Marina Harris Wins George London-Leonie Rysanek Award

Alumna Marina Harris won the George London-Leonie Rysanek Award in New York last weekend. The George London Foundation holds one of the oldest vocal competitions in the United States and Canada, offering among the most substantial awards to outstanding North American opera singers.
In 2014 there were 5 top awards of $10,000 each.  Former George London winners include Renee Fleming, Shigemi Matsumoto, Eric Owens, and Dawn Upshaw.

Thor Steingraber to Head Valley Performing Arts Center

Thor Steingraber, director of the Fall Opera Scenes, was named the new Executive Director of the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge. Thor is a noted opera and theater director who earned his Bachelor’s degree in theater/drama from Indiana University and his Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Nicola Said at Valletta International Baroque Festival

Nicola Said performed “Scoglio d’immota fronte” from Handel’s Scipone and “Caro! Bella! Più amabile beltà” from Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the Valletta International Baroque Festival. She was accompanied by Les Bougies Baroques, an international vocal and period instrument ensemble, in the Throne Room of the Presidential Palace in Valletta

Nathan Stark in La Fille du Regiment

Alumnus Nathan Stark performed the role of Sergeant Sulpice in La Fille du Regiment at the Madison opera Feb 7 and 9, 2014.

He received several excellent reviews including, “With Nathan Stark as Sergeant Sulpice, the opening scene of Act 2 was simply a tour de force” from the Madison Magazine; “Tall and stocky veteran baritone Nathan Stark is ideal as the blustering but warm-hearted Sulpice.” from the Daily Isthmus; and “Mr. Stark… was clearly the most experienced of the three principals. Although more often than not tasked with portraying serious bass roles such as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Mr. Stark was perfectly charming as the oafish Sulpice, leader of the regiment that has raised Marie, and primary father figure to the lass.  He gave Sulpice his all, making him both believable and amusing. One wonders whether singing basso buffo roles might prove to be a gold mine for Mr. Stark. He was certainly very successful with this one!” from

Nathan Stark in The Poe Project

Alumnus Nathan Stark will be singing with The Poe Project – Buried Alive & Embedded at North Dakota State University: Festival Concert Hall in Fargo in March.

Buried Alive (by composer Jeff Myers and librettistQuincy Long) and Embedded by composer Patrick Soluri and librettist Deborah Brevoort) were commissioned by American Lyric Theater in New York City in honor of the Poe Centennial in 2009. Rather than adapting Poe’s stories, to the stage, the writers were challenged with “What might Poe write if he were alive today?.”

Edward Nelson Accepted into Merola Program

Alumnus Edward Nelson has been accepted into the prestigious Merola Program with the San Francisco Opera, following in the footsteps of Marina Harris. Edward also won the 2013 Mid-South Region of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, sang the lead role in Owen Wingrave (double cast with Simon Barrad) at CCM this past fall, under the direction of our own Johannes Mueller-Stosch. He was a 2012 Apprentice Artist with the Central City Opera House and has been a Fellow at Tanglewood.

Nicola Said Featured in Maltese Paper

The Malta Sunday Circle Magazine ran a feature on Alumna Nicola Said during a recent visit home to the island. When asked to give advice to young musicians, she responded “…just enjoy the journey! So much of the time we spend worrying about the future and whether this is going to happen, we forget to enjoy the moment.”

The article notes upcoming performances: a recital at St James Cavalier (Malta) and the Valletta International Baroque Festival in January, a recital of music by Maltese Composers at St. John’s Waterloo in February, and a summer concert in Bath.

Nathan Stark Sings with Madison Symphony

Alumnus Nathan Stark got a great review from his Christmas performance with the Madison Symphony. “Mr. Stark’s solo turns came in a just-sweet-enough rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Nate will be back in Madison in February when he appears in Madison Opera’s production of The Daughter of the Regiment

Marina Harris Sings with San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

Alumna Marina Harris has been engaged as “Diva” with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus for their holiday extravaganza December 6 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.

In an article on the event in The Bay Area Reporter, Tim Seelig, conductor, explained, “Seelig laughed as he recalled the e-mail exchange that resulted in Harris signing on for the show. “We are looking for a diva,” he told her. Harris’ reply: “I speak diva fluently”.”

They will repeat the concert three additional times on December 24th at  5, 7 and 9 p.m., at the Castro Theatre, their “home” theater.