GUSTAVO AHUALLI – Baritone – MICHELE (IL TABARRO)
Mr. Ahualli made his operatic debut in 1996 as Papageno in Die Zauberflote in his native city of Tucuman, Argentina. Since then, he has sung in South America, US, France and Italy in leading baritone roles such La Traviata, Don Carlo, Il trovatore, Un ballo in maschera Lucia di Lammermoor, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni,La boheme, Turandot, Eugene Onegin, I pagliacci, Carmen, etc.
He began his musical training at age of seven. In 1998 he obtained his Master in voce from the ISA-Teatro Colón. In 2006, he was named first-prize winner of the NJAVO.
Mr. Ahualli is happy to return to OCB, this time as Michele.
LAUREN ALFANO – Soprano – VOCE DI SOPRANINO, DUE AMANTI (IL TABARRO), LE NOVIZIE (SUOR ANGELICA)
Soprano Lauren Alfano has performed extensively as an oratorio soloist. She was a Resident Artist with the Underworld Productions Opera Ensemble, and sings with the Satori Opera Company, New York Lyric Opera Company, and the Opera Company of Brooklyn. Ms. Alfano premieres works by composers from the U.S., Europe, and Russia and performed at the 2011 “Music With a View” Festival in NYC. Recent and upcoming performances include Cosi fan tutte (Despina),La Sonnambula (Lisa),Alcina (Morgana), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), two operatic premieres, and Alessandro Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater with ARTEK Early Music Ensemble. She is a graduate student in Voice at Hunter College.
PHILIP ALONGI – Tenor – LUIGI (IL TABARRO)
New Jersey native, Philip Alongi, is an exciting young tenor whose powerful voice matches his stature. He has performed over a dozen operatic roles throughout the country, including Cavaradossi in Tosca, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Canio in Pagliacci, Radames in Aida, Alfredo in La Traviata, Sam in Street Scene, and as Absolom in the Yiddish operetta Shulamith. His solo oratorio work includes Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, and Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ.
Mr. Alongi has five nationally televised solo performances to his credit, including two live appearances on the TODAY show from the NBC studios in New York. Last year marked the release of his debut albums, ‘Heritage’ and ‘New Life.’
JAVIER BERNARDO – Lyric tenor – IL TINCA (IL TABARRO)
Described as “a lead with powerhouse singing” by The Four Walsh, Javier Bernardo is a lyric tenor with a growing demand. He has performed two solos at the Symphony Center in Chicago this past summer, and has been professionally affiliated with the Chicago Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Folks Operetta, Palm Beach Opera and the Juilliard Opera Theatre. Recent roles include: Achmed/The Rose of Stambul with Chicago Folks Operetta; Il postiglione/La Fanciulla del West, First Noble/Wagner’s Lohengrin with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Der Offizier/Ariadne auf Naxos with Tanglewood Music Festival; L’Aumônier/Dialogues des Carmélites, Don Basilio/Le Nozze di Figaro with Juilliard Opera Theatre; Ferrando/Cosi Fan Tutte with the Janiec Opera Company.
AARON BLANKFIELD – Tenor – IL VENDITORE DI CANZONETTE, VOCE DI TENORINO, DUE AMANTI (IL TABARRO)
A Tennesse native, Aaron Blankfield was most recently an apprentice artist for Sarasota Opera’s winter season covering the role of Judge Danforth, The Crucible. In 2009, Mr. Blankfield was a studio artist with Florentine Opera where he performed Borsa,Rigoletto and Bully and Dr. Binch, Elmer Gantry. While participating in the Caramoor Music Festival, he performed the roles of Trabuco, La Forza del Destino and covered Count Almaviva, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Other roles include: Messaggiero, Aida (Riverfront Opera),Normanno and Arturo, Lucia di Lammermoor (NY Opera Forum), and Gastone, La Traviata (Boheme Opera NJ).
JENNIFER FURST – Soprano – LE CONVERSE (SUOR ANGELICA)
Jennifer Furst recently debuted with the New York Lyric Opera Company as the Mother in Hansel and Gretel and covered the role of Micaela in Carmen with the Opera Company of Brooklyn. Other recent engagements include the soprano solo in Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzer with renowned French pianist, Pascal Roge at the Trail Mix Concert Series, Suor Angelica and Amahl and the Night Visitors with Chelsea Opera and the title role in Madama Butterfly at NY Summer Opera Scenes. She has also sung Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza), Il Trovatore (Leonora) and Cosi fan Tutte (Fiordiligi) with Amato Opera.
SARAH HEISLER – Soprano – SUOR ANGELICA (SUOR ANGELICA)
Sarah Heisler, soprano, began the 2011 season debuting with Bel Cantanti Opera (Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri) and Opera Company of Brooklyn (covering the Countess Ceprano and Micaela in Rigoletto and Carmen and singing the title role in Suor Angelica). She next sang at Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival, covering La Princesse in L’enfant et les sortileges. Upcoming engagements include Mimi in Hillhouse Opera Company’s production of La Boheme. Ms. Heisler holds a BM from James Madison University, where she sang the title role in Carmen, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas. Additional credits include three seasons with the Caramoor International Music Festival (La Forza del Destino, L’Elisir d’Amore, Semiramide, and Norma).
DEVON HUHN – Lyric Soprano – SUOR GENOVIEFFA, SUOR OSMINA (SOUR ANGELICA)
Ms. Huhn graduated from The Boston Conservatory in 2010 with her M.M. in vocal performance. She is also an alumna of Hofstra University. Ms. Huhn is currently studying under the tutelage of the Australian soprano Donna Balson after completing her studies in Boston. She debuted as a concert soloist with the Long Island Choral Society in May of 2011, as the soprano soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana. This summer, Ms. Huhn sang the role of Erste Dame in the Midwest Institute of Opera’s inaugural season’s Die Zauberflöte.
KURT KANAZAWA – Baritone – IL TALPA (IL TABARRO)
This summer, Kurt Kanazawa (Baritone) made his Chinese debut at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, performing with the NCPA Orchestra as part of ISINGBEIJING Program, sponsored by the Chinese government’s Hanban Institute. He is currently in his first-year MM degree from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Marlena Malas, and is a recipient of the MSM President’s Award. He also received his BA degree in Visual Arts from Columbia University. His past performances include Gugliemo in Cosi Fan Tutte, the title role in Elijah, Angelotti in Tosca, Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro and Chou-En Lai in Nixon in China. He made his debut with Opera Company of Brooklyn as Angelotti inTosca and returns again this season as Talpa in Il Tabarro.
MING KWONG – Pianist / Coach
Pianist/Coach Ming Kwong is actively involved in the opera industry. He is regularly engaged to play NYC auditions for many programs including Portland Opera. He was engaged as a faculty coach at the New Jersey CoOPERAtive program this past summer. Ming is regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera Guild to accompany their master class series. His past credits include an assistant coach position at Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood Music Center (assisting Maestro James Levine on Don Giovanni), and an apprenticeship with Florida Grand Opera for their 2008-2009 season. He held a fellowship coach position at the Aspen Summer Music Festival and was a vocal pianist at the prestigious Music Academy of the West, where Marilyn Horne chairs the program. Mr. Kwong was the Music Director of the Undergraduate Opera Theater at Manhattan School of Music and has also worked with Maestro Jay Meetze in the past on Barber of Seville.
AMELIA LAKE, soprano – LE CERCATRICI (SUOR ANGELICA)
Engagements for 2011 include Le Cercatrici 1in Suor Angelica, Countess Ceprano (cover) & Page (cover) with Opera Brooklyn, Barbarina (cover) & Artist-in-Residence for New York Lyric Opera Theater, Concert festival of New York at the Lincoln center as well as the semi-finals for the International New York Lyric Opera Competition in April.
Distictions; 2nd prize in the 2011 International Barry Alexander Voice Competition, Office Franco-Quebecois Grant, Society of Singers Award, Margaret Rice Music Fund, Bev Sellers Scholarship, Provincial finalist Canadian Music Competition, and 2nd prize St. Andrews Arts Council International Aria Competition.
VICTORIA LOTKOWICTZV – Soprano – LA BADESSA, LA SUOR ZELATRICE (SUOR ANGELICA)
Soprano Victoria Lotkowictz has appeared as the Countess and Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Micaëla(Carmen), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Dalinda (Ariodante), Druhá Žínka (Rusalka), Zweite Dame and Zweite Knabe (Die Zauberflöte), Edith (Pirates of Penzance), La Badessa (Suor Angelica), Gerhilde (Die Walküre), and Emmie (Albert Herring). She has performed with Opera Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Atlantic Coast Opera Festival, Opera Slavica, Opera Company of Brooklyn, OperaOggiNY, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chester County, New York Opera Forum, Opera at Rutgers and Westminster Opera Theatre. Future roles include Atlanta (Serse)and Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore) with the New York Opera Forum.
MAGGIE MALONE – Soprano – GIORGETTA – cover (IL TABARRO)
Maggie Malone, a native of Talladega, Alabama, received her Master’s in Music from the University of Memphis. Her operatic roles include: Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Rosmira (Partenope), Mum (Albert Herring), Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Mrs. Nolan (The Medium) and Don Ramiro (Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe). In the summer of 2010, she attended IVAI and under the direction of their faculty she made the transition to soprano. In 2011 she has performed Papagena(Die Zauberflöte) with New York Opera Studio, First Lady (Die Zauberflöte) with Festival South’s YAP and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) at San Francisco’s BASOTI.
MARYANN MOOTOS – Soprano – GIORGETTA (IL TABARRO)
Soprano, Maryann Mootos recently interpreted the roles of Tosca with Opera Company of Brooklyn and Madama Butterfly with Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra. Her repertoire spans many other roles, including Andtonia, Micaela, Donna Anna, Marguerite, Nedda, Tatyana, Violetta, Pamina and Suor Angelica. She has appeared with Bel Cantanti Opera, Regina Opera, Chelsea Opera, Long Island Opera, Miami Lyric Opera, Northwest Florida Symphony Opera, Chorus Pro Music and Reading Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Mootos holds a Master’s degree in Opera Performance from Temple Unviersity and a Bachelor’s degree in Voice from the Eastman School of Music.
LAURA SMITH – Mezzo-Soprano – LA SUOR INFERMIERA, LE NOVIZIE – cover, LE CONVERSE -cover (SUOR ANGELICA)
Recent performances: Mme de la Haltiere Katisha in New York Lyric Opera’s concert performance of The Mikado, The voice of Antonia’s mother (cover) in Les Contes d’Hoffman with Regina Opera; The Gingerbread Witch inHansel and Gretel with NY Lyric Opera; “Divas and Divos to die for” with Riverside Opera Company. Laura is also an experienced choral singer, having sung in the chorus for several Regina Opera and Opera Company of Brooklyn productions, as well as participating in the debut recording of the Oratorio Society of Queens, “Holiday Voices”. Ms. Smith lives in Patchogue, NY with her husband Charlie.
BARBARA STAFFEN – Mezzo-Soprano – LA ZIA PRINCIPESSA, LA MAESTRA (SUOR ANGELICA), LA FRUGOLA (IL TABARRO)
Mezzo-soprano Barbara Staffen is pleased to be returning to OCB as Frugola ( Il tabarro) and in Suor Angelica. In July 2011 Barbara performed Fricka (Die Walküre) and Erste Norn (Götterdämmerung) at the inaugural Wagner Intensive program at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea Ohio, working with Jane Eaglen, Nancy Maultsby, Tim Mussard, and Eric Weimer. Of her portrayal of the Countess (Pikovaya dama) with West Bay Opera, Keith Kreitman of the San Mateo County Times raved of her “rich and lyrical mezzo-soprano… (and)… ability to dominate the stage with her well-paced dramatic presence.” Selected previous roles with OCB include Madame Flora (The Medium), La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), and Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro).
ASUKA UCHIDA, Soprano – LE CERCATRICI – cover (SUOR ANGELICA)
Asuka Uchida, Soprano has performed the role of Alice (Le comte Ory), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Gilda (Rigoletto), Novice (Suor Angelica), The third spirit (Die Zauberflöte) and also appeared in performances of Idomeneo, L’Elisir d’Amore, Fidelio, Carmen, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Der Rosenkavalier andGianni Schicchi.
She has sung in Italy, France, Israel, and Japan. In Israel, Asuka was selected to sing for the Japanese ambassador plenipotentiary at the International Vocal Arts Institute. She will sing the role of Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Clorinda (La Cenerentola) with Capitol Heights Lyric Opera and in the Arkadi Opera Idol Competition Final in the fall of 2011.