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Welcome to Bel Cantanti, an opera company within the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area devoted to giving performance experience to both seasoned and aspiring professionals. Between the beautiful singing and glorious music, you will find yourself thoroughly captivated.
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About us

kate

Kathleen McGhee
(September 29th, 1956 – September 1st, 2013) served as a Founding Director and Costume Designer of Bel Cantanti Opera since December 2003. She designed BCO performances of Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Cosi Fan Tutte, Rigoletto, Die Fledermaus, L’Elisir d’Amore, Eugene Onegin, Barber of Seville, Daughter of the Regiment, Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute, Aleko, Iolanta and so many other operas. Kathleen also was a pianist and harpist and held an undergraduate and two graduate degrees in music.

Rest in Peace, dear friend, amazing musician, a person of rare beauty, generous heart and kindness.

Bel Cantanti Opera dedicates all the performances of its 10th anniversary season to Kate McGhee, whose whole life has been given to the arts, music, and opera.



 

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Bel Cantanti Singers

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Shana Louise Maron, soprano, Amahl (Amahl and the Night Visitors) graduated from The College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University, with a bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance, in May of 2003. Miss Maron began her formal study of voice at the age of eight, under the fine teaching of Dr. Doreen Rao, with The HART School of Music, in Hartford CT. She has also studied the art of vocal ornamentation with Dr. Julliane Baird at The Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY. Miss Maron specializes in baroque and early music literature. Her guest solo repertoire includes Handel Messiah, Samson, and Joshua, Mendelssohn Elijah, Haydn Creation, Fuare Requiem, Britten A Ceremony of Carols, and Purcell The Fairy Queen and Oedipus. Miss Maron has been a guest soloist with the Masterwork's Chorale and Choral Arts Society, in Washington D.C., and she has performed internationally with The Cologne Philharmonic. Miss Maron's operatic roles include Sister Osmina in Puccini's Suor Angelica, Poppea in Montiverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with the GMU Opera Scenes. Miss Maron is currently enrolled in the voice studio of Baltimore Soprano, Ah Young Matejicka.

Sharon Grant, soprano, Amahl  (Amahl and the Night Visitors) has appeared in operettas and musical theatre productions around the Washington, DC area since 1999. She has performed with the Washington Savoyards (The Mikado), CAST in McLean (The Pirates of Penzance), Elden Street Players (Suburb) and many others. A native of Texas, she sang with the Longhorn Singers at the University of Texas at Austin during her college years and made a brief but memorable appearance in the Austin Lyric Opera production of Aida. Sharon studies voice in the private studio of Joan Grandy. Sharon is thrilled to join Bel Cantanti for such a delightful production

Lyric soprano, Rebecca Kellerman, Mother(Amahl and the Night Visitors) has performed for audiences throughout the Washington, DC metro area since moving to Leesburg, VA in 2001. Past concert appearances include soloist with the Bach Ortenau Choir of Germany, the Washington Chorus and The Washington Bach Consort. She has performed opera and oratorio throughout the United States and Europe from the East Coast to Spoleto, Italy. Her opera roles include Ino in F. Handel’s Semele, Mrs. Gobineau G.C. Menotti’s The Medium, Nella in G. Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and various partial roles. Rebecca has sung as both a soloist and professional chorister with The Washington Bach Consort, The Washington Chorus and St. James Episcopal Church, Leesburg. Ms. Kellerman is also an active music and voice teacher in Charles Town, WV where she currently resides.

Lucas Tannous, tenor, Duca (Rigoletto), King Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Nemorino (L'Elisir d'Amore), Count Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Tonio (La Fille du Regiment), (Viva Mozart!) , Almeric (Iolanta), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Rodolfo (La Boheme).  Lucas Tannous, a native of Fairfax, Virginia. He completed his BM in vocal performance at Westminster Choir College in 2000, his MM in vocal performance at the University of Illinois School of Music in 2002 and his GPD at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in 2006. In the summer of 2002, Mr. Tannous was an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera. Since then, he has performed several leading roles, including Il Conte d’Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with Houston Opera in the Heights under the musical direction of Maestro William Weibel, and Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Il Duca in Rigoletto and Tonio in La Fille du Régiment with Bel Cantanti Opera under the musical direction of Dr. Katerina Souvorova. Mr. Tannous currently studies voice with Gregory Lamar in New York City.

Timothy Augustin, tenor, Tonio (La Fille du Regiment). The Washington Post describer Timothy Augustin as an “outstanding performer” who possesses a “particularly lovely voice”. The 2001 winner of The Washington International Competition for Singers was also a national finalist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Center for American Artists competition and regional finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The Minnesota native earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. While in the Midwest, Tim was active as an opera and oratorio singer. He performed with such groups as The Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Great Lakes Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Tim left the Midwest to enter U.S. Army. His first assignment was as an Arabic linguist in early 1990’s. It was then that he heard of the U.S. Army Chorus. After a successful audition for this prestigious ensemble, he returned to active duty in 1996 and moved to Washington D.C. As a member of the ensemble, he acted as the group’s Middle East and Slavic language specialist. He sang regularly for Presidents and other Heads of State, at The White House and other venues. He also traveled throughout the U.S. as a featured soloist with the Chorus, Concert Band and Brass Band. While in Washington, Tim has appeared with The Washington National Opera, Capitol City Opera, Washington Concert Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis Opera, Interact Theatre Company, The Paul Hill Chorale, and Masterworks Chorus among others in leading and supporting roles. He has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, on all the stages at the Kennedy Center in Washington, The Mormon Tabernacle, the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul and many others. Tim’s numerous television appearances include ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, The CBS Morning Show and ABC’s World News Tonight. His many radio broadcasts include; Tenor Soloist in the world premiere of Nick White’s Full Freedom at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall which was broadcast on NPR. A regular with the Washington National Opera, Mr. Augustin’s numerous past productions include more than a dozen roles and more than 250 performances.

Yoon Soo Shin, tenor, (Salut a la France), Edgardo, (Lucia di Lammermoor)  earned Master of Music from the University of Maryland where he studied with Dominic Cossa, and earned an Artist Diploma and studied with distinguished professor Giorgio Tozzi at Indiana University. He recently covered as Rodolfo in La Bohème during the 2004-2005 season for New York City Opera. He has participated in the Merola Program at San Francisco Opera and performed as the Duke in Rigoletto. Operatic roles include Tito in La Clemenza di Tito, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Des Grieux in Manon, Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte, and the title role in Les Contes d'Hoffmann. He has received several awards including the Metropolitan National Council Audition Semi-Finalist, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition Study Grant Winner, The Liederkranz Foundation Awards for Voice, and The Annual Homer Ulrich Solo Performance Competition at the University of Maryland Graduate Grand Prize.

Jim Biggs, tenor, Normanno (Lucia di Lammermoor). Jim discovered his passion for the performing arts as a young man in West Virginia, his home state.   Mr. Biggs went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree of Music from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2001, and is currently completing work toward the degree of Master of Music at the University of Maryland in the Maryland Opera Studio at College Park.  Jim has studied voice under several notable professionals, including Dr. Jeff Price and Gran Wilson who is his current teacher.  In addition to his academic achievement, Mr. Biggs has received formal recognition for his outstanding talent and has extensive performance experience:  some notable examples include performances with the Maryland Opera Studio’s opera scenes program as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Gonzalve in Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole; an engagement with the American Symphony Orchestra in Janacek’s OSUD as a young student and chorus member; numerous oratorio solo engagements, including a performance with the Charlotte Music Society as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah; and a recent casting as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the University of Maryland Opera studio.  Jim is a passionate artist, an engaged student, and an aspiring professional.

Jason Rylander, tenor, King Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors). Hailed by the Washington Post for his “strong, clear tenor,” Jason Rylander is pleased to make his debut with Opera Belcantanti as Kaspar in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. He most recently appeared with the Washington Savoyards as Don Fernando de Gomez in Offenbach's La Perichole. Previous performances include the role of Antonio in the Savoyards' Gondoliers; Ralph Rackstraw in The Arlington Players' HMS Pinafore; and various roles with Crittenden Opera Studio and Summer Opera Theatre Company. Equally at home on the concert stage, he has performed as a soloist with the New Dominion Chorale, National Men's Chorus, and the Friday Morning Music Club. Upcoming engagements include Monastatos in The Magic Flute, the Bach Magnificat and Handel's Messiah. An Arlington resident, he is the tenor soloist for Christ Church, Alexandria.

Christopher Jones, baritone, King Melchior ( Amahl and the Night Visitors), Count Ceprano (Rigoletto), Fiorello (Il Barbiere di Siviglia). A native of Chevy Chase, Maryland, baritone Christopher Jones studied classical piano at the Levine School of Music while attending the Sidwell Friends School.  He attended the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, VA, where he studied with Jackson Sheats, Janette Ogg, and Bard Suverkrop.  As a part of Shenandoah’s Opera Workshop program, Mr. Jones performed leading roles in main stage productions and dozens of opera scenes during his six years in the program.  Praised for his “warm, resonant, beautiful bass- baritone voice”, the Winchester Star praised: “Christopher Jones almost steals the show” with his performance as Somnus in the Conservatory’s production of Handel’s Semele.  In 1996, he received honors in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) in preliminary rounds and won second place at the regional finals that same year.  In 1999, he received the Cecilia Award for Vocal Excellence from Shenandoah Conservatory and was awarded the Rita Noel Scholarship for graduate study.  Mr. Jones joined the Master Chorale of Washington as a member of their prestigious Professional Core for the 2001-2002 season, led by maestro Donald McCullough.  In the spring of 2003, Mr. Jones was accepted into the Central Florida Lyric Opera Young Artist Resident Training Program for the 2003-2004 season, and was offered the roles of the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro and El Ramendado in Carmen.  

Eduardo Castro, baritone, King Balthazar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Dulcamara (L'Elisir d'Amore) came to the United States from Peru in 1991.  He has been a member of the Baltimore Opera Chorus since 2000. Local performances include; the BPC Opera Company starting as Colline in Puccini's La Boheme and Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. With GMU productions he performed Don Alfonso in Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart,  Shaunard in Puccini’s La Boheme and Balthazar in Amahl and the Night’s Visitors by Menotti. With the Maryland Opera Society he did the roles of Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata. He has also performed at Catholic University of America as Frank in the productions of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and as Cappellio in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi. Eduardo is a lyric baritone who is currently completing his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at George Mason University.

Hunter Bayliss Morrison, Page (Amahl and the Night Visitors) is a fourteen year old ninth grade student at Loudoun Country Day School in Leesburg, Virginia. He studies voice with Sonya Stambaugh Latimer. Hunter sang the role of Brundibar in the 2002 Washington Opera Summer Camp Program's production of Hans Krasa's children's opera Brundibar and won the 2003 James Bland Competition for the Leesburg, Virginia area.

Meghan McCall, soprano, Gilda (Rigoletto), Adina (L'Elisir d'Amore), Marie (La Fille du Regiment), Gretel ( Hansel and Gretel ), ( Viva Mozart!), (Salut a la France!), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Adina (L'Elisir d'Amore), Blondchen (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail), Norina (Don Pasquale) Praised for her "bell-like clarity and fine control" and "radient full-bodied voice" by The Washington Post, American soprano Meghan McCall is establishing herself as one of the finest young artists of opera today. She has been hailed for possessing    a "beautifully and flawlessly operatic voice" The West Highland Press. In her interpretation of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro "Meghan McCall made a superlative Susanna on the opening night and was consistently the most outstanding voice in all combinations" All Arts Review, and was "a blooming, vivacious and confident Susanna" The Washington Times. The young soprano's career has already taken her to stages both in the United States and Europe. Ms. McCall has performed the roles of Fatime in Carl Maria von Weber's Abu Hassan, Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte, Madame Altina in La Divina (Pasatieri), Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Musetta in La Bohème, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Gilda in Rigoletto, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Marie in La Fille du Régiment, Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Princess (#1) in Transformations, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw and Blondchen in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Miss McCall has earned her BA in Music Literature from Northeastern University and her MM from The University of Maryland Opera Studio where she worked with world-renownd bass Francois Loup. Directly after her graduation she was invited to join the Opera Lafayette Young Artist Program which specializes in 17th and 18th century French repertoire. In February 2009, Miss McCall joined Wolf Trap Opera to participate in a new work reading by composer John Musto entitled An Inspector From Rome, singing the role of Agrippa. She will continue this year's season as Norina in Don Pasquale with Bel Cantanti Opera (March 2009), Giulietta in I Capuleti e I Montecchi (May 2009), a duo concert with Francois Loup at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC (May 2009) and as the soprano soloist in two of Haydn’s oratorios: Lord Nelson Mass and Mass in the Time of War (May 2009). 2010 will include singing the role of Mary in a new sacred opera entitled Oh My Son, by composer Marcos Galvany, at Carnegie Hall.

 

Waka Osifchin, soprano, Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), (Masterpieces of Bel Canto). Sought out for her “powerful and dramatic performance” by The Washington Post, Japanese soprano Waka Osifchin has performed throughout the US and Asia.  She began studying violin at the age of four.  At sixteen she began studying voice, and went on to earn her bachelor's degree at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo.  She then decided to study in the United States at Indiana University School of Music where she got her master’s degree. Waka has since begun pursuing her doctorate degree in vocal performance at The Catholic University of America, where she studies with Sharon Christman.  Waka has performed the roles of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief by Menotti, Hagnothea in Andrew Simpson’s world premiere The Furries, and Sesto in Giulio Cesare.  She also sang Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Bel Cantanti Opera past two seasons.   In Fall 2007, she performed the title role of Madama Butterfly with Maryland Opera Society.  Most recently she sang at the U.S. House of Representatives for a memorial service for Charles Vanik. Waka also has extensive concert experience and has been a soloist in performances of Schubert’s Missa G-dur, Saint-Saens’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and My song shall be alway.

 

Emily Ezzie, soprano, Iolanta (Iolanta),(Salut a la France!), Mimi (La Boheme), completed her Bachelor of Music Degree at Boston University where she was a recipient of the Ellalou Dimmock Award.  Previously seen with Bel Cantanti in the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Ms. Ezzie was recently awarded the 2008 Grand Prize (1st Place) at the Long Leaf Opera Vocal Competition.  Other engagements include appearances with Baltimore Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Boston and the Greenwich Music Festival, as well as the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Providence Singers and the Boston Pops.  She also performed as a Young Artist with Sarasota Opera where she received the Stuart R. Scholarship, Opera North, Opera Works, and the Opera and Theatre Music Festival of Lucca, Italy. 


 

 

Angela Marchese, soprano, Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), is a DMA student at the University of Maryland studying with Delores Ziegler. She is originally from New Orleans, LA where she received a Bachelors of Music degree from Loyola University. Angela earned a Masters in Opera Performance in 2005 at the University of Maryland where she sang The Governess in Turn of the Screw, and Mimi in La Boheme. Other roles she has performed include Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, While touring in Italy Ms. Marchese performed the role of Serpina in La Serva Padrona, participated in masterclasses with Giuseppi Taddei and Luciano Pavarotti, and gave concerts as part of the I Malatesta Centro di Lingua e Cultura. Upcoming engagements include the Mozart Requiem and Vespers with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Bel Cantanti and the title role in Gluck’s Armide with the Maryland Opera Studio.
 

 

Bobbie Jo Simmons, soprano, Berta (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), is a native of North Carolina. She earned her Master’s Music from the University of Maryland College Park and her Bachelor’s of Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has been seen as the Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Giannetta in L’elisir d’Amore with the Maryland Opera Studio. While in the Maryland Opera Studio, she also performed scenes from The Crucible, The Dialogues of the Carmelites and performed Lucero in a workshop production of Salsipuedes working closely with the opera’s composer Daniel Catan. She has also performed the role of Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro with the UNC-G Opera Theatre and was also seen in their productions of The Dialogues of the Carmelites, Cendrillon and Amahl and the Night Visitors

Andrea Hill, mezzo-soprano, Olga (Eugene Onegin), Marquise of Berkenfield (La Fille du Regiment), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), (Viva Mozart!). Canadian mezzo-soprano Andrea Hill, praised in the Washington Post for her “radiant, full-bodied voice,” and in the Asheville Citizen-Times as a “fine [performer] who knows how to use face, body language and voice to make [one] understand the character she is portraying” received her Masters in Music, Opera Performance, from the University of Maryland in 2004.  On the operatic stage, Ms. Hill has performed several roles, including Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Niklaus/Muse (Les Contes d’Hoffman), Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and Hansel (Hansel and Gretel).  She has been the mezzo soloist in works ranging from Handel’s Messiah to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and in 2006, will be the featured soloist of Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. Over the course of her musical studies, Ms. Hill has been distinguished by many awards and scholarships.  Most recently, during the summer of 2005, she competed and was chosen as a semi-finalist in the international vocal competition Jeunesses Musicales, held in Montréal.  One month later, she was named the first place winner of the Rozsa Foundation National Vocal Competition in Canada (inaugural year), and was also awarded the Brian Hanson Opera Scholarship (Calgary Opera).  In 2006, Ms. Hill will be a featured artist in the Mountain View Festival of Song Concert Series, held in Calgary Canada.

Lingling Peng, mezzo-soprano, Old Gypsy Woman (Aleko), Marta ( Iolanta),( Salut a la France!) made her first public solo appearance at age 10. Lingling received her B.A. in vocal performance from Guangxi Academy of Arts and studied voice at Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. She won numerous awards and competitions at the national and provincial level and made over one hundred recordings of new compositions for radio stations and TV programs. Notably, she was the soloist of the “Sound of Nationalities" and "The Dewy Rose” in the Spring Festival Program of China Central Television.  As a performer and voice instructor, Lingling was invited to Singapore in 1994. She represented Singapore in the Asia Vocal Competitions held in Hong Kong and Malaysia. In 1997 Lingling won the first prize in the vocal competition organized by Singapore Composer Circle. She performed the role of Gek Choo in the world premiere of Buang Mawar with Singapore Lyric Opera. Lingling also held recitals in Singapore and Malaysia and her performances earned the acclaim of large audiences. For three years, she was the recipient of the Art Bursary (overseas) from Singapore National Art Council.  Lingling has been described as “fantastic… rich… strong… a voice with force and dramatic quality… great acting that connects the voice with the character impressively…” Suzuki (Madama Butterfly) is her signature role.  Lingling also portrayed Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte) for the Roma Festival Opera, Italy, and Gypsy Queen (The Bohemian Girl) in the Ireland Waterford International Light Opera Festival.  Her soloist oratorio performances include Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, among others. Lingling recently sang the roles of Tigrana in Puccini’s opera Edgar and Musetta in Leoncavallo’s La Boheme with the American Center for Puccini Studies in Washington, DC (2005).  Martha is her upcoming role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with Bel Cantanti Opera (Spring 2006). As one of the twelve singers selected from eight major cities around the world, Lingling was invited to compete in the 3rd Monte-Carlo Voice Masters International Competition in June 2005.  She was a finalist and the Encouragement Award Winner in the Gerda Lisser Foundation International Vocal Competition 2002. Lingling is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and received a M.M. in voice from the University of Nebraska.  She currently resides in Germantown, MD. 

Barbera Thomas Dooley, soprano, Rosina ( Il Barbiere di Siviglia ), received her BA (magna cum laude) from Colby College, where she majored in music, studying lieder, melodie, and twentieth century/avant-garde art song. She was an Opera League of Maine Competition winner, winning the Mozart Award and overall third place. She also won the Colby College Concerto Competition. Internships and chorus work include the Monteux Opera Festival and Opera Maine. She studied in Vienna, Austria from 1997-1998, performing in recitals with the Institute for European Studies. In 1999, she began the Masters program at Bowling Green State University and was awarded the Helen Leininger and Nicholas Cucaro Scholarship. The following year, she was appointed Teaching Assistant. She received the James P. Kennedy Music Achievement Award upon graduation in 2001. Her teachers include Elizabeth Erskine Patches, Andreas Poulimenos, Eugene Dybdahl and Dominic Cossa. Roles she has performed include: Mrs. Ford, The Merry Wives of Windsor; Lady Billows, Albert Herring; Marcellina, The Marriage of Figaro; Domina, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; and Ellie, The Leader of the Pack: The Ellie Greenwich Story. She looks forward to her debut this season with Bel Cantanti as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Cristina Nassif, soprano, Rosina, ( Il Barbiere and More ), Tatiana ( Eugene Onegin), Zemphira ( Aleko), makes her Violetta debut this October, opening Virginia Opera’s 2005/2006 season in Verdi’s La Traviata.  In December, she joins Opera Tampa at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center singing the title role in Bizet's Carmen -- one she will again sing in Virginia Opera’s 2006/2007 season-opener. Ms. Nassif received a Richard F. Gold Career Grant and a McGlone Award from Central City Opera, performing Rosa Gonzales (Summer and Smoke, reprised in 2003 with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh) and Isabel/Madeline (The Face on the Barroom Floor), and covering Nedda in I Pagliacci and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Her other roles include Musetta, Rosina, Alice Ford, Despina, Pamina, First Lady, Donna Elvira, Marzelline, Lisa (La Sonnambula), and Rosario (Goyescas). In 2004, Ms. Nassif was the featured soprano soloist in two Mendelssohn works: Elijah and Lobgesang with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s Snowshoe Symphony Festival, and an Operatic Gala at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Los Angeles.  Future engagements include a November 2005 Recital for the International Poetry Forum in Pittsubrgh, PA and Elijah with the WVSO in March 2006. Ms. Nassif has been a winner in numerous vocal competitions including Gold Medallion in the Rosa Ponselle Opera Competition, First Prize in the Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition, Encouragement Award in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, Regional Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Audience Choice in the Annapolis Opera Competition, and most recently Third Place and the coveted Critic’s Choice Award in the International Vocal Competition of Bilbao, Spain. Ms. Nassif began her vocal training with her mother, Cristina Herrera de Nassif, later earning a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Maryland (with Regina McConnell) and an Artist Diploma from The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. She is currently a voice student of Bill Schuman.

Amanda Gosier, soprano, Tatiana ( Eugene Onegin ), (Viva Mozart!), Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), recently received her Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She has been a national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a finalist in the National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists Competition, and a finalist in the Rosa Ponselle International Voice Competition. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, the National Men’s Chorus, and the Kennedy Center’s Masterworks Chorale performing works ranging from Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 to Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. During her time at the Curtis Institute of Music she performed Wolf’s Italiensches Liederbuch  and Ned Rorem’s Evidence of Things Not Seen with Mikael Eliasen.  In addition to numerous concert performances, Ms. Gosier was seen as Sister Constance in Dialogues des Carmelites, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte, and Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all for the Curtis Opera Theatre. Ms. Gosier has been winner of both the Second Place and Audience Choice awards at the Annapolis Opera’s Annual Vocal Competition. In the summer of 2002, Ms.Gosier participated in the Opera Theatre of St.Louis’ Young Artist Program. Ms.Gosier recently premiered the work of Lori Laitman  with “Lines Written at the Falls” for the Washington DC Composers Consortium and will be appearing this Fall as a featured soloist with the Vocal Chamber Soloists of Washington DC and the National Men’s Chorus. Ms.Gosier has represented the Vocal Arts Society of Washington DC in numerous concerts and benefits. Most recently she represented them in performance for the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees Annual Meeting.  This Spring Ms Gosier will be appearing with Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia in their production of Rossini’s Opera, Love’s Luggage Lost, as Berenice.

Cynthia Farbman, soprano, Gilda (Rigoletto), (Viva Mozart!), ( Salut a la France!), is delighted to return to Bel Cantinti after her performance as Gilda in Rigoletto “an exquisite Caro Nome”, Washington Post. Ms. Farbman received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro with a BFA and a doctorate from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. She currently studies with baritone, Dr. John Blizzard of Wingate University. Ms. Farbman has performed the roles of The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflote (Mozart), Countess  Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Sylva in The Gypsy Princess (Kalman) and Sophia in R.B. Ribalow’s world premiere of 7 Deadly Sins. Ms. Farbman participated in the young artist programs with Opera Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina and performed and studied in Italy with the Oberlin and Eastman Conservatories. Ms. Farbman has studied acting under Bill Wendt of the Actor's Studio, NY, Gordon Hunt of Los Angeles, CA, and Lon Bumgarner of the Film Actors Studio of Charlotte, NC. Her acting roles include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Julie in Showboat, Anita in West Side Story, Abigail in The Crucible, Meg in Crimes of the Heart and Marta in the world premiere of Rupert Holmes' Thumbs.

Soprano Stacey Mastrian, Dew Fairy ( Hansel and Gretel ), is pleased to be making her first appearance with Bel Cantanti.  She is a Fulbright Grantee and Beebe Fellow who has sung across the U.S. and Europe and has won awards in numerous competitions, from Bach to art song to opera.  This past summer she sang critically-acclaimed performances of Gilda in Rigoletto with the Summer Opera Theatre Company and was named a Richard F. Gold Career Grant recipient.  Other operatic roles include Sister Genevieve in Suor Angelica, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Amor/Damigella in L’incoronazione di Poppea.  Her recital and oratorio performances have been broadcast internationally.  Ms. Mastrian is a doctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, where she studies with Martha Randall.  She has an M.M. from UM (Maryland Opera Studio) and a B.M. in vocal performance from The Catholic University of America, where she studied with Elizabeth Daniels.

 

Courtney Ross, soprano, Adina ( L'Elisir d'Amore )  received her B.M. in vocal performance from Shenandoah Conservatory where she was also the receipant of the Cecilia Award for Vocal Excellence. Courtney is pursuing a career in opera and concert singing.  Her roles include Ann in Nikolai's Merry Wives of Windsor, Despina in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Musetta in Pucinni's La Boheme and most recently Adina in Bel Cantanti's production of L'Elisir d'Amore by Donizetti.  She has also been a soloist in several concerts with groups such as the National Philharmonic Chorale, the Waterford Concert Series, and the Mexican Cultural Institute. Currently Courtney Ross studies with Barbara Honn at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music where she will be starting her Masters in Music in the fall of 2004.  Courtney is also the private student of Katerina Souvorova, vocal coach and founder of Bel Cantanti. Ms Ross is very happy to be a part of such a diverse group of singers.

 

Keesun Kwon, soprano, (Salut a la France!),  a native of South Korea, is currently working on her Doctoral degree at the Catholic University of America. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory. She was seen as Kassandra in Agamemnon, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Nella in Gianni Schicchi and Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring at the Catholic University.  She performed the role of Violetta in La Traviata, Gilda in Rigoletto and Adina in L’elisir d’amore  for the Bethesda Music Festival.  She made her oratorio debut by singing Brahms’ Ein deutches Requiem with Harford Choral Society. She is a recent award winner in the Gerda Lissner Foundation in New York and made her New York debut with Gateway Classical Music Society. She is a First place winner in Vincent P. Walter Voice Scholarship Competition, Marie E. Crump Vocal Arts Competition (Maryland Opera Society) and Paul Robeson Vocal Competition, NATS in Mid-Atlantic Region and Study Award in the Annapolis Opera Competition.

 

Randa Rouweyha, soprano, (Salut a la France!), earned her Master of Music degree at Peabody Conservatory of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree from Youngstown State University's Dana School of Music.  She has sung with numerous Opera and Oratorio groups throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area, including Washington National Opera, the Washington Concert Opera, the Washington Savoyards, Opera Americana, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, the IN Series, the New Dominion Chorale, Masterworks Chorus, the Ad Hoc Singers, and the Friday Morning Music Club.  Ms. Rouweyha has been singing with Washingtion National Opera for several years where she has performed numerous supporting roles, including:  Barbarina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro,  The Foreign Woman in Menotti's The Consul under the direction of Gian Carlo Menotti, and Ruth Putnam in Robert Ward's The Crucible. The Washington Times  described her rendition of Pamina with IN Series' Magic Flute as “the evening’s standout... Her Pamina was totally ready for prime time, her tone bell-clear, her pitch spot on.”  Opera critic Alan Savada commented in his on-line review:  “One of the musical highlights of the afternoon... Ms. Rouweyha was easily the most talented singer in this cast!”  Randa is scheduled to sing Pamina again with IN Series’ remount of Magic Flute this November and December. Ms. Rouweyha also enjoys singing recital and chamber music.  She was a first place winner for the 2005-2006 Art Song Discovery recital series.  Last season, Randa received high praise during her recital performances with Vocal Arts Society.  

Soprano, Adrienne D. Neal, Sandman ( Hansel and Gretel ), is among the new genre of artists from the Washington, DC area. She has delighted audiences with her appearances with the Aria Club of Greater Washington from the 2002 to present seasons. She has also appeared as a guest artist with the Maryland Opera Society in their Annual Christmas Gala for the 2001 and 2002 seasons and has been presented in recital at the Charles Sumner School Museum. Through her affiliations with the Crittenden Opera Studio, she performed scenes from Don Giovanni (Zerlina), The Dialogues of the Carmelites (Sister Constance), La Rondine (Lisette), and The Old Maid and the Thief (Leticia). Ms Neal is a former member of The Master Chorale of Washington (formerly The Paul Hill Chorale); she was a soloist at Luther Place Lutheran Church, Washington, DC and is currently on the musical staff of Asbury United Methodist Church of Washington, DC.  Ms. Neal’s vocal abilities have been recognized by a number of organizations. In 1997 she won second place in the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition sponsored by the Washington Chapter of the Century Club, in 2003 she was awarded the third place in the Gretchen M. Hood Vocal Competition, and in 2004 she was a semi-finalist in the Maryland Opera Society’s Marie Crump Vocal Competition.A graduate of the University of the District of Columbia, Ms. Neal has studied with Jane White, Dr. Kay Song, and Nelda Ormond. She is currently studying under the auspices of Shirley Taylor-Moore.

 

Megan  O'Connor, soprano, Amahl ( Amahl and the Night Visitors), a D.C. area native, is currently completing her BM at Catholic University. She has performed many roles in opera, operettas, and musicals throughout the DC area. These include Anne in A Little Night Music, Cis in Albert Herring, and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance. This past June she also sang the role of a Spirit in Cendrillon with Washington Summer Opera. Last spring Megan was selected as a finalist in the 2005 Palm Beach Competition. She plans to pursue a Master's degree in the Fall of 2006.

 

Kathleen Sasnett, soprano, Witch ( Hansel and Gretel), Mother ( Amahl and the Night Visitors )a former Miss Wa­shington and top ten Finalist in the Miss America Pageant, has thrilled and charmed audiences in America and Europe. With a "voice of great beauty" and "virtuosic technique and control," this award winning soprano gives an "extraordinarily powerful performance" in opera as well as in oratorio and musical theater. Kathleen's vocal and physical versatility enables her to portray demanding dramatic operatic roles such as Mozart's Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, the title role in Puccini's Suor Angelica, and the Mother in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. As a Seattle Opera Young Artist, Kathleen performed over 20 roles in three years to standing ovations, including Liu, Butterfly, Maddalena, Leonora, and Isolde. She has worked with such greats as Maestros Walter Taussig with the Metropolitan Opera, Gerard Schwartz of the Seattle Symphony, Edoardo Moller from Italy, and Hanno Blaschke in Germany, which enabled her to hone her dramatic singing and acting skills for roles like Santuzza, Tosca, Amelia, and Turandot. Equally at home in musical theater, Kathleen has performed over 15 leading roles, including Maria in Sound of Music, Lili in Carnival!, Marian in Music Man, Fiona in Brigadoon, and most recently, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha where she “completely submerged herself into the character.” A Finalist in the Altamura/Enrico Caruso International Vocal Competition, this "lovely soprano" with a "voi­ce vividly alive," has performed with over 25 Northwest pro­fessional groups, and was the featured soprano soloist in such varied works as Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Verdi's Re­qui­em, Mozart's Requiem, Vaughn Williams' Hodie, and Gou­nod's St. Cecilia's Mass, to name a few. Kathleen's bea­uty, expres­siveness, and uniqueness of sound make her an exciting addition to any production. In July of 2004, Kath­leen performed Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites in Florence and Cortona, Italy, and is currently enjoying a Graduate Fellowship at The Ohio State University, earning a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance. The Ohio State University Symphony Orchestra featured Kathleen singing a "thrilling rendition of In questa reggia from Turandot" in December, 2004, and in March, 2005, she performed Leonore in a concert version of Beethoven's Fidelio.This summer, Kathleen performed the Witch in Hansel and Gretel sponsored by the City of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and repeated the role with Bel Cantanti  Opera in October. She is also contracted to perform Giorgetta in the dark one act opera, Il Tabarro, by Puccini, for Amici Opera in Philadelphia in January, 2006.  In February, 2006, Kathleen will sing  Beethoven's "Ah, Perfido!" and Menotti's "Papers Aria" with the Ohio State University Symphony Orchestra, having won the DMA Concerto/Aria Competition last year.

Cynthia Ballentine, mezzo-soprano, is thrilled to be making her Bel Cantanti debut as the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Cynthia Ballentine has performed with several opera companies across the country, including Hawaii Opera Theater, Opera Colorado, the Washington Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, Summer Opera Theatre and the Sarasota Opera. Some of her 28 operatic roles include Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, Charlotte in Werther, Giulietta in Tales of Hoffman, Mercedes in Carmen, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, and The Witch in Hansel and Gretel.  Favorable reviews of her performances have appeared in such publications as Opera News and The Washington Post. In the DC area, she has appeared in concert with the Capitol Hill Choral Society, the Culpeper-Piedmont Choral Society, the Landon Symphonette, and the Hines-Lee Opera. Cynthia recently was a winner in the 2005 Paul Robeson competition.  Ms. Ballentine has also sung the National Anthem for the Washington Redskins football team. Internationally, Cynthia performed the role of Appollonia in Haydn’s La Canterina in Italy.She was also the Soprano II soloist in Mozart’s C minor Mass in the Great Dom church in Salzburg, Austria. Cynthia received her Bachelor of Music degree from James Madison University and her Master of Music from Florida State University, where she was a Graduate Assistant to the Florida State Opera.

Alice Dilon, soprano, makes her second appearance with Bel Cantanti as Zemphira in Aleko.  She first appeared with Bel Cantanti as Countess Ceprano, Giovanna and the Page in the company’s 2004 production of Rigoletto.  In January Ms. Dillon appeared with the IN Series as the 2nd Lady in their production of The Magic Flute.  Her other roles include Voice of Heaven in Don Carlo with Da Corneto Opera Ensemble, Frasquita in Carmen with the American Opera Group, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Deep Ellum Opera Theatre in Dallas, Clorinda in Cenerentola with Bay View Michigan Music Festival, and Pamina and Papagena in The Magic Flute with Opera New England-In School.  She has sung the roles of Elvira in The Italian Girl in Algiers and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro with the UMKC Conservatory.  She has been a soloist in concerts with the Annapolis Opera and the Illiana Oratorio Society.  Other appearances include The Lake George Opera, Light Opera Works, The Boston Lyric Opera, The Chicago Lyric Opera, The Chicago Symphony Chorus, and The Washington Opera. Ms. Dillon has taught at UMKC Conservatory of Music/Continuing Education in Kansas City, Missouri, Tarrant County Junior College in Fort Worth, Texas, South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois, and Morgan State University and Essex Community College in Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Dillon received her D.M.A. from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri, Kansas City where she studied under Inci Bashar.  During her studies she was the recipient the Rheta Sosland Scholarship, the Minority Doctoral Fellowship, the Special Merit Award, and the UMKC Women’s Council Fellowship.  She currently studies with Elizabeth Daniels.

Abigail Wright (Salut a la France!). Abigail Wright is a young lyric mezzo soprano whose excellent musicianship and dramatic skills are matched only by her captivatingly unique and desirable voice. As a versatile and adept performer, Ms. Wright appears in straight theatre, cantata and oratorio performances, and foremost on the operatic stage. In Vpstart Crow’s summer 2006 production of Anne of the Thousand Days, Abigail Wright stood out in her theatrical debut, according to the Washington Post, as a “hotblooded and sensuous Mary Boleyn.” Ms. Wright also received critical acclaim operatically for performing with “delicious flair backed up by splendid diction” and as “acidicly funny and in impressively good voice as Concepción . . . from Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole.” Abigail Wright has participated in master classes with Marilyn Horne, Lauren Flanigan, and Charles Rieker and has been featured operatically in productions directed by Francesca Zambello, Ralf Längbacka, and Keith Warner. She looks forward to the future and her upcoming performances as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and The Good Fairy in Conrad Susa’s Transformations. Since her training at Westminster Choir College, Abigail Wright has studied under the exceptional tutelage of Metropolitan Opera soloists Mark Oswald and Enrico di Giuseppe. Currently, Ms. Wright resides near Washington, DC, where she performs regularly and studies with world-renowned mezzo soprano Delores Zeigler while pursuing a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance at the Maryland Opera Studio.

Claire Kuttler, Mimi ( La Boheme). Soprano Claire Kuttler, a native of Davenport, IA, is pursuing a Masters degree as a member of the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland and studies with tenor Gran Wilson. With the studio, Ms. Kuttler has covered the role of Anne Sexton in Conrad Susa's Transformations and will appear in November 2007 as Elaine O'Neill in Later That Same Evening, a world premiere by composer John Musto, with a libretto inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. The work is a joint commission by the Maryland Opera Studio, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and the National Gallery of Art. In April 2008, Ms. Kuttler will perform Fiordiligi in the studio's production of Cosí Fan Tutte, and in May she will sing her first Mimí with Bel Cantanti Opera. Ms. Kuttler has been involved in several productions with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera Company including La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and the role of 2nd Lady in the company's 2005 production of The Magic Flute. In November 2005, Ms. Kuttler performed on a recital of Grieg songs for the inaugural Edvard Grieg Festival in Minneapolis. A past performer at the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, Ms. Kuttler appeared in the festival's production of Suor Angelica as the 2nd Cercatrice and also performed in an evening of opera scenes. Ms. Kuttler's concert experience includes the soprano solo in Vaughan William's Dona Nobis Pacem with the Handel Oratorio Society of Rock Island, IL, the treble solo in Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb with the Concordia Choir, and the soprano solo in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem for the René Clausen Choral School with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, which was later broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio. In April 2006, Ms. Kuttler was awarded second place in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition in the Advanced Voice category. She also competed in the North Dakota District Metropolitan Opera Auditions and was given an encouragement award.

Susan Wheeler, Konstanze (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail ). Lyric Coloratura Susan Wheeler made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2007 in the Mozart 's Requiem and the Dvorák 's Te Deum, and Augusta Opera welcomed her back as Gretel in that same year. Ms. Wheeler first appeared with Augusta Opera as Olympia, Antonia, and Giulietta in Les Contes d'Hoffmann (2005). She has also performed principal roles with Pacific Opera (Marie,La Fille du Regiment, 2001), Opera Vivente (Norina, 2000), Annapolis Opera (Gretel, Valencienne) and Des Moines Metro Opera (Sophie). In concert, Susan has performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (Cunegonde, Maria, 2003), the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Papagena, 2003) and Piedmont Symphony Orchestra (Cunegonde, 2005, Anne, A Little Night Music, 2003). An Actors' Equity actress, Susan has appeared in musicals with Encores! at City Center (Ensemble Soloist, The New Moon, 2002). During the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, Ms .Wheeler covered the role of Johanna (2002) and performed the role of the Journalist in 90 North, an In The Works production (2000). Ms. Wheeler has performed her Coloratura Bon-Bons recital, featuring showcase arias by Galli-Curci, Tettrazini, and Ponselle, at the Embassies of Austria and the Republic of Korea. She is a winner in the McAllister International Vocal Competition and the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, and a recipient of the Thoman Career Grant.
 

Amy Call, Konstanze (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail). Dramatic coloratura soprano Amy Lynn Call debuts in Germany this season as the Queen of the Night with Chemnitz Oper. She first appeared in Europe in Graz, Austria singing Beethoven’s concert aria “Ah, perfido!” and Violetta’s Act I scena from La traviata with esteemed conductors Cornelius Eberhardt and Alexander Kalajdzic in 2006. After her appearances as Konstanze with Bel Cantanti Opera, she travels to Kansas to sing Siébel with Wichita Grand Opera in Faust with Samuel Ramey, Hector Sandoval, and Svetla Vassileva. Ms. Call has performed the roles of Königin der Nacht (Chemnitz, Döbeln, and Freiberg, Germany, and Shenandoah Conservatory), Fiordiligi (Loudoun Lyric Opera), Mimì (Bay View Music Festival), Violetta (Bethesda Summer Music Festival), Annina (Indiana University), Dido (Opera Roanoke/Virginia Tech Opera), and Lizbeth (Shenandoah Conservatory) and has prepared the roles of Donna Elvira, Vanessa, and Rosalinde. She is currently studying the roles of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Woglinde (Das Rheingold), and Helmwige (Die Walküre). Ms. Call was a finalist in the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria, the Paul Robeson Competition in Washington, D.C. and the Czech and Slovak International Voice Competition in Montreal, Canada. She won the Adrian Boyer Competition at Bay View (2005) and the national Career Performance Grant in Voice from Sigma Alpha Iota in 2006. Currently, she is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at Shenandoah Conservatory, where she studies with Dr. Charlotte Nelson Aiosa. Former beloved teachers include Martina Arroyo, Mary Ann Hart, Craig Fields, and In Dal Choi. She has performed in master classes by Carol Vaness, John Wustman, Martin Katz, and Gabriele Lechner.

Alexandra Christoforakis (Salut a la France!), Marcellina ( Le Nozze di Figaro) is a versatile young American mezzo-soprano who is equally at home in operatic, concert, and cabaret venues. Upcoming engagements for the 2006-2007 season include her debut with Bel Cantanti Opera as a soloist in Salut a la France, a French opera gala and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, a return to the Maryland Opera Studio to sing the roles Phoenice, Melisse, and Naiad in Gluck’s Armide, and performing in the ensembles of Nabucco and The Bartered Bride with Baltimore Opera. Ms. Christoforakis has recently performed the roles of Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflote with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Fidalma in Il Matrimonio Segreto and Sesto in Giulio Cesare with the Maryland Opera Studio, and Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief with New York University. One of her most exciting roles so far has been debuting as Mrs. Malaprop in the World Premiere of Kirke Mechem’s new opera, The Newport Rivals in 2005. Ms. Christoforakis has been equally successful on the concert stage having sung the alto solos in Bach’s Mass in b minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Schubert’s Mass in A Flat , and Handel’s Messiah. She is also sought after for her “stunningly effective” cabaret performances, most notably at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in 2005 and 2006. Ms. Christoforakis has been a Young Artist with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, the Opera and Music Theatre Festival of Lucca, and the Bay View Music Festival. She holds her Master of Music from the University of Maryland (Maryland Opera Studio) and received her Bachelor of Music cum laude from New York University. Ms. Christoforakis is a native of Rochester, New York and currently resides in Washington, DC, studying with Delores Ziegler.

Jennifer Fry, mezzo-soprano, Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor). Jennifer Fry, lyric mezzo, is thrilled to be performing with the diverse talent of Opera Bel Cantanti. This is her third performance with the company. Ms. Fry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia but considers Opera, in particular the bel canto repertoire, to be her true passion. Ms. Fry has studied voice privately for over ten years with teachers Janet Sarsfield, Mary Fletcher, and Delores Ziegler and was a James Bland Music Scholarship 1st place District and 3rd place Regional finalist in 2000. She has performed both in recital in the US and in Italy, and has participated in the Daniel Ferro Summer Vocal Program in master classes with Giovanni Reggioli, Janice Harper-Smith, and Daniel Ferro of the Juilliard School. Ms. Fry currently resides in Arlington and studies with Elizabeth Daniels.

Tara McCredie. Mezzo-soprano Tara McCredie holds a Bachelor of Music from the Catholic University of America, where she performed the roles of Annina in La Traviata, Mrs. Nolan in The Medium and Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors.  Ms. McCredie recently completed her Master of Music with the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland, where she sang Charlotte in Werther and La Haine in Gluck’s Armide. Ms. McCredie is a frequent soloist in the Washington, DC area.

Jessie Sutherland, soprano, Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Musetta ( La Boheme ) is very excited for perform with Opera Bel Cantanti. She has a Bachelor's degree from James Madison University and recently completed her Master of Music degree from Catholic University. Her favorite roles include Laurie Moss in Copland's The Tender Land and Rosalinda in Stauss' Die Fledermaus. She has appeared with the Summer Opera Theatre in Verdi's Rigoletto and Massenet's Cendrillon. Ms. Sutherland studies with Elizabeth Daniels.

Kotnim Chung , soprano, Musetta (La Boheme), a native of South Korea, is currently working towards her DMA at the University of Maryland School of Music. She received her Masters of Music from Temple University and Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University in Korea. She performed with several orchestras including Rumanian Black Sea Orchestra, Seoul Symphony Orchestra and Eurasian Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Nasae Kum. She received numerous invitations from the various music festivals and concerts in Philadelphia, Duluth, Seoul, as well as in other cities in the United States and Korea. Her performances include major roles in Korean creative operas including Ariel in A Little Mermaid, Chohee in Lee Sun Shin, Jiae in Love Concerto, Princess Hong in Boo za yoo chin), Fairy in Fairy & Woodcutter), Chunhyang in Chunhyang, Soonae in Magic Telepathy. She also performed Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Countess in Marriage of Figaro, Grilletta in Lo Speziale, Violetta in La Traviata, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Voluptua in La Pizza con Funghi. This summer she appeares as Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen in Sieur du Luth festival, 2007. She was winner of Paul Robeson Vocal Competition, NATS in MD Region and got a scholarship from Chevi Chase Women's club, and Seoul National University Alumni. She has lectured at Hanyang University, Daezin University, Seoul Art Conservatory, Pyungtack University, and Sun-Hwa Art School, all of Korea, for six years.

Soprano Elizabeth Kluegel, Marie, ( La Fille du Regiment ), performs frequently as an opera singer, concert soloist, and recitalist.  Her voice has been described as a “silvery soprano” and as having a “…brilliant and shimmering tone”.  As Monica in The Medium  The Sunday Telegram (Connecticut) stated “Soprano Elizabeth Kluegel’s performance in ‘’The Medium’ showed her to have the brightest voice of any of the performers.” Ms. Kluegel takes pleasure in being involved with lesser known works and new works.   In the fall of 2001, Ms. Kluegel was featured in the world premiere of In Quiet Resting Places by Daniel Gawthrop with the Master Chorale of Washington at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.  This performance was broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”.  She sang Roberto Gerhard’s lesser-known Cancionero de Pedrell for the European Union Spanish Presidency Concert.  She has performed vocal chamber music concerts of Ned Rorem’s The Last Poems of Wallace Stevens and Earl Kim’s Three Poems in French. On the concert platform, Ms. Kluegel has sung a varied repertoire.  In a 2005 performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise with the New Dominion Chorale, the Washington Post recently called her singing “excellent”.  Ms. Kluegel enjoys vocal chamber music as well, and has performed a varied repertoire including Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with members of the Spokane Symphony.   She has appeared as the soprano soloist in Theresienmesse and The Creation by Haydn, Mass in B Minor by Bach, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, and Messiah, Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor and Vespere solennes de confessore.  She has performed with the Alabama Symphony in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, and with the St. Louis Symphony in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ms. Kluegel has worked with conductors Tom Beveridge, David Loebel, Richard Westerfield, and Robert Lyall. In describing Ms. Kluegel’s performance of Clorinda in La Cenerentola the Grand Rapids Press noted, “In the end, Kluegel won, with small and consistent gestures from the beginning.” She has sung with Virginia Opera, The Kennedy Center Orchestra, Dayton Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Opera International and Capitol City Opera, among others.  Her Oscar in A Masked Ball was described as “…a spitfire of a lad with sunny smile and swagger.”   She sang with the National Symphony in Tchaikovsky’s opera Pique Dame under the baton of conductor Mstislav Rostropovich.  She premiered the role of Bertha in Dayton Opera’s The Last Chance Planet by Carman Moore. Ms. Kluegel’s operatic roles include Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, Oscar in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Monica in Menotti’s The Medium, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Adina in The Elixir of Love, Olympia in the Tales of Hoffmann, and Madame Heartmelt in The Impresario. Ms. Kluegel’s voice has been described as perfect for the intimacy of the song recital. She has performed recitals for the Reinzanaka Recital Series in Tokyo, Japan as well as for the U.S. Department of State.  She has sung recitals and concerts for The Monadnock Music Festival, The Cape May Music Festival, The Mendelssohn Glee Club of New York City, The Rock Spring Recital Series and The Waterford (Virginia) Concert Series.  Continuing her focus on recital repertoire, Ms. Kluegel was chosen to participate in the prestigious Steans Institute for Young Singers at the Ravinia Festival and was asked to return as one of five singers to inaugurate their Program for Vocal Chamber Music. Born in England, Ms. Kluegel was raised in Arlington, Virginia.  She received her Bachelor Degree and Master Degree of Music from Indiana University.  Her achievements include being a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Ms. Kluegel has also received the Camillia Williams Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and an award in the MacAllister Awards Competition.  She is a recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant. Her recent performances include recitals in the Washington D.C. area and Connecticut, Messiah performances in Connecticut and at the Kennedy Center.  Her future engagements include an all Brahms concert at the Banner Arts Studio in Kensington, Maryland and a performance of contemporary chamber music by Janet Peachey.

Light lyric coloratura soprano, Jenny Chen, Brondchen (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail), has been praised for her “confident technique” and “bright, penetrating sound” by the Opera News.  As a member of the Maryland Opera Studio, she has created the role of Valentina in the world-premiere of Later the Same Evening, by John Musto.  Ms. Chen’s operatic roles include: Despina in Così Fan Tutte, Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Coryphée in Armide, and La Cugina in Madama Butterfly.  She has performed in concert: Carissimi’s Jephte, Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Purcell’s Dioclesian, and Ramiraz’. A graduate of the University of Maryland with degrees in Vocal Performance and Psychology, Ms. Chen has won the Homer E. Ulrich Award for Solo Performance and has been a scholarship recipient of the Maryland Distinguished Scholar in the Arts.  She has attended the Amherst Early Music Workshop, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Heifetz International Summer Music Festival, all with scholarship.  In the 2008-2009 season, Ms. Chen will be a resident artist of Opera Carolina and will represent the company on tour performing the role of Rosina in The Barber of Siviglia.

Eric Christopher Black, baritone, Malatesta ( Don Pasquale ), created the role of Ronaldo Cabral in Later the Same Evening by John Musto while earning his Master's degree with the Maryland Opera Studio, garnering praise for his "strong singing" and "florid" character from Opera News. His repertoire is quite diverse, ranging from baroque to many 21st-century pieces, including Malatesta, Danilo, Guglielmo, Dr. Falke, Montauciel in Monsigny's Le Déserteur, Clausen's a new Creation, Duruflé's Requiem, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and several newly composed works. Mr. Black been invited to perform at major venues across the US and Italy, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Teatro Duse in Asolo, Italy, the Opera Theater of Lucca, and the Naxos Label. More information can be found at his website: www.EricChristopherBlack.com.

Nemeh Azzam, baritone, Rigoletto (Rigoletto), Belcore ( L'Elisir d'Amore ), is a native of Lebanon. During his five years at the Catholic University of America, he performed many recitals and concerts including Strathmore Hall, the Barnes of Wolf Trap, St. Mathews Cathedral, The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the National Building Museum. He was a soloist in a telecast performance of the Messiah and in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Georgetown Symphony Orchestra. Recently, he performed the role of Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Virginia Opera, where he also covered the role of Rigoletto. He has performed many roles with the Albany Symphony Orchestra including: Rigoletto, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly; and Enrico in Lucia di Lamermoor. Additional roles performed at the Harke Theater include: Guglielmo  in Cosi Fan Tutte;  Bob in Old Maid and the Thief; Father in  L’enfant Prodigue and  Sam  in Trouble and Tahiti. Mr. Azzam has been the winner of many competitions and grants including: The American Opera Scholarship Society, N.A.T.S; 2nd place in the Wolf Trap Vocal Competition, The Catherine Filene Shouse Award; The Khalil Gibran Young Artist Award, The Young Singer’s Foundation Award and the Metropolitan Opera Regional Award. He is the featured singer on two recordings:  The Midnight Star  a Christmas Album, and  Comfort Ye  a sacred collection of songs performed with the Army Band Orchestra. Future Engagements include: Belcore  in Donizetti’s L' Elisir d'Amore with Bel Cantanti Opera company in Washington D.C.; a recital at Merkin Hall in New York City; Amanasro  in Verdi’s Aida and Valentin in Gounod’s Faust with The Albany Symphony Orchestra.

Adam Juran, baritone, Onegin (Eugene Onegin)a native of  Washington, D.C, most recently portrayed Don Carlo in La Forza del Destino with Opera in the Heights.This past summer he performed the title role in Eugene Onegin with the International Opera Workshop in Burgas. Earlier in 2004 he was a Resident Artist with the Natchez Opera Festival where he was heard as Steve in Showboat, as Dr. Draegon in The Twilight of Magic for Natchez’s outreach program, and also covered the Mandarin in Turandot. In October of 2003, Mr. Juran toured Poland with the Polish Theater Institute singing Stanislaw in Moniuszko’s one-act opera Verbum Nobile. Previously that year, he was a Young Artist with the Natchez Opera Festival where he sang Marullo in Rigoletto, covered Mercutio in Romeó et Juliette and also took part in their outreach program. Mr. Juran has also performed many roles at Amato Opera, among them Marcello in La Bohème, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in Carmen, and Silvio in I Pagliacci. Upcoming engagements include Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore at Amato Opera and Count di Luna in Il Trovatore in Burgas with the International Opera Workshop. Mr. Juran resides in New York and is also the Webmaster for CitySites Real Estate Group

 Noah Stewart, tenor, Vaudemont (Iolanta), is a native New Yorker. Recent highlights this season include Luigi in Il Tabarro with the Vertical Players’ Repertory, his Kennedy Center debut honoring Soprano Jessye Norman, include Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with The One World Symphony, Concerts in Cologne, Germany with The Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, Nemorino in L'elisir D'Amore with the Martina Arroyo Foundation,  Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte with The Academy of Vocal Arts, Count Vaudemont in Tschaikovsky's Iolanta, which was a premiere for Philadelphia also at The Academy of Vocal Arts. Pervious roles include Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo with The Vertical Players’ Repertory, Gastone in La Traviata under the Baton of Julis Rudel and El Remedado in Carmen, Elder Hayes in Carlyle Floyds’ Susannah with The Palm Beach Opera and opera scenes featuring the roles of Faust, Ferrando and Don Ottavio under the tutelage of Martina Arroyo. Mr Stewart’s Sacred performances include Tenor soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with The Sequence Ensemble and Handel’s Messiah, the role of Jesus from Beethoven’s Oratorio The Mount of Olives and Tenor Soloist in Mendelssohn’s  Elijah. Noah is a winner of many awards which include The Marian Anderson Encouragement Award, Second Place Winner of The Leontyne Price Competition, Gold Medalist of The Five Towns Vocal Music Competition, Winner of The Palm Beach Opera Competition, First Place Winner of The Florida Grand Opera Competition, and The Outstanding Vocal Potential Award given by The Kurt Weill Competition, Winner of The Opera Index Award Grant and Finalist of The George London Competition. Upcoming performances include the Role of Rumpelstilskin in Conrad Sousa’s Opera Transformations with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program.

 Vladimir Ekzarkhov, bass, Prince Gremin ( Eugene Onegin ), Old Gypsy ( Aleko ), King Renee ( Iolanta),  was born in Austria to parents whose families had emigrated from Russia after the 1917 revolution.  As a schoolboy, he studied the piano and trombone and sang in a Russian Orthodox church choir. He began vocal studies after moving to the Washington, DC, area in 1980 and in 1982 made his operatic debut with the Summer Opera Theater.  He has subsequently performed as a soloist with the Washington Opera, Fairfax Symphony, Choral Arts Society, Masterworks Chorus, Capitol Hill Chorale, Laurel Oratorio Society, Opera Orchestra of New York, Victorian Lyric Opera Company, and the choir of St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral.  Mr. Ekzarkhov has also been active as a recitalist, presenting critically acclaimed programs of arias and songs by Glinka, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.

David Bitler, tenor, Pedrillo (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail), is very excited to perform his first role with Opera Bel Cantanti. Mr. Bitler received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Susquehanna University in 2005. While pursuing his undergraduate degree David had the opportunity to perform Nanki-Poo in The Mikado and Donald in Gallentry – A Soap Opera. A relative new comer to the Washington D.C. music scene David has performed with the Thomas Circle Singers since the 2006–2007 season, and has performed as Tenor Soloist with the choirs of St. Dunstans Episcopal Church and Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church under the direction of organist, Julie Vedrick Evans. Currently Mr. Bitler continues his pursuit of vocal studies privately with Mr. Francois Loup.

Charles Williams, Pasha Selim  (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail), has won international acclaim since his opera debut at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has performed in theaters and opera houses, for radio and television in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich and Vienna. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess under the baton of James Levine. Charles performs with percussionist/composer Tom Teasley as part of the duo Word-Beat. They have released two CDs, Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song and The Soul Dances. He teaches voice at the Levine School of Music. Charles has a featured role in The Temptation of Saint Anthony, a music theater work directed by Robert Wilson with music and libretto by Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon. This production has been presented at L’Opera Garnier in Paris, the Spotkania Festival in Warsaw, at the Melbourne International Arts Festival and, in December of 2007, at the Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, Italy. Charles is thrilled to be working with Francois Loup and the talented young singers in this production.

Tom O'Grady, Pasha Selim, Guard (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail), Sergeant ( La Boheme) Tom O’Grady is a life long opera enthusiast. His ensemble singing has included Faure’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rutter’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Beatus Vir. He also sings as a tenor supporting the World Children’s Choir, as well as recording their concerts. A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, he practices law in northern Virginia as a corporate lawyer representing technology companies in corporate and technology transactions when not pursuing his love of music.

Kwand Kyu Lee, bass, Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Osmin ( Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail ), Mr. Lee, is currently a DMA candidate in voice at The University of Maryland, where he also received his MM in Voice in 2002.   He earned his BM in Vocal Performance from The Han-Yang University in Korea.   He was awarded the NJ Opera Vocal Competition and third place in the LiederKranz Foundation Vocal Competition in 2005, grand prize in The Annapolis Opera Competition in 2002, and was a Regional winner for The Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2001.   Operatic repertoire includes Sparafucile in Rigoletto for Summer Opera in 2005; Montano in Otello for Summer Opera in 2004; The Commendatore in Don Giovanni for Annapolis Opera; Collinein La Boheme for The Music Festival in St. Bartheleme in Caravian; and Betto in Gianni Schicchi for Opera International. Oratorio work includes the Bass soloist in the Haydn’s Creation , the Dvorak’s Stabat Mater , Beethoven's 9 th Symphony , the Bach Magnificat and Handel's Messiah.  

Seungwook Ryu, tenor, Rodolfo (La Boheme). A native of South Korea, Seungwook Ryu studied voice as an undergraduate at Dankook University, and Opera at Korean National University of Arts where he appeared as a soloist in Handel's Messiah and as Ferrando in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. In the United States, Seungwook received a Graduate Performance Diploma at Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Stanley Cornett. At Peabody, he sang the role of Bardolfo in Verdi's Falstaff in 2005 and Hoffmann in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann in 2007. For Bethesda Summer Music Festival he sang the role of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. He has also appeared at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival where he sang Cavaradossi in Tosca, Tonio in Daughter of the Regiment, and Rodolfo in La Boheme. He was a tenor soloist for Handel's Messiah with the Landon Symphonette in Bethesda, Maryland in 2007. Last January, he was a tenor soloist for a Puccini Opera Gala Concert for Opera per Tutti in Cleveland, Ohio. He will sing the role of Otello with Taconic Opera in June 2008.

Michael Miersma, baritone, Shaunard (La Boheme). Lyric Baritone Michael Miersma has emerged as a leading young talent in the Portland opera scene through his roles with the nationally acclaimed PSU opera program and with the local company Opera Theater Oregon. Michael started with PSU performing smaller roles in Gianni Schicchi, Amahl and the Night Visitors and Tartuffe. In the spring of 2007 he first garnered attention with the role of Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte under the direction of the Maestro Tito Capobianco. Willamette Week had this to say, “Michael Miersma…impressed as a Guglielmo with keen comic timing”. Later in the fall he took on the role of Steve “Fabio” Belcore in the adventurous re-telling of Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore re-titled Muscle Max with O.T.O. Recently Michael returned to PSU opera for their spring production of La Boheme as the musician Schaunard, having the privilege of working under Mr. Capobianco’s direction for a second time. The production solidified his position as a top comic baritone in the NW, the Oregonian saying, “Lyric baritone Michael Miersma brought charisma and a confident, easy delivery to the role of the musician Schaunard” and James Bash of NW Reverb adding, “Michael Miersma cut a dashing Schaunard, the musician, singing, dancing, mock fighting, and doing whatever was asked with the utmost panache. Miersma's baritone had lots of volume and a burnished quality”. Michael is an Oregon Laurel’s scholar and a student of David Jimerson. He feels very lucky and proud to be working with a company like Bel Cantanti in his first show on the east coast.   

Zachary Nelson, baritone, Marcello (La Boheme). Mr. Nelson is a Junior Vocal Performance major on scholarship at The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Roles to his credit are: Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, Achilla and Curio in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Antonio in Opera Bel Cantanti’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Martin in Bernstein’s Candide, Mr. Dashwood in Adamo’s Little Women, Sciarrone in Puccini’s Tosca, and Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore. This spring Mr. Nelson will be doing the roles of Mr. Webb in Rorem’s Our Town Marcello in Puccini’s La Boheme, and Morales in Bizet's Carmen. He studies with Sharon Christman.  

 Paul McIlvaine, tenor, Witch (Hansel and Gretel). Paul McIlvaine’s most notable roles include Florestan in Fidelio, Erik in The Flying Dutchman, Sam in Susannah, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Paco in La Vida Breve, Alfredo in La Traviata, and Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca.  He has also appeared in a number of contemporary operas, including Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Michael in Emperor Norton, Allen in Cue 67, The Preacher in Yonder Mountain, Ben Benito in Moneta, Captain Silvio in Doctor Miracle, and the title role in The Decorator.  Paul has an extensive Oratorio repertoire and has sung as tenor soloist with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Mercersburg (Pennsylvania) Chorus, Mastersingers of Philadelphia, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and others in such works as the Andrew Lloyd Weber Requiem, Haydn's The Creation, Puccini's Messa di Gloria, and the Verdi Requiem.  He has also appeared in Musical Theater as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Alexius in The Chocolate Soldier, Sid El Kar in The Desert Song, and Sir Harry in Once Upon a Mattress.  Paul spent the first two years of his life as a resident of West Collingswood, New Jersey.

 Issachah Savage, tenor, Young Gypsy (Aleko), King Kaspar ( Amahl and the Night Visitors ), Vaudemont ( Iolanta) is a native of Philadelphia who is said to be “one of America’s most promising young talents”. With his dramatic and lyrical qualities, Mr. Savage is taking the opera and concert stage by storm.  Mr. Savage has proved to be equally effective in both leading and supporting roles.  Having traveled extensively throughout North America, Europe, and South Africa, Mr. Savage has sung under the baton of some of the world's most respected conductors including; Kurt Masur, Nathan Carter, Robert Shaw, Yuri Temirkanov, Moses Hogan, James Caraher, Bobby McFerrin and Murry Sidlin.  Among his opera credits at CUA; are Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Armed Man in Die Zauberflote, Mayor Upfold in Albert Herring, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Martin in The Tenderland; Alfredo in La Traviata, and the Crab Man in Porgy and Bess with Opera Company of Philadelphia; Brack Weaver in Down in the Valley with the Morgan State Opera Theater; Cassio in Otello with Summer Opera Theater.  Mr. Savage’s concert and oratorio repertoire include: Mozart’s Requiem with The Peabody Chamber Orchestra. The world premiere concert and recording of Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise with the New York Philharmonic, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Hailstork’s I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Nathaiel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses all performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming performances include Young Gypsy in Aleko,  Vaudemont in Iolanta, King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors all performed with Opera Bel Cantanti and a host of recitals and concerts nation wide.  

 Jose Sacin, tenor, Lenski ( Eugene Onegin ) . Peruvian tenor Jose Sacin, whose voice “has a velvety nap and nice variety of color” (Washington Post) and “has the wickedly high notes that stop the show” (The Capital, Annapolis) has performed as a soloist with the Washington Opera (Prince of Persia in Turandot), the Caramoor International Festival, Brevard Music Festival (Rodolfo in La Bohème), Opera North (Nerone in L`Incoronazione di Poppea), the Annapolis Opera (Soloist in concerts), the Choral Arts Society of Washington DC (soloist in Ramirez’s Misa Criolla), the Pan American Symphony Orchestra (Paco in La Vida Breve), Opera Camerata of Washington (Fernando in the American Premiere of Donizetti's Marino Faliero, Tenor Soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle), Opera Diaspora (Donatien in Le Code Noir), Washington Conservatory Opera (Lenski in Eugene Onegin), Catholic University of America Hartke Theatre (Aegisthus in the World Premiere of the opera Agamemnon by Andrew Earle Simpson), Maryland Opera Studio (Tamino in Die Zauberflöte), the Washington Bach Consort, Springfield Chorale, St. Ann’s Festival Choir, Coral Cantigas and the In Series. Most recently Mr. Sacin has appeared in recital at the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, Russia and at the Montclair State University. Jose Sacin has performed in such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Embassies of Spain and Italy in Washington DC, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City, Teatro Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, the US Department of State, the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, Montpellier Cultural Arts Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Mexican Cultural Institute, the National Theatre and the Lyceum of Old Town Alexandria. Jose Sacin is a winner of the Montpellier Cultural Arts Center Competition in 2001, the 1999 Annapolis Opera Competition and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, a finalist in the Mid-Atlantic Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition 2001-2002 and a study grant recipient in 2002 Licia Albanese-Puccini International Vocal Competition. He was also a recipient of the Institute of Arts and Marriott Scholarships. Sacin is a featured soloist in the Choral Arts Society recording of Ramirez's Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra to be realeased by Naxos later this year.

 Mr. Domínguez, tenor, Tonio ( La Fille du Regiment ), (Masterpieces of Bel Canto), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), is originally from Caracas, Venezuela.  He started his musical career at a young age playing the violin under the guidance of Cuban violinist Andres Trujillo.  He studied at the Escuela de Musica de Chacao, in Altamira, Caracas.  At the age of seventeen he was admitted to the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music, where he studied voice with Prof. William Alvarado, viola with Prof. Daniela Pardo, and vocal repertoire with Prof. Madalit Lamazares.  He also worked and sung with the prestigious baroque and classical music group La Camerata de Caracas, under the direction of mezzo soprano Isabel Palacios.  He then studied voice with Prof. Wilmer Garcia and Prof. Aida Navarro.  In 1992 he was admitted to the Academia Latino Americana de Canto Carmen Teresa Hurtado, also in Caracas, where he studied voice with Romanian Prof. Marioara Urduk and repertoire with Prof. Pedro Liendo.  In 1993 he started working vocal technique with Dr. Kathleen Wilson, from the University of New Hampshire.   In 1994 Mr. Domínguez was granted a full vocal scholarship from the University of New Hampshire where he continued working with Dr. Wilson, studying viola with Prof. Robert Eschbach, and conducting with his advisor and dear friend, the late Dr. Cleveland 'Buddy" Howard Jr.  He has performed Rodolfo in La Bohème and Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly.  Most recently he has performed Prince Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute and Colonel Fairfax in Arthur Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard with the Washington Savoyards.  His non operatic repertoire includes Handel's Messiah, which Domínguez has performed as a conductor, soloist, and violist.  He has also conducted productions of Fiddler on the Roof, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.  He has also sung the solo tenor in the Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Bach's Magnificat, Mozart's Requiem, Mozart's C minor Mass "The Great", Mozart Coronation Mass, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Monteverdi's Verpers for the Beata Vergine, 1610.  Mr. Domínguez and his wife live in the  Washington DC metropolitan area.  He is currently a voice student of Maestro Russell Penney and repertoire of Dr. Carlos Rodriguez.

 Heyk Chae, tenor, Rodolfo (La Boheme). Tenor Heyk Chae, originally from South Korea, is an Opera Graduate Performance Diploma student at Peabody Conservatory in Stanley Cornett’s studio. He holds a B.M. from Yonsei University in South Korea, a Performance Diploma from Indiana University, and he will complete the GPD in 2007. He has held merit scholarships at Indiana University and Peabody. Mr. Chae has won first prize in the Asian Association Competition and the Paul Robeson Competition, as well as placing fourth in the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition in 2006. Roles include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte, Yonsei University; Rudolfo (La Bohème, Indiana University and Peabody Opera Theater); Mr. Erlansson (A Little Night Music); and Hoffmann (Les Contes d’Hoffmann). He is an avid performer in the community with the Baltimore Opera Chorus, Annapolis Opera, and Baltimore Concert Artists.

Patrick Layton, tenor, Belmonte (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail). After a five year hiatus, Patrick returned to music three years ago. His first engagement took him to Spain in June of 2005, where he competed in Placido Domingo’s World Voice Competition, Operalia. Since then Mr. Layton has been a finalist in Portland Opera’s Eleanor Lieber Awards as well, twice, a finalist at The Palm Beach Opera Voice Competition. Patrick was awarded third prize at the Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards at Orlando Opera. Past engagements have included the chorus at Opera Pacific, having been involved in Productions of Aida, Italian Girl in Algiers, Tosca, Don Giovanni, Carmen, and L’elisir D’amore. He has performed the role of Nemorino in Orange County Opera’s outreach production of Elixir of Love, and Lindoro in the company’s production of Barber of Seville. Patrick made his main stage debut as Edoardo in Lyric Opera of Los Angeles’ production of Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno. He is currently a Studio Artist with New Jersey Opera, covering the role of Romeo in Gounod's masterpiece, Romeo et Juliet.

 Adam Hall, tenor, Belmonte (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail). Adam Hall, tenor, is a Masters student in the University of Maryland Opera Studio.  His roles there include Harlekin / Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Ferrando / Cosi fan tutte, El Remendado / Carmen, and Jimmy in the new opera Later the Same Evening by John Musto.  This is Mr. Hall's first production with Bel Cantanti.  Other previous roles include Borsa / Rigoletto, 2nd Priest & 1st Armored Man / Die Zauberflote, Ruiz / Il Trovatore, and Spoletta / Tosca.  Called "a fine soloist" by The Washington Post, his "robust tenor voice" and "dead-on acting" (Opera News) mark him as an upcoming singer to watch.  Mr. Hall will spend this summer studying with Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.  He also sings regularly with The Washington National Opera and Baltimore Opera as well as soloing with many local groups, including Cantate Chamber Singers, Choralis, The Washington Chorus, and Chantry.

 Kevin Perry, tenor, Vaudemont (Iolanta), (Salut a la France!). Most recently performing as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca for the Maryland Opera Society, Kevin’s additional credits include Rodolfo in La Boheme for the American Center for Puccini Studies, Alfredo in La Traviata for the Amalfi Music Festival in Amalfi Italy, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for the Baltimore Municipal Opera Company in Maryland, and Rodolfo in La Boheme for Lancaster Opera Pennsylvania.  Additional roles include The Caliph in Kismet, Ruel in The Scarf, Alexis Poindextre in The Sorcerer, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Frederick in A little Night Music, and Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods.  Kevin has been the tenor soloist in recent productions of The Messiah by Handel for the Fredericksburg Community Chorus and the Stafford Choral Society, The Creation by Haydn for the Stafford Choral Society, Mozart’s Requiem for Mary Washington College’s Fredericksburg Singers and the Mclean Symphony, and The Seven Last Words by Dubois.    He was a graduate from Mary Washington College, degreed in Music.  Upcoming engagements include Prince Vaudemont in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta for the Bel Cantanti Opera Company.

 Alexader Kugler, tenor, Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro), is the winner of the 2004 Paul Robeson Vocal Competition and a finalist in Palm Beach Opera's Vocal Competition 2005.  He also is a winner of Catholic University's Concerto Competition in which he performed Lenski's Aria from Eugene Onegin.  In 2005 Alexander performed the role of Rinuccio from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and also the title role of Albert Herring from Benjamin Britten's opera.  In the debut performance of Andrew Earle Simpson's wedding oratorio A Crown of Stars, Kugler's performance was called "heartfelt and sensitive" by the Washington Post.  Alexander sings regularly with the opera choruses of the Washington National Opera, Baltimore Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Washington Concert Opera.  In March of 2005 Alexander performed the tenor solo in Mozart's Requiem with the Maryland Choral Arts Society and this past November appeared as the tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah at Hood College of Maryland.  Kugler is a soloist with the historic Washington Street United Methodist Church of Alexandria and is a featured soloist on the new CD of Zemer Chai, the Jewish Community Chorus of Washington.  He received his BM from Northwestern University in Chicago where he performed with the Northshore Opera Company as well as several roles with the University's opera program.  Alexander will graduate this winter with his master's degree in Vocal Performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington.

 John R. Wiggins, tenor, Triquet ( Eugene Onegin ),King Kaspar ( Amahl and the Night Visitors ), Almeric ( Iolanta), received his bachelor's degree in trumpet performance from Florida State University, and has studied graduate musicology at the University of Maryland.  Having fallen in love with opera from the pit and the classroom, he began studying voice and has since performed many operatic roles and presented recitals and concerts in both the Washington D.C. area and in New York.  His roles include; Don Jose in Carmen, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor.

 Matt Osifchin, baritone, Sergeant Sulpice, (La Fille du Regiment), ( Viva Mozart!), Robert (Iolanta), Count (Le Nozze di Figaro), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), is a native of Doylestown, Pensilvania.  He began studying voice with Neal Tracey and earned his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University, where he performed the roles of Melisso in Handel’s Alcina and a Señor in Bernstein’s Candide. Mr. Osifchin recently finished graduate work at the University of Maryland, in the Opera Studio led by Leon Major and had the opportunity to study with the world renowned bass-baritone Francois Loup. He performed leading roles in productions of Cosi fan Tutte and La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart, Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Offenbach,  Serse by Handel, and, the world premiere of Michael Patton's Reunion. Mr. Osifchin has gone on to become a featured performer in the Washington area.  He was recently a finalist in the NSO young soloist competition, and performed at the Kennedy Center.  He has appeared as a guest soloist with the Fairfax choral society.  This past summer he performed the role of Talbot in Maria Stuarda with Opera Bel Canto.  Mr. Osifchin is a member of the Baltimore and Washington opera chorus.     

Sean Pflueger, bass Alcindoro, Benoit (La Boheme), most recently performed The Count in John Philip Sousa’s Desiree with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company and Bob in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief with Virginia Concert and Opera Theatre. Mr. Pflueger, this past season, sang in Bel Cantanti Opera’s Le Nozze Di Figaro, Lucia di Lammermoor, Salut a la France! Gala, and as a soloist on Masterpieces of Bel Canto Gala. This season he will appear as Alcindoro and Benoit in Bel Cantanti Opera’s La Boheme. Mr. Pflueger has also performed the roles of Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Chevalier in Victor Herbert’s Madeleine, Master Spinelloccio and Amatio di Nicolao in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and St. Peter in Edwin Penhorwood’s Too Many Sopranos. He has also performed in many recitals, straight plays, and musicals. He holds a Bachelors of Music degree from James Madison in Harrisonburg, VA where he studied with baritone In Dal Choi. He is currently studying with soprano Laurie Nelson in Northern Virginia.

John White, tenor, Parpignol (La Boheme), sings with a number of local opera companies, including Bel Cantanti, Loudoun Lyric Opera, and the Aria Club of Washington. He has appeared in over a dozen opera productions, including Barber of Seville, Daughter of the Regiment, Aleko, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Cavalleria Rusticana, Cosi fan Tutte, Hansel and Gretel (the Witch), Marriage of Figaro (Don Basilio), Rigoletto (the Duke), and Die Fledermaus. John performs with his church and for community charity activities, and has also sung with the St. Catherine of Siena Choir and the Vienna Choral Society. John’s vocation is in the field of computational linguistics and foreign language technologies, and he is widely published in the field of automatic language translation.

Andrew Adelsberger bass, Doctor Dulcamara, (L'Elisir d'Amore), holds a Bachelor of Music from the Catholic University of America, where he performed such roles as Grandpa Moss in The Tenderland, and the titles roles in Gianni Schicchi and Agamemnon, the world premier opera by Andrew Simpson.  Andrew has performed with the Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival (Dr. Bartolo, Le nozze di Figaro; Oroveso, Norma) and with the Summer Opera Theater Company (Speaker and Second Armored Man, Die Zauberflöte).  He is currently a graduate student with the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland where he studies with the renowned Swiss bass, François Loup.

Jeffrey Tarr, bass, Dr. Bartolo, (Le Nozze di Figaro), received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tennessee Temple University and a Masters of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University.  His operatic credits include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Father Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, and the Parson/Badger in The Cunning Little Vixen. Mr. Tarr recently made his Washington National Opera debut as the Soldier in Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, starring Mirella Freni. He has also performed as a soloist with the New Dominion Chorale, Concert Artists of Baltimore, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, and the Choral Arts Society of Chattanooga.  Mr. Tarr has won awards at the 2004 Annapolis Opera Competition, the 2004 Orpheus Vocal Competition, 2004 Marie Crump Vocal Competition, the 2005 Vocal Arts Society’s Discovery Series, and the 2006 Gretchen Hood Vocal Competition.  His upcoming engagements include Bass Soloist for First Night Annapolis with the Annapolis Opera, Collatinus in Rape of Lucretia at the Theater Project in Baltimore, and Osmin in a concert version of Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Maryland Concert Opera in Frederick, MD.

Daniel Collins, baritone, Shaunard, (La Boheme), is a  young, vibrant baritone born and raised in Waco, Texas.  Mr. Collins attended the University of North Texas where he recently received his bachelor degree in Vocal Performance under the teaching of Dr. Linda DiFiore.  Tim Page with the Washington Post most recently described Mr. Collins as a “funny, exuberant and enormously likable” Papageno during Summer Opera Theater’s performance of The Magic Flute.  In the Fall of 2005, the Post critiqued Daniel in Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia’s Barber of Seville as a “bright and bouncy” Figaro who delivered his lines with “aplomb.”  Mr. Collins, while in the Fall of his senior year at the University of North Texas, performed as a Young Artist with El Paso Opera immediately returning to sing Sharpless in Madama Butterfly.  Subsequently, in the Spring of 2005, Daniel left for Albuquerque to perform the Marquis in La Traviata with Opera Southwest and then returned for his last collegiate production playing Sid in Albert Herring.  Daniel has most recently completed the Kentucky Opera Studio Program where he sang the Mandarin in Turandot and in Dialogues of the Carmelites conveyed the 1st Officer, 2nd Commissioner, and Jailor with uniquely menacing personalities.  Mr. Collins has performed the roles of Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Masetto in Don Giovanni, the Clock in L’Enfant et les Sortileges, and Haushofmeister in a world premiere of Dorian Gray.  Daniel has sung with Fort Worth Opera, Crested Butte Opera, Concert Royal, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Seagle Music Colony, and Waco Lyric Opera.  He was a finalist for Dallas and El Paso Opera Guild Competitions as well as the NATS Singer of the Year Competition.  In 2004, Mr. Collins was named University of North Texas Outstanding Undergraduate Singer of the Year.  Daniel currently resides in Washington, DC where he performs with Washington National Opera and is a staff soloist at the President’s Church, St. John’s Lafayette Square. 

 VaShawn Savoy McIlwain, baritone, King Melchior ( Amahl and the Night Visitors), is a native of Washington, D.C. and graduate of the famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Mr. McIlwain holds a BM from the University of Northern Iowa and is currently in his second year with the Maryland Opera Studio. He has sung with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Steven Simon and has performed the European premiere of H. Leslie Adams Drums of Tragedy at the 562nd anniversary of the Battaglia di Anghiari. Mr. McIlwain has recently appeared with Washington National Opera as Chief Cameahwait and Sergeant Floyd in Mager's Dream of the Pacific. His roles include Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Sodo in Yuzuru. Upcoming performances include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and the King in Susa's Transformations.

 Robert Ritter, bass baritone, Dulcamara ( L'Elisir d'Amore ) , Doctor Bartolo ( Il Barbiere di Siviglia )  is a New York native, and grew up in Fairfax, Virginia. He received degrees in engineering and business from The University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and George Mason University.  Robert has been performing in the Washington area since 1997, and has had roles with Opera Bel  Cantanti, The Washington Savoyards, Victorian Lyric Opera, Vienna Light Opera and George Mason Opera companies.  Robert has been described by The Washington Post as being among the "strongest and true to character performers" in several productions.  He recently performed the roles of Dulcamara in L' Elisir d'Amore with Bel Cantanti, and Papageno in Die Zauberflote with the Vrenios Opera Studio.  Other roles include Uberto in La Serva Padrona, King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Postman  in The Scarf, The Pirate King and Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance, Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Grosvenor in Patience, Thomas Brown in The Zoo, Strephon and Private Willis in Iolanthe, The Usher in Trial By Jury, and Rigoletto in Talk Opera.  Robert studies voice with Dr. Jane Tavernier.  He is the director of business development for satellite control and communication networks, and directs the drama program at the Edlin School in Reston.

 Douglas Benton, lyric baritone, Hortensius (La Fille du Regiment), King Melchior, (Amahl and the Night Visitors), has performed in small and regional companies on the East Coast and locally with the Tantallon Community Players (Ko-Ko, The Mikado), Mount Vernon Players (Bumerli, The Chocolate Soldier), Victorian Light Opera (Falke, Die Fledermaus), and Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia.  He is a frequent recitalist, most recently contributing to a rarely heard Brahms song cycle, Die schöne Magalone, as part of the Trinity Church (NYC) concert series.  He studies voice with Roberta Knie and is a former student of Marilyn Cotlow.

 Marina Stiajkina, soprano, Gianetta ( L'Elisir d'Amore ),  is a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia. She holds BA and MA degrees in Philology from Chelyabinsk Teachers Training University, where she received extensive training in languages (English and French). During that period, she simultaneously continued her voice studies. In 1998 she attended artistic seminars in the Moscow State University of Culture (Moscow, Russia) and in Fribourg Conservatoire (Fribourg, Switzerland). While in Switzerland she studied with a prominent soprano Antoinette Faes. Marina Stiajkina is a diploma winner and prizewinner of numerous competitions and festivals. In 2002 she came to the United States to work on her Master of Music degree with the soprano Janette Ogg at Shenandoah University. Shortly after her arrival in the United States she became a grant recipient of the Marion Park Lewis Foundation, Shenandoah Arts Council (Winchester, Virginia). In the spring of 2003 and 2004 she represented the Shenandoah Conservatory at the regional NATS competition. She appeared as Adele in the Shenandoah Opera Production of  Die Fledermaus. As the Winner of 2004 Shenandoah Conservatory Soloists Competition she performed with the Conservatory Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jan Wagner in April, 2004. /tr>

 Anastasia L. Robinson, soprano, Brigitta ( Iolanta), (Masterpieces of Bel Canto), is said to have been “blessed with uncommon power and range in her instrument.”  Her operatic roles include the Queen of the Night and the First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Mary Walcott in Nicholas Van Slyck’s Judgement in Salem and the Sheep in Candide.  She has performed with Washington Concert Opera, Bel Cantanti, In Series, Opera Boston, New England Conservatory Opera Theater, Opera By the Bay and the University of New Hampshire Opera. Equally at home with opera, oratorio and art song, Ms. Robinson has been seen in solo recital at the Concord Music Society as well as a favorite with the University of New Hampshire Concert Choir.  Ms. Robinson studied abroad in Milan, Italy.  While there she was seen in performance with the Libera Accedemia del Parnaso in a Concerto di Poesi:  Il Rinascimento Italiano in Monza. Ms. Robinson is a recent graduate from New England Conservatory with a Masters of Music and has completed a performance training program through Opera Works under the direction of master instructor Ann Baltz.  Ms. Robinson presently resides in Washington, DC with her husband, cellist Charlie Powers.

Jillian Finamore, soprano, Brigitta ( Iolanta), was born in Papua New Guinea and raised in French West Africa.  In 2003, Ms. Finnamore graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in vocal performance.  While there, she performed several roles with orchestra, including First Witch in Dido and Aeneas, La Prima Cercartice from Suor Angelica, and Anna Gomez in The Consul.  She also performed the role of Nadezhda (in Russian) from Rimsky-Korsakov’s little-known opera Boyarina Vera Sheloga. Jillian is equally comfortable on the concert stage and has done extensive oratorio work.  She has been soprano soloist in Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and Handel’s Lord Nelson Mass, among others.  Two of her recital specialties are the song cycles Prayers from the Ark and Libby Larsen’s Cowboy Songs. As a young dramatic coloratura, Ms. Finnamore has worked closely with stage directors Talmage Fauntleroy and Richard Crittenden.  She has participated in both the Harrower and the Crittenden Summer Opera Workshops, performing extensive operatic excerpts from Manon, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Juive, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Cendrillon (Massenet), and Don Pasquale.   In 2004, she created the principal role of Tourist A in the world premiere of the opera Lost in Translation, by Bruce Trinkley and Jason Charnesky.  Recently, she covered the role of Zemphira in the Bel Cantanti production of Aleko.  Future engagements include Brigitta in Bel Cantanti’s spring production of Iolanta and a summer recording of new works by composer Tony Small.

 Rhea Walker, soprano (Salut a la France!), has a Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Dayton and a Masters of Vocal Performance from the University of Akron. She has performed several stage roles including that of 'Countess' in the University of Akron's production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, in Gianni Schicchi and The Monitor in Suor Angelica. Since moving to the Washington, DC area, Ms. Walker has performed as a featured soloist with The Washington Chorus, The Ebony Classical Society, St. Mary's Episcopal Church and Oaklands Presbyterian Church. Solo recitals include the 2004 Young Artist Competition Award Recital sponsored by the Ebony Classical Society, the Living the Legacy 2005 concert series sponsored by World Vision and the April 2005 re-opening of the historic Atlas Performing Arts Center in Northeast Washington, D.C.  She has been described as a 'velvet-toned soprano' in The Washington Post. Recent appearances include 'Peep-Bo' in The Condensed Mikado commissioned by The National Savoyards and hosted by the Atlas Theater and as a soloist on the 2006 Ebony Classical Society Spring Concert. She will appear as Bess in the Prince George's Philharmonic's concert in March 2007, where excerpts from Porgy and Bess will be featured. 

 Jennifer Weingartner, soprano, Amahl ( Amahl and the Night Visitors ),  received her BA in Music from SUNY Stony Brook and a Master’s Degree in Voice from Westminster Choir College.  Her voice teachers include Ruth Golden and Lindsey Christiansen.  She has also worked with vocal coaches John Simmons, J.J. Penna and Dalton Baldwin.  Jennifer recently performed in the Crittenden Summer Opera Workshop in Washington, DC.  She has sung opera and recitals throughout the New York and New Jersey area.  She has appeared as soprano soloist with the Stony Brook University Orchestra and was a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir.  In addition to her vocal pursuits, Jennifer is an elementary music teacher in the Fairfax County Public Schools.  She looks forward to her debut with Bel Cantanti this season.

A native of Philadelphia, mezzo-soprano Kristina Moore, Marquise of Berkenfield ( La Fille du Regiment ), is an active performer both in concert and on the stage. She has given recitals in NYC, Ukraine, Austria, Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE, singing repertoire ranging from Bach and Handel, to Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Barber. Most recently, she appeared on Trinity Wall Street's summer 2005 concert series, in NYC. Ms. Moore is an experienced oratorio soloist, having sung Schubert's Mass in A-flat with the Philadelphia Chamber Chorus, and Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio with the Westminster Choir in Wilmington. In 2004 she toured Italy as soloist with the Westminster Choir, performing at several historic cathedrals, including Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.  On the stage, Ms Moore has appeared in Purcell’s Dido and Aneas, Flotov’s Martha, Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and L'Italiana in Algieri. Upcoming roles include the Marquise of Berkenfield in Donizetti’s La Fille de Regiment  in September, and Laura in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta in May, 2006, both with Bel Cantanti in Washington, DC. Ms Moore is currently attending Temple University's Boyer College of Music, where she has a Boyer scholarship, and studies with Roberta Knie. She holds a BA in Russian from Swarthmore College where she had a Garrigues music scholarship, as well as an endowed scholarship for Eastern European studies. 

Jessica Renfro, (Viva Mozart!), Laura ( Iolanta), (Salut a la France!), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Masterpieces of Bel Canto, Hansel ( Hansel and Gretel).  Jessica Renfro, mezzo-soprano, has been an active performer in the Baltimore/Washington opera community since her arrival in 2001.  Sought out for her “winning characterizations and vivid phrasing” (Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun), she has been described as “simply marvelous” with “deliciously playful comic timing” (Mark J. Estren, The Washington Post) and a “sparkling voice” (T.L. Ponick, The Washington Times).  Her opera credits include  Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Marcellina and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Ramiro in La finta giardiniera, Cenerentola in La Cenerentola, Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, Nancy in Albert Herring and many more with such companies as Opera Vivente, Bel Cantanti Opera, Portland Opera Performing Institute, Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute, and Peabody Opera Theatre. Her concert work includes Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Duruflé’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah and Mahler’s Rückertlieder. She holds a Master’s Degree and Graduate Performance Diploma in Opera from the Peabody Conservatory, where she worked with acclaimed soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson.  This spring Ms. Renfro looks forward to performing the roles of Sara in Tobias and the Angel and Diana in Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera Vivente in Baltimore. 

 Michelle T. Rice, mezzo-soprano, Mother, Witch ( Hansel and Gretel ), has given critically acclaimed performances as Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw, Carmen in Le tragédie de Carmen, the Mother in Hänsel and Gretel, Serse and Arsamene in Serse, Flora Bervoix in La Traviata, Gertrude in Romeo et Juliette, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Irene in Tamburlaine, Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon, Mrs. Olsen in Street Scene, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and the title role in Clara, a new work based on the life of Clara Schumann, for companies including Opera Cleveland, Annapolis Opera, Opera Vivente, the Maryland Opera Studio, and at the Kennedy Center with Maestro Lorin Maazel. Her concert credits include Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Krönungs-Messe, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rossini’s La donna del lago, with groups including the Washington Concert Opera, the UM and UW Symphonies, the Seattle Early Music Guild, and MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall.

Nikki Lawrence, mezzo-soprano, Mother, ( Hansel and Gretel ), is making her debut with Bel Cantanti in the role of Mother. Since moving to the Washington D.C. area she has done workshops with Richard Crittenden singing roles of Augusta, Carmen, Charlotte and Idamante in the scenes from the operas The Ballad of Baby Doe, Carmen, Werther and Idomeneo. Nikki moved to the area from upstate New York after working at Astor’s Beechwood Mansion in Newport, Rl. You can find her singing at Mimi’s American Bistro in Dupont and St. David’s Episcopal Church.

 Pamela Butler, mezzo-soprano, Gianetta, ( L'Elisir d'Amore ), Berta ( Il Barbiere di Siviglia ), Filipyevna ( Eugene Onegin ). Before moving to Northern Virginia in 2002, she performed numerous roles throughout New York State, including Syracuse Opera (Melissa in Princess Ida), Empire Opera Ensemble (Ernesto in Billy Goats Gruff), Binghamton Savoyards (Laetitia in The Zoo), Oswego Opera Theater (The Cousin in Madama Butterfly), and the Earlville Opera House Savoyards (Edith in Pirates of Penzance, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers).  Since moving to this region, she has appeared as Berginella in La Perichole with Washington Savoyards; Hansel in Hansel & Gretel and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro with Loudoun Lyric Opera; Phyllis in Iolanthe with Victorian Lyric Opera Company; as well as with Bel Cantanti.  Pamela Butler is a graduate of LeMoyne College and the Metropolitan School for the Arts, both in Syracuse, and continues her vocal studies with Patricia Wulf.  By day, she is employed as regional Marketing Director for Meadow Glen Assisted Living and also assists with many of the behind-the-scenes operations of Bel Cantanti.

Melissa Kornacki, mezzo-soprano, Maddalena (Rigoletto), Hansel ( Hansel and Gretel )is a native of Frederick, Maryland. She received her Bachelors from Mason Gross School of the Arts - Rutgers University where she studied music education. While at Rugers she appeared as Gertrude in C. Gounod's Romeo and Juliet and the Third Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflote where she later performed this role with The Little Opera Company of New Jersey. Miss Kornacki has been a soloist in performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Vivaldi's Gloria, Saint-Saens's Christmas Oratorio and Handel's Messiah. She also soloed as the alto section leader for the St. Luke'sEpiscopal Church in Gladstone.

Francesca Renee Aquado, mezzo-soprano, Old Gypsy Woman ( Aleko ). Francesca just graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance.  She has performed in ensembles for productions of Les Contes Hoffman, Otello, Suor Angelica, and most recently Giulio Cesare.  In the fall she will return to Maryland to pursue a Master's degree in Voice Performance and to continue her studies with voice instructor Carmen Balthrop.

Carolyn Koller, soprano, Madame Larina ( Eugene Onegin ). Originally from Abingdon, VA, soprano Carolyn Koller has performed in numerous locations regionally and in Washington, D.C. area venues such as the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, and the Washington National Cathedral and with groups that include the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Ballet, and the Cathedral Choral Society, where she was a soloist in its 2002 Joy of Christmas concert which was broadcast on National Public Radio.  Favorites in her oratorio and opera repertoire include Dvorak’s Te Deum, Händel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, Verdi’s Messa di Requiem, Adalgisa in Norma, and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser.  She was seen most recently in the title role in La Juive with the Crittenden Opera Studio and The Aria Club of Greater Washington, and as La Frugola in Il Tabarro with the American Center for Puccini Studies.  Ms. Koller makes her debut with Opera Bel Cantanti as Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin.  A frequent recitalist, Ms. Koller will be featured in the Brahms Birthday Bash concert for the D.C. Public Library 2005 concert series, and she was a featured guest artist at the 2004 Virginia Highlands Festival of the Arts.  Upcoming engagements include recitals in both the United States and Europe.

Alisa Gruindmann, mezzo-soprano, Mother ( Amahl and the Night Visitors). Alisa’s adventurous spirit has led her to perform many different styles of music. This year she premiered two new works which included Damon Ferrante's opera Super Double Lite at NYC's Symphony Space and Mary's Song by Bernadette Brennan. During graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory, her roles with the Peabody Opera Theater and Chamber Opera included Hilary in Daniel Crozier's The Reunion, La Conversation in Charpentier's Les Plaisirs des Versailles, La Principessa in Puccini's Suor Angelica, La Messagiera in Monteverdi's Orfeo, and Bessie in Kurt Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel. Also with the assistance of Roger Brunyate, she and baritone Ryan de Ryke compiled and staged the cabaret Kurt Weill and Jaques Brel on Love and War. At the Amherst Early Music festival this summer Ms Grundmann appeared as the alto soloist in Praetorius and Scheidt: Brass, Reeds, and Voices as well as performing in a staged version of Carmina Burana compiled and directed by Daniel Johnson, Tom Zajac, and Grant Herreid. Past concert credits include Mozart's Credo Mass, The Messiah and Judas Maccabaeas. Her other major roles include Hansel, Tessa in The Gondoliers, the title role in Iolanthe, all with the Cimarron Circuit Opera Company, and Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Instistute, She is a Presser Scholar as well as winner of the Bradley University Concerto/Aria Competition, Benton-Schmidt Vocal Scholarship Competition, SAI Summer Performance Grant, Jane Birkhead Performance Grant, Peabody Merit Scholarship and Career Development Grant, and the Maryland Opera Society Vocal Arts Competition. This fall she will present a recital in honor of St. Cecilia at Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, MD, sing the alto solos in the Bach Magnificat in the Arts at Messiah concert series, and appear with Seven Times Salt, an English Consort that recently made news at Boston's SoHIP festival. Finally, this summer she will finish a broadcast recording project with the Montgomery County Composer's Society and a personal project recording Sorbian folks songs.

Janan Guzey, mezzo-soprano, Maddalena ( Rigoletto), a native of Washington, DC, recently completed the Artist Diploma program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Through the program, she studied extensively with Claudia Pinza, daughter of famed basso Ezio Pinza. She has spent two summers concertizing and coaching in Northern Italy. Since returning to Washington, she has performed most recently at the Library of Congress through the Bulgarian Embassy, and St. Matthew’s Cathedral where she has been a soloist as well as a member of the Capilla Musical Iberoamericana. Ms. Guzey’s roles include Suzuki in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, Mrs. Herring in Britten's  Albert Herring, and Dinah, Trouble in Tahiti.

Danielle Talamantes, soprano, Rosina ( Il Barbiere di Siviglia , Viva Mozart!), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro). Danielle Talamantes, soprano, “Silver-toned and comically skilled” The Washington Post, received her B.A. from Virginia Tech University in 1998, and her MM from Westminster Choir College in 2001. Ms. Talamantes’ opera history includes performances with Spoleto Festival USA, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Roanoke, Nevada Opera, Annapolis Opera and the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia. Roles include Susanna -Le Nozze de Figaro, Corilla-Donizetti’s Le Convenienze de Teatrali, Rosina-Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Erste Dame -Die Zauberflöte and Yum Yum-The Mikado. She looks forward to performing the role of Gretel with Nevada Opera next Spring. Oratorio credits include performances with the New Jersey Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra as well as various DC Metropolitan and Virginia groups including the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Capitol Hill Chorale, the Friday Morning Music Chorale, the Prince William Symphony and the New River Valley Symphony. She will be the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah this spring with the Oratorio Society of Charlottesville and will debut with the New Dominion Chorale in April, 2007 as the Peri in Schumann’s Paradies und die Peri. Ms. Talamantes recently took First Place as well as Most Promising Singer in the 2006 NATSAA Competition. Part of the award includes a fully produced solo debut recital at Weill Recital Hall which will take place in March, 2007. Other recent First Place honors include the Inaugural Long Leaf Opera Competition, the 2006 Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series and the 2006 DC Music Federation Vocal Competition.

 Heather Bingham, soprano, Giovanna, Countess Ceprano, Page (Rigoletto) started singing in church at the age of six, and on the stage as a chorus member of the musical, The Music Man, age nine.  Since then, she has performed different types of music, ranging from gospel and jazz to opera and oratorio.  She graduated from the University of Utah in 1998, where she earned her Bachelor of Vocal Education degree.  While at the University, she performed internationally as a soloist in England, and with the groups Generations of Sound, The Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony, and the University of Utah choirs. Since moving to the Washington area in 2000, she has sung as a soloist and chorus member with The Schola at St. Matthews Cathedral, Christ’s Church of Georgetown, and now sings as the Cantor at St. Rita Church in Alexandria, VA.  Heather’s opera roles include Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and the role of Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.  In 2003, Heather won 1st place in the preliminary rounds in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition.  Most recently, Heather performed as Sophie from Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier trio for Renee Fleming’s Master Class entitled “Gender in French Repertoire.”  Heather is grateful to God for her talents and the opportunity to share them with others.

 Jonathan Schultz, tenor, Lenski (Eugene Onegin), Borsa ( Rigoletto), is pleased to debut with Bel Cantanti in this production. His prior roles include Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore (Victorian Lyric Opera Company), Lenski in Eugene Onegin (Washington Conservatory of Music), Gastone in La Traviata (Bethesda Summer Music Festival), Mr. Angel in The Impresario (Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute) and Leonard Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard (The Washington Savoyards). Additionally, he has performed numerous opera scenes and excerpts with The Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute in San Francisco, the Crittenden Opera Studio and The Aria Club of Greater Washington. Mr. Schultz also has an extensive Cantorial background – he has sung High Holy Day services since 1995 for congregations in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and was a featured soloist at an International Passover Seder at The Embassy of Austria. Mr. Schultz studies voice with Stanley Cornett.

Daryl Ott, baritone, Rigoletto ( Rigoletto ), Basilio ( Il Barbiere di Siviglia ), King Balthazar ( Amahl and the Night Visitors ), (Viva Mozart!) , originally hails from Denver Colorado and has had various artistic pursuits. He was Musical Director and Composer for theatrical productions on the Goldenrod Showboat in St. Louis, and the Heritage Square Opera House in Denver. More  recently (that is without hair), he was Musical Director and Organist for a large church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he resides now. Prior to his operatic debut at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in June of 2003, in Floyd's American Opera Susannah as the Reverend Olin Blitch, he has sung many Baritone solos, including Handel's Messiah with the Fredericksburg  Community Chorus, the Requiem of Gabriel Faure, the Christmas Oratorio of Camille Saint Saens, Brahms German Requiem, as well as Raphael in Haydn's  Creation, all with the Saint Paul Master Chorus in King George Virginia. With Bel Cantanti Daryl has performed Rigoletto in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Don Basilio in Rosinni’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He sang the role of Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni  in a concert setting  with the Landon Symphonette and the baritone solos in Orff's  Carmina Burana    with Dr. Jane Tavernier at the University of Mary Washington last fall, and sang the role of Gianni Schicchi in Puccini's one act Gianni Schicchi at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival this last July under the baton of Joseph Walsh. He currently studies with Anastasios Vrenios in Washington D.C.

David B. Morris, bass, Bertrand ( Iolanta), makes his Opera Bel Cantanti debut in this production. Last season he appeared in Opera Vivente’s concerts of Stravinsky’s Renard and Russian opera arias at the Hillwood Estate and Museum in Washington. For the past ten seasons Mr. Morris has been with the Washington National Opera, where he has appeared in over thirty productions. Last season he performed the role of the Second Priest in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Additional performances with the WNO include the Cappadocian in Salome, the Master of Ceremonies in Sly during the company’s tour in Japan in 2002, the Naval Sergeant in Manon Lescaut, the Commissionario in La traviata, as well as roles in Fedora, Susannah, Don Quichotte, La Bohème, and Billy Budd. Mr. Morris  studied voice with Mary Curtis-Verna and Frank Guarrera at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has given recitals in Austria, England, and Italy, and has sung with the Cologne Radio Chorus under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. In addition to his singing career, Mr. Morris is principal curator of the German collections at the Library of Congress.

Bryan Jackson, baritone, Monterone, Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Figaro ( Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Aleko (Aleko) , King Balthazar ( Amahl and the Night Visitors ), Father Peter ( Hansel and Gretel ), (Viva Mozart!), Ibn-Khakia ( Iolanta), Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) Marcello (La Boheme). Scarpia, Aleko, Figaro, are just a few of the roles in which baritone, Bryan Jackson, is making his mark. “As Scarpia,baritone Bryan Jackson had the strong voice, menacing demeanor and the sinister aura of evil to make the audience hate him, which is the mark of a good Scarpia (Herman Trotter; The Buffalo News)...” “In the role of Figaro, Bryan Jackson combined a voice both rich and agile with a strong personality (Joseph McLellan; RedLudwig.com)…” “Bryan Jackson brings a sonorous, subtly shaded baritone to the role of Aleko. (Joseph McLellan;Washington Post)…”Baritone Bryan Jackson projected enormous energy and considerable beauty in everything he touched” (Joan Reinthaler; Washington Post)…” “Baritone Bryan Jackson was also at the top of his game as the evil Enrico (Lucia), projecting a cold authority with his knife-edged voice and excellent diction” (TL Ponick, Washington Times)..” are among the favorable notices Bryan is receiving. Bryan joined the Washington National Opera as the 3rd Nobleman/Valet in Wolf-Ferrari’s Sly in1999. Most recently, he was Father in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia; Enrico in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor for Bel Cantanti (Washington, DC); Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro for The Austrian Embassy; Amonasro (Aida) and Scarpia (Tosca) for The Amato Opera (NYC);  baritone soloist for Faure’s Requiem for the Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral; baritone soloist for the Vaughn Williams Dona Nobis Pacem for the Georgetown Chorale; Monterone in Rigoletto, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, Father in Hansel and Gretel, and Ibn-Hakia Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta for Bel Cantanti Capelio in Bellini’s I Capuletti ei Montecchi for the Chamber Opera DC;  Second Mate in Britten’s Billy Budd for the Washington National Opera, and Schaunard in both the Puccini and Leoncavallo versions of La Boheme, Guglielmo Wolf in Le Villi, and Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West  for the American Center for Puccini Studies. He has also appeared as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca, with the Buffalo Opera Unlimited and the American Center for Puccini Studies, the Undertaker in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with the New York City Opera, and Steno in Donizetti’s Marin Faliero with the Opera Camerata of Washington. Upcoming appearances include; Death in Gustav Holst’s Savitri and Guglielmo Wolf in Puccini’s Le Villi with the Piedmont Orchestra (VA). Bryan won second place in the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria (AIMS 2002) and was a MacAllister Award semi-finalist.

Matthew P. Dingels, tenor, Almeric ( Iolanta),  currently pursues a masters degree at Peabody Conservatory where he studies with Marianna Busching.  He received B.M. and B.M.Ed. degrees from Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, where he studied with Sophie Ginn-Paster and covered Tamino in The Magic Flute.  He finally got to perform most of the role in Peabody Opera’s outreach production, Papageno!.  Matthew recently gave an acclaimed performance as Quintet-Nymph-Faun respectively in three operas of the Peabody baroque triple-bill, Pastorale and Masque. In 2004, he sang Snout the tinker in A Midsummer Nights Dream at Opera North’s Young Artist Program.  Matthew has appeared as a soloist such oratorio groups as Columbia Pro Cantare and Washington Bach Consort.  He has sung several solos with the St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, including Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio Noël, Rheinberger’s Mass in C and the seldom-performed Mass in B by Vořišek.  Matt was the Tenor soloist in excerpts from Cale’s Kiss with the Peabody CAGE ensemble and in Mozart’s Requiem with Da Camera Players.  Upcoming engagements include chorus in Wolf Trap’s production of Telemann’s Orpheus and music director of the Arlington Youth Street Theater with a show to premiere in August 2006.  Matt composes and arranges music in his spare time, and has premiered and recorded an original big-band jazz composition with the Baldwin-Wallace Jazz Ensemble.  His current long-term project is a collaboration on a Broadway musical with friend, writer, and comic-stripper, Josh Eiserike.

John Day, tenor, Duca (Rigoletto), a native of Hagerstown, MD, John has had a great love of both musical theater and opera since a teenager. Among his favorite roles are both Tommy and Charlie in Brigadoon by Frederick Loewe, Henrick in A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim, Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme, and Tamino in Mozart'sDie Zauberflote. Recently John had a successful turn as Lionel in F.Flotow's Martha for the Concert Opera of Philadelphia. John is equally at home in oratorio and has enjoyed public acclaim as the tenor soloist in Mendelssohn Elijah, Haydn's The Creation,  Handel's Messiah, a number of Handel’s Chandos Anthems, and as The Evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. John is a graduate of the University of Colorado and has sung with many musical organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region, giving recitals, appearing in oratorios and singing with several operatic and musical theatre organizations.

John Boulanger, baritone, Marullo (Rigoletto), is making his Opera Bel Cantanti debut with this production. He has appeared with numerous companies in the greater Washington, D.C. area,. performing roles with The Washington National Opera, The Forgotten Opera Company, The Other Opera Company, The Eldbrooke Artists Series, The Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, The Washington Savoyards, Prince George’s Opera, and Capitol Opera, Inc. Favorite roles include Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Ping in Turandot, Valentin in Faust, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors. A member of the Washington National Opera Chorus since 1988, he created two roles in that company’s world premiere of Dominick Argento’s The Dream of Valentino. In 2002 he took part in the company's tour to Japan and Yokohama, singing nine performances of three operas, including Plácido Domingo’s final performances of Verdi's Otello. In musical theatre, he has performed with the American Century Theatre, Signature Theatre, and the In-Series at Mt. Vernon College. As a recitalist, he has given three performances of Schubert’s Winterreise in recent years, and appeared in two programs at the Supreme Court of the United States, including the Washington area premiere of Bernstein’s last major work, Arias and Barcarolles. He has been heard as soloist and cantor at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington. Mr. Boulanger earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a student of Anastasios Vrenios.

Mr. Malovic, bass, Sparafucile (Rigoletto ), has sung for seven Presidents at the White House, as well as such heads of state as Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev during a long career as a bass soloist with the U.S. Army Chorus, 1966 to 2000. He retired as Group Leader of the Chorus. He has also performed as soloist with the Washington Opera, the National Symphony and the Georgetown and Arlington Symphonies and has given numerous recitals in the Washington area. His most recent performance was in the role of Baldassare  from Donizetti's La Favorita presented by Opera Bel Canto of Washington  D.C.  Mr. Malovic was born in Norwich, England, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended the Cleveland Institute of Music as a private student. He currently studies with John Fiorito of Leesburg,

Albert Niedel, baritone, Corporal , ( La Fille du Regiment ), Page ( Amahl and the Night Visitors ), was born in Budapest, Hungary in a Jewish conservative family. In 1983 he moved to Riga, Latvia where his father became the chief Rabbi, as well as one of the first diplomatic Rabbis in Eastern Europe. Mr. Niedel was a soloist of ensemble Kinnor in Riga and, as a child has performed all around the world, including the USA tour 1990. Mr. Niedel has appeared and performed in front of Majors of Louisiana, Long Island and others, as well as a special guest in the house of Israelian president Eliazar Weitzman in 1995. Mr. Niedel has sung with the cantorial ensemble Yuval and other ensembles around the world.   Most recently made his debut with the Bethesda Music Festival. The roles performed by Mr. Niedel include Policeman and Unter Sergeant in the Baltimore Lyric Opera production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk, Talbot in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Count in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and the Representative in Barab’s Game of Chance.  Mr. Niedel has performed with the Baltimore Lyric Opera and Washington Summer Opera choruses. He regularly sings with the Chizuk Amuno congregation choir. Mr. Niedel will appear as Page in the Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with Bel Cantanti Opera in December 2005.

John Turner, tenor, Offiser (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Usher and Chorus ( Rigoletto), Page (Amahl and the Night Visitors) Chorus (La Fille du Regiment), Peasant and Chorus (Eugene Onegin), Chorus (Lucia di Lammermoor) has also appeared with many other Washington area opera companies, including The IN Series, Summer Opera Theater Company, The Puccini Center, Opera Bel Canto, Zarzuela DiSi, Eldbrooke Opera, the Bethesda Music Festival, and Victorian Lyric Opera Company. He has appeared in several comprimario roles including Gastone (La Traviata), "First Man" in Express-A Bus Ride in One Act (Saylor), Alexis (The Sorcerer), and Leon (Signor Deluso). He has performed other character roles from the chorus including Parpignol, un venditoi, and Sergente in La Boheme, The Notary (La Sonnambula), Lope and Majo in El Barberillo de Lavapies, and the Contadini soli (Pagliacci), and in the ensemble in numerous staged productions including Il Trovatore, Cendrillon, Die Zauberflote, Otello, Die Fledermaus, and Iolanthe. He has performed recently as an oratorio soloist in works including Handel’s Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, and the Faure Requiem. John is a student of Anastasios Vrenios.

Rick Latterell, The Page ( Amahl and the Night Visitors). A Minnesotan exile and former classical piano major, Rick Latterell has been singing with Riley Lewis' Washington Bach Consort and the St. John's-Lafayette Square Choir since moving to D.C. three years ago. He has also appeared in several student scenes at the Studio Theater Acting Conservatory, where he currently studies. This fall, he played Luis in the Mount Vernon Players' production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers. By day, Rick is a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Allan Palacios Chan, tenor, Usher and Chorus (Rigoletto) is a native of Woodbridge, Virginia. He is a student at George Mason University working on his BA in Voice with a minor in Theatre. Allan is a transfer student from Shenandoah University where he sang in ensemble for Handel's The Apothecary and performed a role of Dr. Blind in Strauss' Die Fledermaus. During his two years at SU, he sang under Grammy Award - winning conductor Robert Shafer in his select ensemble and also as a featured soloist. Allan Chan made his Bel Cantanti debut last spring in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore. Prior to his college career, Allan performed in many music theatre productions around the LA, NOVA and DC areas. His most recent award was the " Best Over-all College Male" in Virginia NATS 2004 taken place at James Madison University last spring.