Students and Alumni
What exciting things are Florence Voice Seminar Alumni doing now?!
- Ioanna Tsakalakou, soprano. Performing the role of Lisa in Tchaikovsky's Opera of Spades (in concert) at AVA for the Russian Opera Workshop in Philadelphia. (July 2012).
- Two of the ten 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions finalists are Florence Voice Seminar alumni!
- Three of the five finalists at the 2007 Greenfield Competition at the Philadelphia Orchestra were Florence Voice Seminar alumni. The competition was won by FVS alum Disella Laursdottir (see below).
- Takesha Meshe Kizart, soprano. Engagements through the 2012/13 season include exciting debuts with The Metropolitan Opera of New York; in Recital with renowned pianist Ken Noda; the title role of Tosca with Opera Australia; Margherita & Elena (Mefistofele) with Opera National de Montpellier; the title role of Maria di Rohan with Caramoor International Music Festival; the title roles of Marie Victoire and Madama Butterfly, and Klytemnestra (Cassandra by Gnecchi) under Maestro Runnicles with Die Deutsche Oper Berlin; the title role of Tosca with Die Oper Frankfurt; Donna Leonora (Il Trovatore) in a new production with New National Theatre Tokyo; new productions of Verdi's Requiem, Judith (Bluebeard's Castle), and Tosca with Oper der Stadt Koeln; and the title role of Tosca with Die Bayerische Staatsoper. She attended the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia; and won Concorso Internazionale Voci Verdiane, Concurso Internacional de Canto Montserrat Caballé, The Classical Singer Young Artists Competition and was one of the winners in the general opera division of the Liederkranz competition.
- Emily Eisen, soprano. Performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with the Philadelphia outreach company, Children's Opera Box; debuted the role of Musetta in New York Opera Forum's Christmastime performances of La Boheme; reprised Zerlina with Delaware Valley Opera Company's Don Giovanni in Philadelphia.
- Nelson Ebo, tenor. Currently at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Encouragement Award, Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition, 2011; Second Place, Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, 2011; First Place, Connecticut Concert Opera, 2010; Encouragement Award, Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition, 2010; First Place, Lakes Region Opera and Opera New Hampshire Competition, 2008.
- John Viscardi, tenor. Currently at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Lys Symonette Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number, Lotte Lenya Competition, 2011; First Place, Mario Lanza Scholarship, 2011.
- Liana Brooke Guberman, soprano. Florence Voice Seminar 2006 participant (with Julian Rodescu) and former student of Nancy Froysland Hoerl at Westminster Conservatory of Music (2002-05) is currently in a Professional Studies Diploma program at Mannes College - The New School in New York City. Liana has a B.M. from Boston University and a M.M. from Purchase College Conservatory. Liana will perform the role of Donna Anna in the Mannes Opera production of Mozart's Don Giovanni in May 2012 at the Kaye Playhouse/Hunter College in New York under the direction of Maestro Joseph Colaneri. Liana occasionally performs locally at the Rocky Hill Inn (where she has earned the title of "resident opera singer") and also performs at different venues in New York City, including Cornelia Street Café, Park Avenue Methodist Church, Morgan Library, and as a soloist with Maestro Eugene Sirotkine in Westchester and New Jersey.
- Alexandra Loutsion, soprano. Debut with Pittsburgh Opera acclaimed as “powerful and projecting” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Performed Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Central City Opera and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with the Aspen Music Festival and was the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Erie Philharmonic.
- Devon Guthrie, soprano. Sang Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with James Levine conducting, at Tanglewood in 2009. Apprenticed at Santa Fe in 2010. Performed Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with Alan Gilbert and the NY Philharmonic, 2011, and covers Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice at the Metropolitan Opera.
- Sarah Nisbett, mezzo-soprano. Sang the Queen in John Harbison’s Full Moon in March at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Harbison’s “Full Moon in March” (1977)… has plenty of high tension and occasionally melodic vocal writing, which Sarah Nisbett, as the Queen…mastered completely.”
- Hirotaka Kato, bass-baritone. Created the role of Paul Gauguin in the World Premiere of Bernard Rands’ "Vincent" at Indiana University. He was a Fellow at the 2010 Asoen Music Festival.
- Jihee Kim, soprano. Is part of the Opera Program at Yale University. She has performed Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Yale Philharmonia and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.
- Jonathan Winell, tenor. Attended the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Apprentice at Central City Opera, 2011.
- Noah Van Niel, tenor. Sang Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress with the IVAI in Tel Aviv, Israel. Attended the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Prizewinner in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition.
- Kiera Duffy, soprano. Performed with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She performed with James Levine at Tanglewood in July 2007. "Rose, has the flightiest music, and Kiera Duffy sang it virtuosically", wrote Allan Kozinn of The New York Times.
- John Andrew Fernandez wins 2009 Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition. He also performed Silvio in Pagliacci with Knoxville Opera.
- Amanda Moody, soprano. "The first half of [Maria Stuarda's] Act I was dominated by the overwhelming stage presence of Amanda Moody's Elizabeth … Her intonation and diction were superb as was her subtle, meaningful shading of words. Her dynamic range was awesome, from a hushed aside to her thundering fury." — Classical Voice of North Carolina, Jan. 2010. She won the Philadelphia Orchestra Young Artists Voice Competition and attended the Young Artist Program at Arizona Opera.
- Disella Larusdottir, soprano. Covering at the Metropolitan Opera in 2011. Performed the World Premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ “L’Arte del Danssar” in Philadelphia. She made her New York recital debut in 2008. The New York Times wrote, “Ms. Larusdottir deployed her high, bright and clear voice with a striking ease and consistency. A captivating group of songs by Grieg included “I Love You,” in which her voice shimmered like silver, and “Solveig’s Song,” with vocalise sections that had a thrilling liquid quality.” She was a winner in the Zachary Competition; and won the Astral Artistic Services Auditions and will make her Philadelphia recital debut.
- Dalma Boronkai, soprano. Performed as Gilda in Rigoletto with New Opera Festival di Roma.
- Elisa Vilbergsdottir won second place in the Wagnerian Division of the Liederkranz competition.
- Allen Pinkney, Jr. performed the role of Don Jose in Carmen at Brevard (August 2006) and was an apprentice with Sarasota Opera in 2007.
What are our students saying about the Florence Voice Seminar?
"I couldn't have expected the leap to this next level that your teaching, the positive learning environment, and living with other musicians has given him. He really came back with great information from teaching and coaching, and a fire in his belly."
- Sharon Daniels, Director, Opera Institute, Boston University
"Amazing teachers and coaches, great spaces to live in and sing in ... I feel inspired and thankful for the experience."
- Jamie Lupien, Westminster Choir College
"My lessons were amazing. I loved the garden apartment - great program with great teachers and people."
- Lauren Blair, Boston University
"I thought the festival and facilities were wonderful."
- Sarah Ryman, New England Conservatory
"Every musician was encouraging, the environment was awe-inspiring, the wealth of information was overwhelming and I loved every moment!"
- Cassandra Douglas, Westminster Choir College
"The Florence Voice Seminar is a great opportunity to work intensely with fabulous teachers in a supportive and creative atmosphere! I highly recommend it to any singer who is serious about honing his or her craft.....It's like an entire semester of grad school in three weeks."
- Jackie Dunleavy Boyle, soprano, Westminster Choir College