un Ballo In Maschera, La Boheme, Don Pasquale, Tosca, Thais, Otello, The Pearl Fishers, and Andrea Chenier. As a recital pianist, he has performed with Patricia Racette, Heidi Grant Murphy, and Florence Quivar. He has also served as a judge for prestigious opera competitions including the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, and the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition.

Dan has held university faculty positions at Florida International University; Brooklyn College; The Hartt School at The University Of Hartford, where he was the music director of the musical theater department; and Manhattan School of Music in New York, serving as the music director of the American Musical Theater Ensemble. In addition to opera, Dan is equally experienced in the genre of musical theater, having conducted productions of My Fair Lady, Carousel, and Sweeney Todd for Shreveport Opera, and having worked as assistant conductor of a national tour of A Little Night Music starring Patrice Munsel, as well as a national tour of No, No, Nanette starring June Allyson. He also worked as pianist and musical arranger for both Diahann Carroll and Debbie Reynolds for their nightclub acts at the Frontier, Desert Inn, Riviera, and Sands hotels in Las Vegas. Dan began his career singing and dancing in productions of summer stock musicals including Camelot, Cabaret, Mame, Oliver, Man Of La Mancha, and Fiddler On The Roof, hoofing alongside performers including, respectively, Hal Holbrook, Joel Grey, Ann Miller, Sid Caesar, Richard Kiley, and Robert Merrill.

Constantine Grame

Constantine Grame studied music with his father, Theodore Grame, and holds and Advanced Certificate in Piano from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London.He is Artistic Director of the New Century Opera and Music Director of the Gilbert and Sullivan Players (Clearwater). Read More

In recent years he has served as stage and musical director for Les contes d’Hoffmann, Der fliegende Holländer, Don Giovanni,Il trovatore,Iphigenie en Aulide, Carmen, Tristan und Isolde, La clemenza di Tito, Mefistofele, Die Entführung aus demSerail, Orfeo ed Euridice, all four operas of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Hänsel und Gretel andBabes in Toyland. His edition of the original Herbert/MacDonough text of Babes in Toyland has been recognized as the most authoritative version available today, and Mr. Grame is currently preparing the first printed orchestral score and parts from the original manuscripts. As music director he has directed The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Carousel, My Fair Lady, Little Shop of Horrors, and many other works. As piano accompanist he has accompanied such distinguished artists as Sherrill Milnes, Maria Zouves, Stella Zambalis, Carole Cook, and Enrico di Giuseppe. He has appeared as tenor soloist in such works as Il barbiere di SivigliaandThe Mikado. He is an accompanist and voice coach and serves on the faculty of the Marcia P. Hoffman Institute for the Performing Arts (Ruth Eckerd Hall). He serves as organist at First Church of Christ, Scientist, St. Petersburg. His own opera, The Spoiler, premiered in Tarpon Springs in 2004 and was revived there in 2008 and 2012. In 2014—in recognition of his lifelong of dedication to the works for Richard Wagner—he attended the Bayreuth Wagner Festival as part of the Stipendiaten Programme, becoming one of very few Americans accorded this honour.

Tessa Hartle

Equally at home in operatic, solo, and chamber repertoire, Tessa Hartle is currently a pianist/coach on the music staff of Opera Theatre of St. Louis and has previously served on the music staffs of Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera North, and Aspen Opera Theater Center. Read More

In addition to her work as a coach in the standard repertory,Tessa has also prepared and performed new contemporary American works, notably the world premieres of Greg Spears’ Paul’s Case (UrbanArias, Arlington, VA), and John Musto’s Later the Same Evening(University of Maryland Opera Studio.)A native of Pittsburgh, Tessa holds her bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland –College Park. She is the recipient of the Gunther and Ilse Kern Grant for Opera Artists, awarded to her by Sarasota Opera during her first season with the company.

Gloria Kim

Pianist GLORIA KIM has performed across the globe as a collaborative pianist and soloist.Read More

Recent appearances include a concert of opera excerpts by alumni of American Lyric Theater’s critically acclaimed Composer Librettist Development Program at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, Carnegie Weill and Zankel Halls, the Stanisław Moniuszko International Vocal Competition in Poland, and the East Coast premiere of the new chamber opera, Middlemarch in Spring. Career highlights include being on the music staff for the Charlottesville Opera, Glimmerglass, Savannah Music Festival, Virginia Opera, and serving as music director for projects with American Lyric Theater, Heartbeat Opera and International Fringe Festival (NY). An advocate for music in higher education, she has also held faculty positions at NYU, Montclair State University, Concordia University (adjunct violin), and gave master classes at Ithaca College, The University of Texas, University of Missouri-Columbia, and University of Memphis. A native of Austin, TX, Gloria received her degrees in Performance at The University of Texas, and her doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota. Upcoming highlights include recital collaborations with Nitzan Haroz on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series (Philadelphia Orchestra principal trombonist, Curtis School of Music faculty), and Falstaff with Opera Omaha, as well as further collaborations with American Lyric Theater, Opera Saratoga, and Loft Opera.

Jorge Parodi

Internationally acclaimed conductor Jorge Parodi has worked extensively in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Recent credits include Lucrezia Borgia and I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Buenos Aires Lírica in Argentina; The Turn of the Screw for the Castleton Festival in Virginia and The Banff Centre in Canada; María de Buenos Aires for The Atlanta Opera and Opera Grand Rapids; Il barbiere si Siviglia for Opera Tampa and the Savannah Voice Festival; and L’enfant et les sortilèges for The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center.Read More

Reviewed as having “the most expressive conducting hands since Stokowski” by the New York Daily News, Argentinean born Jorge Parodi has worked with such companies as the Teatro Colón in Argentina, the Volgograd Opera in Russia, the Encuentros Internacionales de Opera in Mexico, the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy in Japan, and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel; and  has been involved with the Savannah VOICE Festival since its creation.  He has collaborated with such artists as Isabel Leonard, Eglise Gutierrez, Tito Capobianco, Aprile Millo and Rufus Wainwright and has assisted conductors Lorin Maazel and Julius Rudel, among others.

Maestro Parodi is the Music Director of Opera in Williamsburg (Virginia), and the Music Director of the Senior Opera Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has led its productions to critical acclaim, including the American premieres of Délibes’ Le Roi l’a dit and Paisiello’s Nina.

Robin Stamper

Robin Andrew Stamper is currently the Managing Director of Opera Tampa, Music Director of the Florida Opera Theatre as well as chorus master and rehearsal pianist for Opera Tampa and the Orlando Philharmonic. This season for Florida Opera Theatre he will conduct The Tragedy of Carmen (Bizet/Brook) and Mozart’s Cosi fantutte.Read More

Having received his degrees in piano performance at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, Mr. Stamper is a frequent performer as soloist and collaborative pianist. Upcoming is Florida Opera Theatre’s Opera in the Park concert series and several performances for the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. Mr. Stamper will also be a featured soloist in Orlando’s Steinway Concert Series which will include three of Vladimir Horowiz’s virtuoso arrangements: Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and Variations on a Theme from Carmen.

Howard Watkins

American pianist Howard Watkins is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. His appearances throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, Russia, and Israel have included collaborations with Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecien, Anna Netrebko, and Matthew Polenzani at such venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the United States Supreme Court, Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the three stages of Carnegie Hall, and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.Read More

He has accompanied the classes of legendary artists Renata Scotto, Frederica von Stade, Regine Crespin, Birgit Nilsson, and George Shirley. Mr. Watkins has served on the faculties of the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the International Vocal Arts Institute (Israel, Japan, and China), IIVA in Italy, and VOICExperience. He has also worked on the music staffs of Palm Beach Opera, the Washington National Opera, and the Los Angeles Opera.


Fabrizio Melano

Melano, stage director, is an established figure on the international opera scene, having worked in leading opera houses throughout the world for more than 40 years. He began a long-standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera in 1969 and has directed 21 operas there, among them seven new or revised productions.Read More

He directed Tony Randall in his last play, Pirandello’s Right You Are, with the National Actors Theater and staged a new musical, Asylum, at the York Theater Company. In April 2010 Juilliard presented his production of Dialogues des Carmélites, and the Met and Juilliard his production and staging of Armide in February 2012.

Joachim Schamberger

Joachim Schamberger works internationally as a Stage Director and Virtual Theater Designer. He has worked throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, Norway, Israel, Japan and China.Read More

Productions include Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Idomeneo, La Finta Giardiniera, La Bohème, Tosca, La Rondine, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi, Aida, La Traviata, Rigoletto, Falstaff, The Flying Dutchman, Das Rheingold, Carmen, Faust, Lucia di Lammermoor, Ariadne auf Naxos, Martha, Amahl and the night visitors, The Rake’s Progress, Albert Herring, Die Fledermaus, Sweeney Todd, The Wizard of Oz as well as several modern operas. In addition to directing, he is a Visiting Professor of Opera at DePauw University and works frequently at music festivals and conservatories throughout the world. A graduate of the Musikhochschule in Würzburg, and the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, Mr. Schamberger studied digital film production and 3-D animation at the New York Film Academy. For more information please visit: joachimschamberger.com


Michael Ching

Michael Ching (Composer and Librettist, ALICE RYLEY) is a composer, songwriter, conductor, and former arts administrator. His most recent opera, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! was commissioned and premiered by the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center. Read More

Since its premiere in July 2013, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! has been produced fifteen times, including professional productions at Tri-Cities Opera, Amarillo Opera, and Microscopic Opera (Pittsburgh), and universities such as UT-Austin, the University of Memphis, Ithaca College, and the University of Central Florida. His 1996 opera BUOSO’S GHOST is a sequel to GIANNI SCHICCHI. It has proved lasting, with recent performances at Texas State University and the UNC-Chapel Hill. It will be performed at University of Central Florida next season. His 2010 opera, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, opera a cappella was premiered by Opera Memphis, Playhouse on the Square, and DeltaCappella. A CD featuring the original cast was released on Albany Records in 2014. Other works include CORPS OF DISCOVERY, commissioned by the University of Missouri to commemorate the Lewis and Clark Expedition and several one act operas. From 1993-2010, Michael was Artistic Director of Opera Memphis, where he was also General Director for much of the period. While at Opera Memphis, he participated in the seven million dollar campaign to build the Clark Opera Memphis Center, a headquarters and rehearsal studio for the company. He is currently Music Director of Nickel City Opera in Western New York, where he recently conducted their production of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. This fall he will conduct his new orchestral reduction of Douglas Moore’s THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE at Amarillo Opera. Other guest conducting engagements have included companies in Honolulu, Nashville, Fargo, and New Jersey. Michael has served on the artistic staffs of the opera companies of Miami, Virginia, and Chautauqua, and was trained at the Houston Opera Studio, where he studied opera composition with Carlisle Floyd. Michael attended Duke University where his composition teacher was Robert Ward. Michael lives with family in Ames, Iowa.