After completing his undergraduate degree from University of Michigan, HOLDEN MADAGAME moved to Germany where he now sings in small roles and in opera choruses.
JESSICA TAYLOR NORONHA graduated from Juilliard in 2013, married and moved to Seattle, Washington, where she sang with the Seattle Opera, Tacoma Opera, and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society. In addition to regular chorus work, Ms. Taylor Noronha performed many leading roles, including Zerlina, Adina, Musetta, Lauretta, Josephine and Gretel. She currently lives in Bavaria, Germany with her husband and son. She was a two-time participant of the Bel Canto Institute Summer Program.
Theodora Siegel is a two time past participant of the Bel Canto Institute and former Performance Award winner. Theodora is a sophomore Vocal Performance major at UCLA, studying under the instruction of Juliana Gondek. She is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege program and attended Music Fest Perugia. Theodora is a first place winner at NATS-NYC and made her first Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall debut in 2014.
REBECCA ENGLEHARD has performed extensively since attending Bel Canto Institute in 2003. Highlights from the last several years include singing Montresor in the World Premiere of Julia Amanda Perry’s The Cask of Amontillado in October 2017 with Pittsfield Opera Theater in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in the Ensemble for Turandot with The Detroit Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with Opera MODO (June, 2018), and in May 2016, Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring with Opera MODO in Detroit. Ms. Englehard currently teaches voice and piano privately at Marshall Music and Deborah’s Stage Door Center for the Performing Arts and is music director for student musicals as well.
PATRICIA ALESSI is now Head of Music at Mount Pleasant College in Perth, Australia. She recently formed the ensemble, Australian Baroque.
Canadian lyric tenor Patrick Jang become a lawyer and a licensed insurance agent following his participation in BCI in 2013 and he continues to perform in operas and musicals. Recent performances have included Hoffmann in The Tales of Hoffmann, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Ismay in Titanic, and Canadian Opera Company Chorus for Götterdämmerung.
Mr. Jang is the principal tenor on the roster for independent opera company Odd Opera, as well as serving on that company’s board of directors. He is also legal counsel and a board member for The Butterfly Project, a not-for-profit organization helping financially and educationally disadvantaged single mothers to transform their lives and set them and their families up for a better future. In addition to singing and legal work, Mr. Jang also teaches voice privately.
Kristina Socanski was born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1990. At an early age, she showed exceptional musical talent and won several competitions for youth in her home country. In 2001 she moved to Stavanger, Norway together with her family.
Kristina has studied at the University of Stavanger and Barratt Due Music Institute in Oslo, Norway, as well as at HFM Franz Liszt in Weimar, Germany. She holds her official degrees from “Norwegian Academy of Music” in Oslo (Bachelor Degree) and “Royal Danish Academy of Music” in Copenhagen (Master Degree). In February 2019, she will graduate from the prestigious “soloist class” (Advanced Postgraduate Studies) at RDAM in Copenhagen, where she is specializing in chamber music and accompaniment, mentored by prof. Niklas Sivelov, Friedrich Gurtler and Soren Rastogi.
In 2018, Kristina was invited to Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College in New York, as a “visiting scholar”. Here she collaborated with prof. Edward Smaldone, and performed some of his music written for piano, among other pieces written by American composers. This was a part of her artistic research project dedicated to contemporary music written in the USA, which is to be presented in Copenhagen in 2019.
Kristina has won prizes in competitions in Serbia, Norway, Italy, Austria and USA. As a result of her recent awards, she has performed at major venues such as “Mozarteum” (Salzburg, Austria) and “Carnegie Hall” (New York). Her talent has also been acknowledged with grants and scholarships from the Norwegian Cultural Council, Sparebank 1, Idella Foundation, Den Böhmske Fond, Torp-Pedersen Fondet, Feldthusens Fond and others.
During her studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Kristina worked together with the renowned contemporary pianist Ellen Ugelvik. This inspired her to start exploring new music, and marked the beginning of an exciting new journey. In the last few years, the collaboration with Peter Degenhardt, professor emeritus at the Music Academy in Cologne and a contemporary music specialist, has also been of great importance.
In 2017 Kristina spent a month in Florence, Italy, studying accompaniment and opera coaching with Maestro Jane Klaviter at the “Bel Canto Institute”. This inspired her to continue and broaden her activity as a collaborative pianist. She is a passionate chamber musician and member of several ensembles, as well as the founder and artistic director of “Vrsac International Chamber Music Festival” in Serbia.
Kristina has performed throughout Europe and in the USA. As a part of her soloist degree, she has since 2016 been teaching as an assistant for the piano class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
American soprano JESSICA TRUE has been described as having “unusual flexibility and sensitivity to the inner as well as outer drama of music and text.” She recently made her debut with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as the Dritte Knabe in Die Zauberflote. Other recent credits include performances at the Indiana University Opera Theatre, including the role of Zaneeta Shinn in The Music Man, Somewhere soloist in West Side Story, and as chorus member in a range of other productions.
While studying in Germany after high school, Ms. True had the great pleasure to perform in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Magdeburg Opera House. She made her Italian premieres as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica at the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival in Sicily and sang as a soloist in the Operaestate Festival Veneto.
Ms. True has a BA in Italian and a BM in Vocal Performance from Indiana University. She is currently pursuing her MA in Opera Performance at the University of Kansas under the tutelage of acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle.
Since his participation in the Bel Canto Institute summer program, JOSEPH TUMOLO earned a BA in Italian Language & Literature from Fordham University in 2014, followed by an MA in Italian at the University of Connecticut in 2016. He is now working toward earning his a PhD. in the Department of Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles. The dissertation project will investigate the recurrence of Baroque aesthetics in twentieth Century Italian literature. Mr. Tumolo recently published a piece on Italian-American author John Fante and is now beginning to work toward his dissertation project, which will investigate the recurrence of Baroque aesthetics in twentieth century Italian literature. He recently published a piece on Italian-American author John Fante.
JACOB LITT graduated summa cum laude from the University of Richmond in Virginia in May 2018, earning a BA in Leadership Studies with a double major in Music, concentration in Vocal Performance. Since completing Bel Canto, he has performed two major solo recitals, remained an active participant in the university’s mixed choir, Schola Cantorum, Chamber Ensembe, and opera scenes programs.
During his senior year at University of Richmond, he completed a senior honors thesis researching how performing arts education could be implemented into a special education environment to benefit the mental and social-emotional development of students with autism. Now he is pursuing a career in education with a special interest in music education.
HELEN McCREARY attended Bel Canto Institute Youth Division Summer Program as a sixteen year old. She went on to graduate from Yale University in 2013 with a degree in archaeology and is currently working towards a PhD at the University of Bradford, in Yorkshire, England. Her research focuses on using drones to collect data over archaeological sites. Before going to England, she spent a few years working as a singer/songwriter, and her EP and album are on Spotify/iTunes. In addition to being proud of her work in archaeology, she is extremely proud of the song she wrote about being a cat lady.
After attending Bel Canto Institute, Erin Payne was accepted into Opera Roanoke’s Apprentice Program, after which she plans to attend graduate school.
Eva Hess Thaysen has sung more than 40 roles on stage, mainly as a principal soloist with The Danish National Opera (Den Jyske Opera). She has performed with all Danish Symphony Orchestras and has also appeared with The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Malmo Symphony Orchestra. She has performed at festivals all over Europe and has recorded extensively, including songs by Carl Nielsen (Rondo), Charlotte in “The Sleeping Draught” with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta (Dacapo), songs by American composer Dan Marmorstein (Classico), and numerous recordings of contemporary Danish music. She is President of The Danish Lied Society, teaches voice and is Head of Vocal Studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
Degrees and Studies:
Hamilton College (BA), Royal Danish Academy of Music (Diploma 1987, Soloist Class 1989, and Master in Elite Voice Pedagogy 2008)
Studied voice with Buhl Moeller, Eken, Brown and Moffo.
Daniela Carreón completed her high school studies in Mexico following her participation in Bel Canto Institute and was recently accepted into Mannes School of Music.
Since attending Bel Canto Institute, CAROLYN RAMSEUR completed her M.M. in opera performance from Wichita State University, then moved to New York City where she continues to perform. She attended Caramoor in the summers of 2016/2017 and in 2017.2018 past year she has sung with New York City Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and ARE Opera.
Catherine Siniscalco earned her BM from Syracuse University in Vocal Performance in May 2014. After graduating she moved to Orlando, Florida to work at Disney World for a year, then moved to Rochester, NY to work at the Eastman School of Music as the Admissions Assistant. Ms. Siniscalco is currently residing in New York City, working at NYU as an Administrative Aide. She plans to go back to school Fall 2019 to start towards her MBA.
After attending Bel Canto Institute, ALLISON MESSIER graduated from New England Conservatory and since then has maintained an active singing career. She has performed roles such Carmen, La Zia Principessa, Dido, Hänsel, and the Romany Maid, though the majority of her work has been in oratorio and song recitals. She has found a niche in performing in house recitals and farm dinners, the up and coming venue for young performers. Recent concerts of songs by Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Bjork, Neil Young with a colleague who plays harpsichord yielded two albums entitled ALLISON: Volume One and ALLISON: Volume Two.
Ms. Messier resides in Little Compton, Rhode Island where she also teaches in Sakonnet Music, a company she founded.
Puerto Rican soprano ANISABEL TORRUELA SUAREZ performs in the choir Orfeon San Juan Bautista while continuing her vocal sutdies and working as a transcriber for legal depositions. She will apply for graduate study either in the United States or Europe.
Finnish soprano JOHANNA NYLUND will finish her Master’s Degree at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen in 2019. She perform Händel’s Messiah in Finland in December, 2018, as well as the soprano solo in Jyväskylä 2.12 with Chamber Choir Valo and Oulu’s Chamber Orchestra. In addition, she will perform several smaller concerts throughout the year. Ms. Nylund was a recipeint of the 2018 Bel Canto Instituter Performance Award and Orchestral Performance Award.
Anna Forsebo, Swedish coloratura soprano, received her education at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, the Bel Canto Institute in Firenze, and at Centro Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo i Valencia.
Since her role debut as Jenny Lind in ”The Swedish Nightingale” she has performed several coloratura roles in Scandinavia and Germany, at the international Rossini festival in Pesaro, at Palau de les Arts in Valencia, and in Vina del Mar, Chile.
In 2015 she gave the world premiere as Shapla in ”The Great Weaving Opera”, and in 2016 he performed the role as Lisa in ”La sonnambula” at Opera Hedeland, Denmark.
In the sacred repertoire she has often been engaged as soprano soloist in a.o. Bach´s Passions and ”Christmas Oratorio”, Brahms´”Requiem”, Britten´s ”The Company of Heaven”, Handel´s ”Messiah”, the masses and ”Requiem” by Mozart, Rossini´s ”Petite messe solennelle”, and Vivaldi´s ”Gloria”.
This season, Anna is one of six finalists in the Hjördis Schymberg Singing Award, where she will perform together with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra.
After several previous engagements with the regional orchestras in Denmark, Anna is looking forward to concerts with South Jutland Symphony Orchestra in 2019.
Since participating in Bel Canto Institute’s Summer Program, ASHLEY MARIA BAHRI KASHAT reeived a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Manhattan School of Music, then was hired by Michigan Opera to sing two roles: Flora in La Traviata and Krystyna in The Passenger. She teaches voice privately in the Detroit Metro area to high school and college students and is the mother of two daughters.
In 2018 MARTIN VILBRAND begins his second year at the Royal Danish Opera Academy where he is working on two roles: Germont from La Travia and Hamlet from Hamlet by Thomas. Later this year he will make his debut with the Danish Opera as one of Scarpia’s henchmen, Sciarrone, in Tosca by Puccini.
ASTRID SULIA WESTBERG received the first Amadeus Music & Arts Academy scholarship and will complete high school at Amadeus-Vienna International School. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Ms. Westberg was a recipient of the 2018 Bel Canto Institute Performance Award.
Freelance opera coach and pianist.
Participant in BCI summer program 2016 and 2018
“From being a mere piano player to working as an opera coach is a rather large journey that takes a change of mindset, lots of experience and many hours of dedicated work. But more so, it is important to have a sense of style and knowledge about traditions. The BCI summer program was my kick-start in entering this discipline! Soon after my first trip to Florence, I was lucky to get the chance to work on a production of Cavalleria Rusticana, and there is no doubt that my summer of learning Italian language and studying the bel canto style paid off!
Since then I have constantly based my work on the methods and knowledge that were founded in the summer program, and fortunately it has led to continuous flow of engagements which allows me to live by playing music. My current projects include productions of Dido and Aeneas, Eugene Onegin and a concert performance of the third act of Rigoletto. I always look especially forward to playing and coaching a bel canto opera, but I have also learned that the qualities of this style are so universal that they can be applied in most opera repertoire.”
Mr. Dragsted has performed recitals at the Bronholm Chamber Jusic Festival and Natmandsforeningn. Grants he has received include Den Bohmske Fond and Augustinusfonden.
Since participating in the Bel Canto Institute Summer Program In Florence, Italy, KRISTIN MOYE attended Casentino Voice Festial in Italy (full scholarship), International Opera Academy in Germany, also on full scholarship, as well as Mozarteum, again on full scholarship. She won the Pro-Mozart society of Atlanta scholarship in 2015, and received full scholarship twice to attend the Berkshire Choral Festival. Performances have included Adele in Die Fledermaus with Opera Tennessee and Queen of the Night with the German Vocal Arts Institute in Seattle. Currently Ms. Moye is giving a German art song recital tour in Georgia, making her Spivey HAll debut, and working toward a second Master’s degree in speech language pathology.
ELOISE SAINT JOHNSON is currently pursuing a second Bachelors in Music in Vocal Performance. Her first degree from Smith College was in Sociology with a music minor. She spent four summers with Franco American Vocal Academy in Salzburg and Perigueux singing Manuelita in La Perichole, Silberklang in Der Schauspieldirektor, Susanna in Le Nozza di Figaro, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and she also participated in a summer program of scenes at Manhattan School of Music. This year at SFCM she will be singing Dame Elegante and chorus in Les mamelles de Tireseas by Poulenc and a few small roles in the ensemble for the Threepenny Opera. This July, she covered and sang Gretel with Berlin Opera Academy in Hänsel und Gretel.
Since 2016, Brett Pardue has served on the Music Faculty of Lehigh University as the Sametz Artist-in-Residence, acting as Lecturer of Voice Pedagogy and Introductory Voice Seminar classes, instructor of private voice study, and resident tenor soloist for the Department of Music. In 2017, Pardue was invited to join Rowan University’s Department of Music Theatre and Dance as a Collaborative Pianist and Vocal Coach. During his time in the Northeast, Pardue has also performed as a Guest Artist of the National Endowment of the Arts and has served as an Adjudicator for the 2018 New Jersey National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, hosted at Rowan University.
As a performer, Pardue has been praised by Opera Lively as “a name to be followed,” and by D.C. Metro Theater Arts for having “matinee-idol looks and personality, and [singing] equally attractively.” Solo performances have included venues such as Carnegie Hall (New York Lyric Opera, 2017), Lincoln Center (Philharmonia of New York, 2018), and Cincinnati Opera, as well as internationally in Italy, Canada, and Japan. In 2019, Pardue will be featured as the leading tenor in a recording project sponsored by the National Opera of Bulgaria in partnership with NAXOS, featuring previously unrecorded works by Johann Strauss.
Pardue is an encouragement award winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and has appeared as a guest artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts (Concert Operetta Theatre), Westminster Choir College, Mannes School of Music (International Vocal Arts Institute), and Rutgers University. Pardue has performed as a soloist for the historic Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, and has appeared in concert with the Philharmonia of New York, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and in recital with Metropolitan Opera’s Jane Klaviter.