Dolora Zajick, General Director *
Sarah Agler, Administrative Director *
Kathryn LaBouff, Director of Diction and Director of Community and Academic Relations *
Luana DeVol, Director of the American Wagner Project *
Darrell Babidge, Director of the Emerging Artist and the Young Professional Programs *
Stefano Baldasseroni, Italian Diction *
Yefim Maizel, Acting & Stage Direction *
Dr. Kathryn LaBouff, English Diction *
Fabio Sparvoli, Italian Diction & Stage Direction
John Edward Niles, Wagner studies lecturer & coach *
Cheryl Lin Fielding*
Thom Christoph *
Emily Hamper *
Yelena Kurdina *
Ben Terry Lusk
Anthony Manoli *
Thomas Muraco *
Sarah Agler *
Darrell Babidge *
Luana DeVol *
Badiene Magaziner *
Jacob Will *
Dolora Zajick *
* denotes faculty who were present for the 2016 Institute
A graduate of the G. Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Beatrice Benzi continued her studies in Barcelona and Siena. She began her career as a chamber musician, notably as a member of a piano duo with Gianandrea Noseda and also as part of a chamber ensemble. Since 1991 she has worked at La Scala with internationally renowned conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Jeffrey Tate, James Colon, Daniel Harding, Zubin Metha, Daniele Gatti and Riccardo Chailly, with whom she collaborated on several recordings for the Decca label. Beatrice has worked with many celebrated singers including Barbara Frittoli, Cecilia Bartoli, Dolora Zajick, Leo Nucci, Samuel Ramey, Andrea Rost, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Marcello Giordani. She has collaborated on masterclasses in New York for the winners of the Gerda Lissner Competition with tenor Marcello Giordani and worked with Maestro Zubin Mehta at the“Festival del Mediterraneo a Valencia in 2012 and 2013 and in Tel Aviv on productionof Otello and La Traviata.
Beatrice Benzi, Coach
For over twenty-five years, Thom Christoph has enjoyed a distinguished career as an opera coach and rehearsal pianist in Germany, setting linguistic, musico-dramatic and pianistic standards at the Nationaltheater in Mannheim, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Saxon State Opera (Semperoper) in Dresden. He has prepared a broad spectrum of Italian, French, English and German repertoire for conductors such as Roberto Abbado, Sir Andrew Davis, Jacques Delacôte, Fabio Luisi, Sir Charles Mackerras, Peter Schneider, Wolfgang Rennert and Silvio Varviso, to name but a few. His distinctively “orchestral” pianistic renditions, notably of the operas of Wagner and Strauss, have earned him assignments as rehearsal pianist for Wolfgang Sawallisch and Horst Stein (Die Frau ohne Schatten in Nagoya and Munich, respectively), Lorin Maazel (Der Rosenkavalier at the Salzburg Festival), and Zubin Mehta (the Ring cycle in Valencia). In recent years he has been a regular presence at the spring opera festivals in Baden-Baden, for which he has prepared, among others, productions of Manon Lescaut, Der Rosenkavalier, Tristan und Isolde, and Tosca for Sir Simon Rattle. Mr. Christoph can be heard at the piano in the orchestra of Ariadne auf Naxos on Deutsche Grammophon’s CD-recording with Giuseppe Sinopoli, in the Semperoper production with Sir Colin Davis and in the Baden-Baden production with Christian Thielemann, the latter two available on DVD.
Thom Christoph, Coach
Emily Hamper has earned an excellent reputation for her exceptional skills as a vocal coach and accompanist. Singers from her coaching studio perform with major opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world. With an international career spanning twenty years, she has worked as a rehearsal pianist, coach, and assistant conductor for opera companies across Canada and in Europe. Highly sought-after as a collaborator for recitals, she has recently performed in Paris, Toronto, and Montreal. In 2011 she was awarded the Best Collaborative Pianist Prize at the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. Her performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio, Radio-Canada, Classical 96.3 FM and Vermont Public Radio. She maintains a passion for teaching and mentoring, having served on the faculty of Wilfrid Laurier University, the Vancouver International Song Institute, the University of Toronto, l'Université de Montréal, and the Banff Centre. In 2014, she was invited by Dolora Zajick to join the faculty of the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in the USA. Emily is a founding faculty member of the Stratford Vocal Academy, which opens its third season in August 2017 in Stratford, Ontario.
Pianist, recitalist, coach, prompter and assistant conductor, Yelena Kurdina has been a specialist in Russian repertoire at The Metropolitan Opera for over 20 years. She became Placido Domingo’s private coach and has partnered with many of the most outstanding singers of our time. Ms. Kurdina has brought her distinguished musicianship to such renowned festivals and opera houses as the Opera National de Paris, Houston Grand Opera, Saito Kinen Festival in Japan, Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla, Spain and Washington National Opera. She has been the assistant to conductors Seiji Ozawa, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, James Conlon, Valery Gergiev, Jiří Bělohlávek, Fabio Luisi among others - with whom she has worked on both Russian and Italian operas. Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Kurdina is a protégé of John Wustman - the “Dean of American accompanists” - with whom she studied at the University of Illinois. Devoted to working with young artists, she has been on the faculty of the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and is a regular guest of the Domingo - Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington Opera and Domingo - Thornton Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera, SIVAM in Mexico City, and maintains a vibrant private studio in New York City.
Pianist and Coach Anthony V. Manoli has worked with some of the leading opera companies throughout the world including the Théatre Des Champs-Elysées, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Opera Lausanne, L’Opera Du Rhin, the Spoleto Festival in both Italy and the United States, The Los Angeles Opera, The Washington Opera, Opera Company of Boston, Opera New England, Lake George Opera Festival and L’Opera Français de New York. Mr. Manoli was a Fellowship coach at the Tanglewood Festival and has worked with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Seiji Ozawa, Claudio Abbado, Robert Shaw, Sir Andrew Davis, Richard Bonygne and Sir Colin Davis. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, Jose Carreras, Rockwell Blake and Edita Gruberova are just some of the singers with whom he has worked. Mr. Manoli is currently a coach for the Young Artists Programs at the Washington Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. He is also a faculty member of the Mannes College of Music in New York City where he lives and maintains an active coaching studio. He appears frequently in recitals with prominent singers worldwide and has been seen on the A&E channel in performance with Mezzo-Soprano Dolora Zajick along with performances on television throughout Asia with Soprano Young Ok Shin.
Emily Hamper, Coach
Yelena Kurdina, Coach
Anthony V. Manoli, Coach
Terry has been a vocal coach with many organizations including University of Texas at Austin, Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy, Nevada Opera Seminar and Association, San Francisco Opera Center, Santa Fe Opera, Juilliard School of Music, New York City Opera and many others. He coached Leontyne Price, Luciano Pavarotti, Magraret Price, Giorgio Tozzi, Dolora Zajick, Susan Quittmeyer, Niki Li Hartliep, Ruth Anne Swenson, David Malas, Jacob Willis and Cheryl Parrish. In recital he has accompanied Sherrill Milnes, Ellen Shade, Sheri Greenawald, Lilli Choolasian, Richard Best, Alan Titus, Mignon Dunn and Dolora Zajick. He holds both a BM and MM from Northwestern University.
Terry Lusk, Coach
Maestro Joel Revzen is an award-winning conductor and pianist who has been on the Metropolitan Opera conducting staff since 1999. He has been Dean of the St. Louis Conservatory, Assistant Conductor of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, on the conducting faculty of the Aspen Music Festival, and Artistic Director of the Berkshire Opera in western Massachusetts. In 2003, Maestro Revzen was appointed Artistic Director of Arizona Opera where he guides the artistic vision of the company. Revzen has appeared as guest conductor for leading symphonies and opera companies around the world, including among others the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Prague Symphony Orchestra' Prague Chamber Orchestra; Orchestre de Radio France; the Orchestra National de Lyon; Orchestre Capitole de Toulouse; National Theatre Mannheim, Germany; Kennedy Center Chamber Players; Minnesota Orchestra; Seattle Symphony; National Symphon; and Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. As a collaborative pianist, Revzen has appeared in recital with Jaime Laredo, Michael Tree, Sharon Robinson and the late Arleen Auger.
Joel Revzen, Coach
Ken Weiss is Principal Coach of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and assistant conductor at the Washington National Opera Principal. He has served on the coaching staffs of Wolf Trap opera, the Baltimore Opera's Young Artist Program, Western Opera Theater, the Maryland Opera Studio, and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. As a conductor, he has led Così fan tutte for the Opera Theater of Lucca, Die Zauberflöte for Opera North in New Hampshire, and The Daughter of the Regiment for Opera New England. He is also a frequent lecturer for the Opera's education division. Mr. Weiss is a graduate of the University of Maryland, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program.
Ken Weiss, Coach
Yefim Maizel has more than 33 years of experience directing opera and musical theater productions internationally. He has directed 57 original productions of both opera and operetta for opera houses of all sizes, and has worked with major opera stars as well as young professional and emerging singers. For the last 17 seasons Yefim has been a Guest Stage Director at the Metropolitan Opera, after working for 8 seasons with San Francisco Opera. Yefim recently finished directing a production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore at the Chaliapin Opera festival in Kazan, Russia and will return in February of 2018 to direct a new production of Verdi's Nabucco. Dedicated to the development of young talent, he has a studio in San Francisco where he coaches singers on audition techniques and prepares them for performance of an aria, scene or a complete role. Yefim regularly leads workshops and master classes for singers with invited audiences. In 2005, Mr. Maizel established the Opera Academy of California (OAC), a non-profit educational organization that offers theater performances, master classes, opera appreciation classes and programs for children, as well as a Summer Program for Emerging Singers. In September 2016 Yefim will direct Ravel’s comedy gem L’Heure Espagnole for the Opera Academy of California.
Yefim Maizel, Acting & Stage Direction
Kathryn LaBouff has taught English Diction and English Vocal Literature at the Juilliard School of Music since 1986; the Manhattan School of Music since 1984; and the Curtis Institute of Music since 1998. She is the Assistant Chair of the Voice Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. She has formerly taught at Yale University, Cornell University, Ithaca College, the Mannes College of Music, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. Her book, Singing and Communicating in English – A Singer's Guide to English Diction, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008. She is currently a diction coach on the staff of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera and the San Francisco Opera Merola program where she works on productions and gives masterclasses for their respective young artist programs. She was on the staff for Opera Theatre of St. Louis for six seasons. She has coached and prepared more than 300 opera productions in English. Other companies where she has coached productions are: the Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera Company, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Aspen Music Festival.
Kathryn LaBouff, English Diction
The son of American composer John Jacob Niles and freelance journalist Rena L. Niles, John Edward Niles received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University (1967) and a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati (1969). He was awarded grants from the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation. An NDEA Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship took him to Hamburg, Germany to study advanced conducting. He has also studied with such notable conductors as Richard Lert, Haig Yaghijian, Hans Swarvosky, Erich Kunzel and John Nelson. Mr. Niles was the Music Director/Conductor of Opera Theatre of N. VA/Aurora Opera from 1981 to 2012. Engagements have taken him to the Ithaca (N.Y.) Opera Association, Salt City Playhouse (Syracuse, N.Y.), Bel Canto Opera (New York City), Virginia Opera (Norfolk), Cavalier Productions and COLVA Productions (Arlington, VA), JMJ Productions (Washington, D.C.), and European-American Productions (Hanover, Germany) and at the Auschwitz 50th Anniversary Memorial in Kracow, Poland. He was the Musical Director of Euro-Fest in Prague in July 2002. Currently, John Edward Niles is the Program Director Evelyn Lear & Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers Program, Wagner Society of Washington, DC and an Adjudicator for the Liederkranz Competition, Wagner Division since 2004.
John Edward Niles, Wagner Studies & Coach
Stage Director Fabio Sparvoli’s early career was in experimental theatre, moving to Milan’s Piccolo Teatro to work with Giorgio Strehler in 1980. In 1984 he began his long collaboration with Roberto De Simone, all of whose productions he directed until 1995, launching his interest in opera and music theatre. His work has taken him to Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza, the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele in Messina, the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Turin’s Teatro Reggio, the Mikhailovski Theatre in San Petersburg, the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence, the Opera de Lille, the Wexford Festival and the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile. Recent engagements include – l’Elisir d’amore in Turin and Nice, Les Pecheurs du Perles at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the International Opera Festival Alejandro Granada in Perù, Don Pasquale at the Teatro Municipal di Santiago, Eduardo de Filippo’s Milionaria at the Teatro del Giglio in Lucca, Livorno’s Teatro Goldoni and at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa.
Fabio Sparvoli, Stage Direction
Sarah Agler received her BA in violin performance from the University of Nevada at Reno and completed her MM in vocal performance at Indiana University. She has performed leading roles in opera, light opera and oratorios as well as on the concert stage as soloist with major orchestras. She sang Electra in the world premiere of The Cry of Clytaemnestra at Indiana University. Other roles she has performed include the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Susan B. in The Mother of Us All, Suor Angelica in Suor Angelica and Turandot in Turandot. She has performed with numerous opera companies, including the San Diego Opera, Long Beach Opera and the Nevada Opera Company. Ms. Agler has won several awards in different competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the San Francisco Opera Auditions, the NATS and Fuchs Auditions. She has studied with several teachers and coaches, including Ted Puffer, Vera Scammon, Brian Balkwill, Gillian Cookson, Ernest St. John Metz, Michael Carson, Greg Buchalter and George Trovillo; she continues to study with Kathleen Darragh.
Sarah Agler, Vocal Instructor
Baritone Darrell Babidge graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in the U.K. where he was recognized with four awards and performed the roles of Nottingham (Roberto Devereux), Man (Dawnpath), and Lionel (Maid of Orleans). He also received his Master’s degree from Brigham Young University and his Professional degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music, funded by the Birgitt Nilsson scholarship. A recent review from the Salt Lake Tribune said “On opening night, baritone soloist Darrell Babidge filled the Capitol Theater with his resonant voice”. Another review from the Opera Now journal has written “Darrell Babidge contributed smooth, polished timbre to the [role of] Almaviva”. Darrell is full-time faculty at Brigham Young University. He also teaches the Utah Opera Young Artists. Many of his students sing professionally and have also been accepted into Young Artist programs at the Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera. He has been employed by the Metropolitan Opera to teach in their Lindemann Young Artists program.
Darrell Babidge, Vocal Instructor
Luana DeVol was born in California and is now a resident of Henderson, NV. From 1984 to 1987, she was a principal soloist in the German opera ensembles, first in Aachen then in Mannheim, Germany. From 1987 she was a free-lance artist singing in virtually all the major opera houses of the World. Her debut at La Scala was made as Fidelio in the title role under the baton of Lorin Maazel. She also appeared at La Scala as the Dyer’s wife in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten under the baton of Guiseppe Sinopoli. Her Bruennhilde in Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, for which she was awarded “Singer of the Year” award in Germany, was heard in many theaters, including the Bayreuth Festival, the Vienna State Opera, and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. More recent appearances include Elektra in Buenos Aires, and a concert performance of Goetterdaemmerung in Abu Dhabi. Luana DeVol joined the faculty of University of Nevada Las Vegas in the fall of 2008. She now concentrates on giving Master Classes internationally, maintains a private voice studio, and serves on the panel of experts for the New York based Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges. Most recently she has been appointed to the staff of the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, where she will lead the Wagner Division.
Luana DeVol, Vocal Instructor
Although her career was in opera and Broadway, Badiene Magaziner has become one of the foremost experts in teaching R&B, Pop, Rock, Jazz and Gospel, as well as Opera and Musical Theater. Ms. Magaziner holds a Masters of Music in voice from the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, where she was awarded a full scholarship. Later, she appeared in many opera roles throughout Europe, including Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice, and alternately as Mimi and Musetta in La Boheme. She has also sung the role of Tosca with the New Orleans Opera, Connecticut Opera, Virginia Opera, Boston Opera and Buffalo Opera.
Badienne Magaziner, Vocal Instructor
An international recognized teacher whose students perform regularly at the major operatic and concert stages of the world, tenor César Ulloa presently holds the positions of master teacher at the renowned San Francisco Opera Adler and Merola opera programs, as well as full time professor of voice at SF Conservatory of Music. His students appear in virtually every major young artist program including, Merola, Santa Fe, Glimmerglass, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia, Minnesota, Domingo-Thornton, MET Lindemann, Wolftrap and Domingo-Cafritz. His students have been Frist Prize winners in numerous competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Operalia, Montseratt Caballé, Loren Zachary, George London, Iturbi, Veronica Dunne, Richard Tucker and finalist in the Cardiff Singer of the World. After an international opera and concert career that spans over fifteen years and with more than fifty roles in his repertoire, his singing career brought him to the Metropolitan Opera, NY City Opera, Washington Opera, Canadian Opera, L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony and Cleveland Symphony, among others. He studied voice with tenors Thomas Hayward and Franco Corelli.
César Ulloa, Vocal Instructor
An experienced concert artist, bass-baritone Jacob Will has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra and at the International Bach Festival of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Equally at home on stage, Mr. Will worked for many years with the Zürich Opera appearing in roles such as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Mustafa in L'Italiana in Algeri, and Colline in La Boheme. Other companies with which Mr. Will has appeared include the New York City Opera as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Vancouver Opera as Oroveso in Norma, the Bavarian State Opera as Samuel in Un Ballo in Maschera and the San Francisco Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni. Mr. Will is a member of the voice faculty at the University of South Carolina.
Jacob Will, Vocal Instructor
Dolora Zajick is that rare voice type, a true dramatic Verdi mezzo; she has sung the three big Verdi roles, Azucena, Amneris and Eboli (in Il Trovatore, Aida and Don Carlo respectively) all over the world with such companies as the Metropolitan, Chicago’s Lyric, the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Italy’s La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, London’s Covent Garden, Berlin’s Staatsoper, etc. She has appeared in opera and in concert with some of the world’s foremost conductors. Marilyn Horne, the reigning mezzo-soprano of the previous generation, called Zajick “A force of nature – and it’s not just her amazing voice; it’s what she can do with her voice because of her superb technique and dedication.” The great operatic soprano Birgit Nilsson said that Zajick is “the only one (mezzo-soprano) existing today without any competition in the world.” Ms. Zajick graduated from the University of Nevada with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music before going to New York for further musical studies at the Manhattan School of Music. After winning the Bronze Medal at the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and being accepted into the San Francisco Opera’s Merola program, she made her operatic debut with the San Francisco Opera as Azucena in Il Trovatore, which launched her into international stardom.
Dolora Zajick, Vocal Instructor
Stefano Baldasseroni, Italian Diction
Born in Italy, he began studying drums at an early age and by his late 20s he had recorded and toured as a drummer with many world renowned artists such as Frank Zappa’s former Mothers of Invention “The Grandmothers", Italian diva Patty Pravo, Academy Award’s nominated actor Giancarlo Giannini and EMI platinum artist Moony. After moving to NYC in 2010 besides working as a session drummer, he began working as an Italian language teacher and diction coach for productions at Manhattan School of Music (Falstaff, Lucia, Capuleti e I Montecchi, Luisa Miller, La Bohème and Don Pasquale). In 2012 he was the Italian coach for the summer program, Opera Siena (Suor Angelica and Orlando). In 2016 he was asked by Dolora Zajick to work with the students in her summer program, Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in which he used his skills as a drummer to work with all the singers on rhythm, as well as Italian diction. In September 2016 he was hired by the Juilliard School to coach Italian diction for the productions of Haydn’s “La Fedeltà Premiata” and Händel’s “Agrippina”. In the summer 2017 he will be the Italian coach for Händel’s “Alcina” and will be working with the young artists at the Santa Fe Opera and in Reno for Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.