Mezzo-soprano Cynthia Munzer has sung over 20 roles in 223 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, both in New York and on tour in the United States and Japan. Audiences across America have come to know her through the weekly Metropolitan Opera Saturday Broadcasts and over 20 Met Opera recordings with Luciano Pavarotti, Sherill Milnes, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland, Monserrat Caballé, Alfredo Kraus, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson and Renata Scotto.
Broadcast performances have included the Metropolitan Opera Premiere of Alban Berg's Lulu, new productions of Bellini's I Puritani and Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani, and revivals of Strauss' Salome and Ariadne auf Naxos, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Faust, and Wagner's Die Walküre. Ms. Munzer has garnered rave reviews as a leading guest artist with over 90 other opera companies and major symphony orchestras. The Dallas Opera, New York City Opera, Washington Opera, L'Opéra de Montréal, Houston Grand Opera, and Florentine Opera have presented Ms. Munzer in diverse roles such as Carmen, Cenerentola, Azucena, Amneris, Dame Quickly, Octavian, Olga, Maddalena, Augusta, and Herodias. The Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, American Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic are among the 40 major symphony orchestras with which she has appeared as guest soloist. Critically acclaimed concert tours with International Artists Inc. to Southeast Asia have resulted in re-engagements with the company in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Penang, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
She has been hailed in reviews for opera and oratorio performances at the renowned Wolftrap Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Brattleboro Music Festival and the New York Mozart Bicentennial Celebration. Other highlights of Ms. Munzer's career include Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts, vocal concerts at the United Nations, the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's Mass, performances with such masters as Aaron Copland, Leopold Stokowski, James Levine and Zubin Mehta, and a special 9/11 Memorial Tribute CD with other Metropolitan Opera artists.
Ms. Munzer was a recipient of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Shared Top Awards presented on the Met stage in New York City, and also a Metropolitan Opera Contract National Winner. Other awards include the Frederick K. Weyerhaeuser Award, Gramma Fisher Foundation Award, Goeran Gentele Award, a Sullivan Foundation Award and Geraldine Farrar Award. She has received keys to the city of Dallas, Texas, and Binghamton, New York, in honor of her artistry.
Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Ms. Munzer is a graduate of the University of Kansas. She continued her postgraduate studies with Roy Henderson of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and with former Metropolitan Opera Mezzo Herta Glaz of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. An Associate Professor Emeritus at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Ms. Munzer has taught and presented master classes in Italy at the Accademia Italiana di Canto in Toscana and the International Lyric Academy, Tuscia Opera Festival in Lazio. She founded and directed the International Vocal Institute in Hvar, Croatia and co-directed master classes at the Pacific Vocal Institute, part of Bard To Broadway Theatre, Inc. on Vancouver Island, BC. Her students have been winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, among other competitions, and have appeared in several renowned young artist programs: The Santa Fe Opera, Los Angeles Young Artist Program, Chautauqua Opera, Virginia Opera, and San Diego Opera. Other students have made solo debuts with the Berlin Opera, New York City Opera and the Royal Opera House in London.
Sought after as a master clinician, Ms. Munzer has within the last several years presented master classes for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, Washington, Florida and Vancouver, BC, as well as the Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Series in New York City, the Manhattan School of Music (NYC), The Schubert Club Song Festival in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program, NY and Los Angeles, and the Spotlight Awards Master Class at The Dorothy Chandler and Disney Hall, LA. She has joined baritone Sherrill Milnes in presenting celebrity master classes at the Classical Singer Magazine Convention in New York. University master classes include Notre Dame University, Indiana University, Brown University, State University of New York, Kent State University, and UCLA. Ms. Munzer has expanded her master classes to several countries and cities: Graz, Austria; Taipei, Taiwan; Singapore; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Paris, France; Hvar, Croatia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Vancouver Island, BC; Monte Carlo; Viterbo, Italy; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
Ms. Munzer will teach master classes at MTB this July.
Kim Josephson is hailed as one of opera's most versatile baritones and is a regular guest of leading opera companies, including The Metropolitan Opera where, since 1991, he has performed more than 250 performances of 29 roles including the title role in Rigoletto, Germont in La Traviata, Marcello in La Boheme, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Belcore in L'Elisir d'Amore, to name a few. He has also appeared at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, most notably as Eddie Carbone in the world premiere of William Bolcom's A View from the Bridge and, from the standard repertoire, Rigoletto, Germont, Marcello, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly.
Elsewhere in the United States, he has appeared with the Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera as Rigoletto, Fort Worth Opera in the title role in Falstaff, and in other leading roles with Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Baltimore Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Connecticut Opera, the Spoleto Festival, U.S.A., Sarasota Opera, and Tulsa Opera. In Canada, he has appeared with the Vancouver Opera in the title role in Rigoletto and Opera Hamilton in the title role in Simon Boccanegra. In Europe, he has appeared on the stage of Vienna State Opera as Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, Germont, Enrico, Belcore, and Marcello. He has appeared as Eddie Carbone in Bolcom's A View from the Bridge with Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. He has also performed in Japan and in Germany on tour with the Metropolitan Opera.
Though much in demand for the classic repertoire, Mr. Josephson is a passionate advocate for new music. He recenty created the role of Fred Jesson in the world premiere of Andre Previn's Brief Encounter with Houston Grand Opera, available on Deutsche Grammophon, and created the role of Billy Foster in Stephen Schwartz's Seance on a Wet Afternoon with Opera Santa Barbara and New York City Opera.
Mr. Josephson's interpretation of Eddie Carbone in the world premiere of A View from the Bridge is available on CD from New World Records. His performance of Charles Rosen in the world premiere of Stucky's The Classical Style is currently available on YouTube from the Ojai Music Festival. He has also appeared on television in five broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, all available on video recording: Satyagraha, La Fanciulla del West, Arabella, Carmen, and Billy Budd.
Currently serving as Professor of Voice at the University of Oklahoma, Mr. Josephson has been awarded the OU Regent's Award for Superior Creative Activity, and recently was named to the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professorship. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Houston where he earned a B.M. and M.M. in applied voice. In addition, he has studied voice with Franco Corelli, Louis Quilico, Michael Trimble and Jean Preston.
He is the recipient of many honors, including William Sullivan/George London Foundation Award, Baltimore Opera Vocal Competition, Enrico Caruso International Vocal Competition, Loren Zachary Foundation Award, Puccini Foundation Award, Bagby Foundation Award, Bruce Yarnell Award, Singer's Development Foundation Award, and a Richard Tucker Career Grant. Mr. Josephson has also been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Giulio Gari Foundation, and was honored by personal invitation of Placido Domingo to perform in the Verdi Gala celebrating Mr. Domingo's 30th anniversary with the company in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Mr. Josephson will teach an opera voice studio at MTB this July.
Pamelia Phillips earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Music Education from Arkansas State University. Dr. Phillips is the author of the 2003 Wiley Publication "Singing for Dummies" (2nd Edition 2011) and 2012 Publication "Singing Exercises for Dummies."
For 18 years, Dr. Phillips supervised the musical theatre curriculum development at CAP21 (Collaborative Arts Project 21) where over 100 alums have graced the Broadway stage. She served as Chair of the Voice and Music Dept., Director of the Professional Program and Conservatory Director. Dr. Phillips currently maintains a private studio in Manhattan where her students range from Broadway performers to actors in television and film.
Dr. Phillips has also taught at Wagner College, Arizona State University, Scottsdale Community College, and South Mountain Community College. Performances include title roles in Carmen, Tragedy of Carmen, Dido and Aeneas, and Lizzie Borden, the Witch in Hansel and Gretal, Giulietta in Tales of Hoffmann, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Mum in Albert Herring, Constance in the world premiere of She Stoops to Conquer, Lady with a Hat Box in Postcard from Morocco, Frau Bauer in Dora, Beatrice in the stage premiere of Garden of Mystery, Mrs. Cornett in Tobermory, staged performance of From The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Gloria Thorpe in Damn Yankees, Gymnasia in ...Forum, Liebeslieder singer in A Little Night Music, and Lady Thiang in King and I. Symphonic performances include Berlioz' Le mort de Cléopâtra with the Bronx Symphony, Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Centré Symphony, Das Lied von der Erde and Mahler's Third Symphony with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble and guest artist with Phoenix Chamber Symphony, Scottsdale Fine Arts Orchestra, Putnam County Chorale, and the National Chorale.
Ms. Phillips will teach a musical theater voice studio at MTB this July.
Shirley Close has performed leading roles in the major opera houses of Europe, America and Asia for the past thirty years. Highlights of her operatic career include performances at the Bavarian State Opera, Cologne Opera, Bayreuth Festival, the Staatsoper Berlin, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Salzburg, National Theater of Mannheim, Opera du Rhin (Strasbourg), Opera de Nantes, Opera de Nice, Festival d’Orange, the opera companies of Washington, Dallas, Atlanta, Glimmerglass, Mobile and many others.
Ms. Close has spent the majority of her career as a mezzo-soprano, but on the advice of Sir Georg Solti made the transition to dramatic soprano. Soprano roles she has performed are Kundry (Parsifal), Ortrud (Lohengrin), Tosca (Tosca), Giulietta (The Tales of Hoffmann), Elizabeth and Venus (Tannhäuser), Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana), and Gutrune and Brünnhilde (Der Ring des Nibelungen). She covered Isolde (Tristan und Isolde) at the Seattle Opera, Brünnhilde (Die Walküre) at the Chicago Lyric Opera, Kostelnicka (Jenufa) at the San Francisco Opera and at the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan (Ozawa). As a mezzo she was noted for her portrayals of Amneris (Aida), Aldagisa (Norma), Azucena (Il Trovatore), Fricka (Das Rheingold and Die Walküre), Waltraute (Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung), Gutrune and all three Norns (Die Götterdämmerung) and Fenena (Nabucco) among many others.
She has sung under many renowned conductors including Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Wolfgang Sawallisch, James Conlon, Pinchas Steinberg, Michel Plasson, John Nelson, Dennis Russell Davies, Julius Rudel, Semyon Bychkov, Michael Gielen, Sir David Willcocks, Louis Langrée, Hans Graf, David Atherton, Egon zu Gutenberg, Marek Janowski, Jun Märkl, Hans Wallat, Robert de Cormier and others.
Alongside her stage performances she is often engaged as a concert performer in the major oratorio repertoire, having sung with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Bonn Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Rheinland-Pfalz Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Salzburger Dom, at the Duomo in Perugia, Italy and at the Caramoor and Marlboro Festivals. She has performed many times at Carnegie Hall and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. In 1994 she premiered a work by Hans Werner Henze for the Biennale in Munich.
Ms. Close is also well known as a recitalist of song literature from the 18th to the 21st centuries. In addition, she often combines recitals with master classes for voice students at colleges and universities, which have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the students and faculties alike.
She earned a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Olivet Nazarene University. She has received many honors for her singing including the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation. She was a winner of the San Francisco Opera Regional Auditions, the Oratorio Society of New York Competition, and the Gwendolyn Roberts Young Artist Competition.
Ms. Close teaches on the voice faculty at Manhattan School of Music. Prior to that she was Professor of Voice at Florida State University and Associate Professor of Voice at Houghton College’s Greatbatch School of Music in Houghton, NY. She has taught at the summer programs of Bel Canto Institute in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Ars Vocalis Festival in Zamora, Mexico; AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies) in Graz, Austria and “Il corso estivo” with the Scuola Italia in Urbania, Italy. In addition for three years she was a guest pedagogue at the Hochschule für Musik (State Conservatory of Music) in Stuttgart, Germany and has given master classes at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, Germany, the Konservatorium für Musik and the Gustav Mahler Conservatory in Vienna, Austria.
Recent performances in Tallahassee include appearing as soloist in the Verdi Requiem with the Tallahassee Community Chorus; “Dich, theure Halle” from Tannhäuser for the opening of the renovated Ruby Diamond Concert Hall; the Beethoven Missa Solemnis; and with the Tallahassee Symphony (Miriam Burns, conducting) singing the “Liebestod” from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.
In the summer of 2011, she appeared as soloist in the Mozart Requiem in Venice, Vicenza and Verona, Italy and the Verdi Requiem in Perugia, Asiago and Salò, Italy. Invited to participate on the voice faculty in the prestigious Ars Vocalis Festival in Zamora, Mexico, she also presented two recitals in Zamora and Morelia. In 2012, she gave recitals and master classes at Ohio University and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory in Ohio. In September 2013, she participated in the dedication of the new hospital in Haiti built by generous donations following the massive earthquake.
In 2014 she performed a Recital of American Songs (with Silvano Zabeo, piano) and presented a master class at the Conservatorie di musica Giuseppe Tartini in Trieste, Italy; a master class at the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, France; a master class at the Mannes School of Music in New York City; an art song recital at Kingswood University in Sussex, Canada and the FSU Faculty Showcase. In 2015-16, she performed on the FSU Faculty Chamber Music Concert of American music (Hoiby Bermudas and the North Carolina Songs by Timothy Hoekman for string trio, harp and mezzo-soprano).
In addition to teaching at Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Close maintains an active voice studio of professional singers in New York City. Many of her students have successful careers in opera and concert, singing in major houses in Europe and America. Ms. Close will teach an opera voice studio at MTB this July.
Richard Owens, baritone, has enjoyed a long career on the opera and concert stage, in arts administration and in teaching, in both Europe and the United States. He holds degrees from Trinity University (BM), Yale University (MM) and Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology (MSTh), and completed advanced training in Opera and Lied at the Akademie für darstellende Kunst in Vienna.
Mr. Owens has been an active soloist and recitalist in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S., and has sung over 400 performances of 20 major baritone roles with the Municipal Opera of Ulm, Germany, the Municipal Opera of Regensburg, Germany, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Milan, Italy, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Corpus Christi Symphony, the Dallas Civic Symphony, the Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Space Coast Symphony, the Winter Park Bach Festival, and the Robert Shaw Chorale, among others. He performed the Southwestern premieres of Cantorial roles in the Sacred Services of Ernest Bloch, Darius Milhaud and Simon Sargon, and was the first American to perform the Shostakovich 13th Symphony, Babi Yar. He also sang the premiere recordings of La Grande Bretéche by Avery Claflin for CRI Records, and Three Gothic Ballads by John Duke for WNYC, New York.
Mr. Owens founded the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, and served as its Artistic Director from 1968 until 1984, when he moved to Orlando, Florida, to serve as General Director of the Orlando Opera Company, a position he held until 1990. The Orlando Opera experienced dramatic growth during his tenure, greatly increasing its attendance and subscriber base, as well as its community outreach, number of performances, and engagement of international stars. He founded the Musiktheater Bavaria program in 2000, and served as its General and Artistic Director for many years.
Mr. Owens currently is Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Voice at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he has taught since 1992, and previously also served on the voice faculties of Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A & I University and North Texas State University, and as an adjunct Professor of Music Theatre at the University of Central Florida. He has published books titled Towards A Career in Europe (a handbook for singers auditioning for opera houses in the German-speaking countries) and The Professional Singer's Guide to New York, and has conducted many career training seminars on both topics.
Passionate about teaching, and equally at home working with students of either opera or musical theater, he has been mentor to hundreds of successful opera singers and musical theater performers, including more than 20 who have sung at the Metropolitan Opera, and many who have performed in, or are currently in, major Broadway productions. He has been honored with the Director Emeritus title at MTB, recognizing his long history of contributions to the program.
With more than twenty-five years in the field of opera, Jo Ann Kulesza has often been called a 'singer's conductor'. Beginning her career as a coach/accompanist at the Hochschule Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, she spent many years as a korrepetitor and vocal coach in opera and musical theater. Ms. Kulesza's experience encompasses major opera companies in the United States, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera Company and Wolf Trap Opera, as well as numerous summer festivals, young artist programs and academic institutions. She holds a B.M. from Western Michigan University, and M.M. from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Ms. Kulesza is Music Director of the Opera Department at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD, where she also has served as Interim Chair of the Opera Department. The department produces between six and ten performances a year, serving over one hundred singers. With her years of experience in the professional world, she provides an important aspect of the aspiring professionals' training. Well versed in opera's vast repertoire, she teaches classes in recitative and repertoire, and works with collaborative pianists and conductors at the school. She team-teaches a seminar in Opera Conducting with the master teacher Gustav Meier.
A life-long lover of choral music, Ms. Kulesza worked with the renowned Margaret Hillis at the Chicago Symphony Chorus and as assistant to Chorus Master Philip Morehead at the Chicago Lyric Opera. She presently conducts the Arundel Vocal Arts Society, a chorus of 35-45 members, in a wide variety of repertoire, and is in her seventh year as Music Director of this ensemble.
Since entering the conducting realm in 2004, Ms. Kulesza has conducted three world premieres, and led as well as played continuo for productions of Mozart, Rossini, and Britten. She has worked with some of the most notable conductors in the field – Loren Maazel, George Manahan, Heinz Fricke, Stephen Lord, Margaret Hillis – and is in demand as a clinician and educator around the country and abroad. She made her Opera Omaha debut in 2011, conducting and playing continuo for Mozart's Don Giovanni. In 2014, Ms. Kulesza conducted a chamber version of Verdi's La Traviata in South Africa.
Ms. Kulesza will be a month-long resident coach at MTB this July.
Canadian collaborative pianist Amanda Johnston is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Mississippi where she acts as Music Director/Vocal Coach for the Opera Theatre; teaches courses in advanced diction; and coaches students at the undergraduate and graduate level. She is also on faculty at the Druid City Opera Workshop (Tuscaloosa, AL). She is author of English and German Diction for Singers: A Comparative Approach, 2nd edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), highly praised in the Journal of Singing for “enlivening the study of diction”. She has released two CDs with MSR Classics: Mahler: Rückert-Lieder in collaboration with Julia Morgan (mezzo-soprano) in 2012; and Métissage in collaboration with Adam Estes (saxophone) in 2017.
Her research on comparative diction and lesser-known composers of German Lied has been presented at conferences held by the International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT), College Music Society (CMS), National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), National Opera Association (NOA), and Song Collaborators Consortia (SCC). She has given master classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), University of South Dakota, Queen’s University, Harding University, Bucknell University, Virginia Tech, Indiana University South Bend, Unniversity of South Carolina, Mercer University, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She has held positions at the University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music, York University, Taos Opera Institute, and Lied Austria (Leibnitz).
She has received prestigious grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to work with masters in the field of collaborative piano, most notably Malcolm Martineau, Rudolf Jansen, Martin Isepp, Dalton Baldwin, Elly Ameling, Wolfgang Holzmair, and Helmut Deutsch. Further professional development occurred at the Franz-Schubert-Institut (Baden bei Wien, Austria), Académie Francis Poulenc (Tours), Académie internationale d'Été (Nice), Oxenfoord International Summer School (St. Andrews), and the Aspen Music Festival.
Amanda Johnston has been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, Classical 96.3 FM, CKWR, and NPR and has performed in Hong Kong, Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Austria, and Scotland. Her language proficiency includes English and German (native fluency), French and Italian (high facility), as well as Spanish, Czech, and Russian (phonetic proficiency). She was educated at Queen’s University, the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” (Weimar, Germany), and the Janáček Academy of Music (Brno, Czech Republic). www.amandajohnston.ca
Ms. Johnston will be a month-long resident coach and diction teacher at MTB this July.
In his 10th season with Musiktheater Bavaria, Dean Wilmington has extensive experience as a musical director, conductor of musical theater productions, educator and coach. A native of Australia who has lived and worked in Germany for many years, he holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Queensland Conservatorium of Music. He is Music Director at Theater Trier in Trier, Germany, and has also recently served as Music Director of the Joop Van den Ende Academy in Hamburg, a training conservatory for musical theater performers.
As a faculty member of the Bavarian Theater Academy (the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Munich) from 1998 through 2016, Mr. Wilmington was Musical Director for many of their productions, including RENT, Little Shop of Horrors, Wedding Invitation, What A Wonderful World, Krach in Chioggia, Alice in the Park mit George, Rocky, Lebe Deinem Traum, Mondschein Tarif, Die Amouren des Don Juans, The Show Must Go On, Dancer in the Dark, Surrender, Der blaue Vogel, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and The Threepenny Opera. He has also prepared and conducted The Beauty and the Beast (Germany-Austria tour), Robin Hood (Bremen, Munich and Berlin), On the Town (Munich and Nürnberg), Into the Woods (Bolzano) and Spring Awakening at the Deutsches Theater, Munich. Further shows include The Rhythm of Life, City of Angels, Lucky Stiff, Gold, Bring on Tomorrow, the children's musical Ristorante Allegro and a number of German musicals.
Mr. Wilmington recently composed the music for a theatre drama titled "The Black Virgins," which won the Hamburg Körberstudio Award for new theater pieces. He also recently wrote the music and songs for a stage adaptation of the television program South Park, and was Music Director and arranger of the first world performance of Jekyll and Hyde, Resurrection.
In addition to his experience in musical theater, Mr. Wilmington has played and worked as a composer for various ensembles who have performed at many jazz and world music festivals throughout Europe, and has scored film and television shows. Also an accomplished didgeridoo player, he occasionally treats us to his unique compositions in MTB concerts.
Mr. Wilmington will be a month-long resident musical theater coach at MTB this July.
American pianist Stephen Hopkins is in his seventh season as a Solokorrepetitor (pianist/coach) and stage music conductor at the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) and has appeared in concert on the international stage from the United States to Mexico, Spain, Germany, and Austria. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Music from Yale University and his Master's Degree in Piano Accompanying and Coaching from Westminster Choir College.
Mr. Hopkins secured his first professional engagement when he won the Young Musicians in Performance Competition in 2000 and performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the South Shore Symphony of Long Island, New York the same year. He has since been featured as a soloist and collaborative pianist on WQXR (New York City's classical music radio station), KUHF (Houston's public radio station), and ORF (the main Austrian television channel and radio station). Throughout his collegiate career, he coached, accompanied, and conducted several operas and was subsequently engaged by Houston Grand Opera as a studio artist for two seasons.
Since his arrival in Vienna in 2010, he has musically prepared dozens of productions with many prominent singers, including Roberto Alagna, Plácido Domingo, Juan Diego Flórez, Elīna Garanča, Inva Mula, Leo Nucci, Patricia Petibon, and Ramón Vargas. Additionally, his versatility at the keyboard has also enabled him to perform on the Hammerklavier (fortepiano) and the harpsichord (cembalo). In 2013, he made his debut at the prestigious Musikverein in Vienna as a harpsichordist with Ensemble Wien. Acclaimed for his fine and sensitive recitative playing with the Vienna Philharmonic in both Die Presse (a highly regarded Austrian newspaper) and Opera News, Mr. Hopkins has quickly become a recognized musical presence as both a distinguished coach and accomplished pianist.
Mr. Hopkins will be a master class teacher and week-long guest coach at MTB this July.
Douglas Hall has directed at theatres across the country including The Williamstown Theater Festival, Mountain Playhouse, Seven Angels Theater and Merry Go Round Playhouse. As Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of South Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance, he balances his teaching schedule with a busy directing career.
Mr. Hall directed the New York premiere of THE RELIGION THING, and other past credits include directing Austin Pendleton in the one-man play KEATS, both off-Broadway and in Los Angeles, and the World Premiere of DUSE'S FEVER on Theatre Row. His production of ALTAR BOYZ opened the Auburn Public Theater as part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival, where he also directed GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES. He has directed multiple casts of FOREVER PLAID, and has received accolades for his productions of THE DYING GAUL, OF MICE AND MEN, and THE LONESOME WEST among others. He directed the short film, “Second Glance,” starring Valerie Wright and Robert Clohessy, which has been seen at film festivals across the country. He directs the annual New York Industry Showcase for DRAMA UK, a consortium of the top drama schools in Great Britain.
Mr. Hall started his career as a theatre professional as a performer acting in plays and musicals as well as dancing in modern dance companies and musicals. Prior to joining the faculty of USF in 2015, he taught for ten years on the faculty at CAP 21 in New York City. In addition to CAP 21, he has taught at Pace University, The Growing Studio and Broadway Classroom. He holds a BA in English from University of California at Berkeley and an MFA in directing from Rutgers University. He will be a month-long resident teacher and stage director at MTB this July.
Tera-Lee Pollin started her training at The New Jersey School of Ballet and Center Stage Dance and Theatre School and then went on to study at Jacob's Pillow, The Joffrey School of Ballet and David Howard Dance Center. She studied acting at The Lee Strausberg Institute and American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Some of her favorite shows and experiences include American Dance Machine 2016 with Wayne Cilento, Mamma Mia! on Broadway (Dance Captain), Urban Cowboy on Broadway, and Hot Feet on Broadway where she worked with Maurice Hines, The National Tour of Spamalot (Dance Captain), The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse, Swing!, The Apollo Theatre's Club Harlem, and working with David Parsons on the Festival of Music in San Remo Italy. Film/Television credits include The Smurfs Movie, Dark Horse, Old Dogs, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Fashion Rocks. She has also performed live with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Kanye West, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gloria Gaynor, The Lonely Island Boys (Featuring Akon), and Brian McNight.
Ms. Pollin is currently on faculty teaching dance at Marymount Manhattan College, Steps on Broadway, Equinox, and CAP21. She has taught master classes all over the United States, and she will be a month-long resident dance teacher and choreographer at MTB this July.
(More updates for 2018 coming soon!)
Rolann Owens, a faculty member at Musiktheater Bavaria since its first season, is recognized as one of America's foremost teachers of dance. An award-winning choreographer and frequent judge of national and international dance competitions, she received both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in dance from The Juilliard School.
Experienced in all areas of dance, Ms. Owens has particular expertise in musical theater dance styles and tap. Beginning her professional career while still in high school, she was a member of the original Broadway casts of My Fair Lady, Li'l Abner and Destry Rides Again. Her television dance credits include The Perry Como Show, The Gary Moore Show, The Jackie Gleason Show (with the June Taylor Dancers) and the Miss America Pageant, as well as national TV commercials.
Ms. Owens has chaired the Tap Committee of the International Dance Organization, and also has served on juries such as the International Dance Organization's World Championship (Germany), the Trofeo Internazionale di Danza for the Regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy), the Just Dance Festival (Slovenia), the American Dance Awards and the Headliners National Talent Competition. She has also judged for the German National Tap Dance Championship, the Swiss National Tap Competition Finals, the Slovenian National Dance Competition Finals, and American Dance Spectrum.
Working extensively as a choreographer in a variety of settings, Ms. Owens has choreographed for the Miss New York State Pageant, Holiday on Ice, the Ice Follies, the U.S. Olympic Team Ice Skating Pairs and National Ice Skating Pairs, and has prepared the Croatian Formation Tap Team for the World Competition. At home in Orlando, Florida, she counts numerous shows for Walt Disney World among her credits, including Ellington Under the Stars: A Salute to the Duke (in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute), Bob McGrath's Sesame Street Show, the World's Largest Concert (a PBS special with Sandy Duncan), the Millenium Show and the World Dancers Special Events Show, and has also served as Disney World's College Program dance director. At the acclaimed Passionspielhaus in Erl, Austria, Ms. Owens choreographed the world premiere of the Jürgen Doetsch opera Altes Testament.
Recipient of a Presidential Scholar Teacher Award from President Bill Clinton, Ms. Owens maintains an active studio where she and her staff teach a full curriculum of ballet, tap, jazz, lyric and contemporary dance, as well as musical theater voice and dance. She has presented master classes in New York, L.A., Miami, Buffalo and New Orleans on musical theater dance and audition technique. Many of her former students are appearing on Broadway, television, video, cruise lines and opera stages throughout the world. A number of them have recently been cast in major Broadway shows, including Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Evita, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Billy Elliott, The Pirate Queen, Rock of Ages, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, Gypsy, Jersey Boys, All Shook Up, Young Frankenstein, Wicked, The Little Mermaid and Curtains, and some have been featured with the famous Rockettes. Ms. Owens was the childhood dance partner of Michael Bennett, the creator of A Chorus Line, and maintains extensive connections in the dance and Broadway communities. Ms. Owens is a Teacher of Dance Emerita at MTB, recognizing her long history of contributions to the program.
The American soprano Lynda Kemeny has enjoyed a vast international career in Europe since 1987. After completing her Bachelor's and Master's degrees with concentrations in vocal performance, piano and dance, she studied voice in Chicago and New York. She belonged to a professional pantomime troupe for two years. Upon winning 1st prize in the International Bel Canto vocal competition in Chicago, she studied voice in Italy with opera diva Renata Tebaldi and world-renowned tenor Carlo Bergonzi. In 1986, she performed as a soloist at the annual Metropolitan Opera Gala Ball.
From 1987 to 1992, Ms. Kemeny was a soloist at the State Theater of Bielefeld, Germany, where in her first season she was awarded the cherished Operntaler Award for outstanding performance. Since 1992, she has been a free lance soloist and has made guest appearances in both operatic and musical theater roles in international theaters such as the Leipziger Opera/Musikalische Komödie, National Theater Mannheim, Theater Wiesbaden, Dortmunder Theater, Deutsches Theater Munich, L'Opera de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium, Hoofstaad Operette Amsterdam, Stadtstheater Bern, Switzerland, and the Tiroler Landestheater, Innsbruck under the direction of Frau KS Brigitte Fassbaender.
Ms. Kemeny is often called upon to sing solo lecture recitals and has performed in concert with such orchestras as the Bielefelder Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Dortmunder Philharmonie, Radio-Tèlèvisión-Belgique-France-Orchestra, and the Westdeutschen-, Süddeutschen-and Mitteldeutschen Radio Orchestras. She participated as the soprano soloist in the 44th German Mozart Festival in Zwickau, Germany and toured with the Salon Orchestra "Melange" in the 1998 International Music Festival in Poland. She has made numerous solo appearances on the major German television channels, including the Sunday Concert on ZDF.
In addition to her performing career, Ms. Kemeny has taught voice and English diction for singers at the Bavarian Theater Academy August Everding at the University for Music and Theater in Munich, and is often called upon to give master classes at European summer programs and to sit on juries for both classical and musical theater national competitions. She is head of the voice department at the Music School in the Artists Center in Rosenheim, Germany. She also currently teaches voice and song interpretation in the Musical Department at the two year college for music in Sulzbach, Germany near Nürnberg. Ms. Kemeny will be stage director for operetta scenes at MTB this July.
The French conductor Laurent Pillot was Associate Music Director of Los Angeles Opera, working alongside Kent Nagano and Plácido Domingo, and conducting productions especially of Puccini and Richard Strauss. He is Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique Lyon Villeurbanne, and his guest engagements have included the Opéra National de Lyon, New York City Opera, Teatro Regio Turin, the Hallé orchestra Manchester, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre Philharmonique de Montpellier, I Pomeriggi Musicali Milan, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla and Orquesta de Valencia.
In addition to his work with professional ensembles, Mr. Pillot has developed a passion for working in opera with talented young singers and instrumentalists. His work in Munich, where he founded the Opera Studio at the Bavarian State Opera, was the subject of a three-part documentary on German television. He has been associated with the European Opera Centre for a decade and has conducted the Centre’s singers and European Union Youth Orchestra for celebrations of Europe Day in London, repeated at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
Mr. Pillot spent five years as Assistant Conductor at the Opéra de Lyon, and further continued his professional training with work at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic, at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Festival d Aix-en-Provence, Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and in the United States.
He has a commitment to taking opera through a range of media to people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience it. Film work has included Britten's Owen Wingrave and The Seven Deadly Sins with Teresa Stratas, Peter Sellars and Kent Nagano. He has overseen each new language version of the award-winning BBC film of The Cunning Little Vixen, creating soundtracks in Catalan, Czech, French, German, Polish and Spanish. He has also brought Janáček’s masterpiece to an entirely new audience through live performance, with big screen showings with orchestra live on stage.
Mr. Pillot will be a guest master class teacher at MTB this July.
A native of Munich, Antonia Klein was for many years owner and principal at the Klein Agency, an international management company for opera singers and conductors with offices in Munich and Berlin.
A trained singer, pianist and violinist, Ms. Klein studied music and history at the University of Vienna. She worked for ten years in administrative positions at various theaters in the German-speaking countries, including as head of artistic administration at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and as a senior manager at the Komische Oper Berlin. She has also worked with the renowned concert producer Societa del Quartetto in Milan, with Allied Artists in London, and with the European office of New York's Pinnacle Arts. From 2005 to 2016, Ms. Klein operated her own agency, Agentur Klein, in Munich, Germany. Ms. Klein has been invited to present seminars for young singers at a number of music conservatories in Germany and Austria, including at the Mozarteum Salzburg. She has judged the Competizione dell'Opera in Dresden and Bremen.
While visiting Musiktheater Bavaria this July, Ms. Klein will conduct a workshop about auditioning and working in the German-speaking countries, and will hear and give feedback to singers from the Opera Studio.
Katja Riek studied English & German Language and Literature in Heidelberg and Edinburgh and Performance Studies in Glasgow. In her fifth season with MTB, she brings a wealth of language teaching·experience gathered in a range of institutions, including the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Open University, the Goethe Institute and the Humboldt-Institute. Since 2000 she has been affiliated with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she honed her specialism of teaching language to singers and other performing artists. Her freelance portfolio includes text work with The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and with the soprano Karen Cargill, text coaching sessions for opera casts and specialist German language instruction for singers, voice teachers, conductors, collaborative pianists and opera directors.
Ms. Riek also translates from English into German and vice versa specialising in vocal repertoire, artists' biographies and websites, cd sleeve and program notes. Her latest publication was for Linn Records, a translation of Alma and Gustav Mahler song texts into English. For further information visit www.katjariek.eu. Ms. Riek will be a month-long resident teacher at MTB this July.
Joan Travis holds a B.A. in German and Spanish from Gettysburg College, with additional studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn, Germany, and the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia. She earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and practiced corporate and commercial real estate law for a number of years.
A mezzo-soprano, Ms. Travis has appeared in over 25 professional opera productions with Opera Memphis, Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus, Como Opera and Kansas Opera Theater. Additionally, she has performed many roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas with such companies as Chicago's Light Opera Works, The Savoyaires, The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chicago, Columbus Light Opera and Denver's Empire Lyric Players. She has appeared in concert as a soloist with chamber orchestras and church choirs throughout the United States, and has been a member of several professional choral ensembles. A longtime church musician, Ms. Travis has directed children's choirs and children's musicals, and an a capella sacred early music ensemble. She currently serves as the Auditions Manager for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Florida District.
First introduced to the MTB program when her son attended in summer 2007, Ms. Travis has served as President and Chair of the Board of the nonprofit Music Theater Bavaria, Inc. since 2011, and manages the Musiktheater Bavaria summer program. A firm believer in the value of study-abroad programs and foreign language study for students in every discipline, she enjoys helping MTB's young artists with their German skills as well as working as a volunteer in support of the program and its students year-round, both onsite in Germany and at home in Florida.