Sylvia Stone

Sylvia-StoneSylvia Stone, mezzo-soprano, is Professor of Voice and Chair of the Voice Division at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She teaches Voice and also German Diction, as well as French Diction for Singers. Extending her performing talents, expertise, and wisdom into the realm of teaching is a source of great satisfaction to Professor Stone. She teaches her students from an actual performer's perspective and considers herself fortunate through teaching to have the opportunity to pass on her passion for singing to talented and eager young singers.

Her training was at the Eastman School of Music (student of Julius Huehn) where she earned a B.M. (vocal performance) and M.M. (music literature) with honors, a Performer's Certificate in both voice and opera and she was a George Eastman Scholar. She completed additional studies with the German composer and Musikhochschuldirektor Hermann Reutter at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart and with Maria Wetzelsberger-Gluck.

A Fulbright scholar, Sylvia Stone was a two-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Grant. After making her professional debut in Germany in the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Professor Stone, a mezzo-soprano, made her home there and sang with opera companies throughout the German-speaking countries. Additional engagements took her to cities in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, and America. Professor Stone's wide operatic repertoire, spanning more than 1,300 performances, includes the roles of Dorabella in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, the lead roles in Bizet's Carmen and Gluck's Orfeo, Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Komponist in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, and Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore. In Reykjavik, she sang the role of Mary in Der Fliegende Holländer in the first performance there of an opera by Richard Wagner.

A frequent adjudicator and clinician, Professor Stone teaches during the summer months at Scuola Italia for Young Opera Singers in Sant'Angelo in Vado, Italy, and at the Austrian-American-Mozart-Academy in Salzburg, Austria. Other activities include her tenure as co-director of the Komische-Kammer-Oper-München, an international music theater program for young singers in Germany; as director of the MONC East Central Illinois District Auditions; and her frequent affiliation with the University of Miami's Summer Program in Salzburg as master class clinician, as well as at FAVA Salzburg. Summer of 2018 marks her fifteenth season as artistic director of Il Corso Estivo per Giovani Cantanti Lirici in Urbania and Sant'Angelo in Vado, Italy.

Alejandro Roca Bravo

Alejandro Roca 2018Alejandro Roca was born in Colombia and is developing a career as one of the most recognized accompanists, vocal coaches and opera conductors of his generation in South America.
 After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Piano at the Antonio Maria Valencia Conservatory, he moved to Barcelona where he studied at the Liceu Conservatory and specialized in vocal repertoire with teachers such as Dalton Baldwin and Angel Soler. He also holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the National University of Colombia.

He has collaborated with singers in Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Singapore, China, Philippines, Poland, the United States, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia and has played for the masterclasses of artists such as Dawn Upshaw, William Mateuzzi, Dimitri Hvorostovsky among many others.

With more than 15 years of experience in opera and zarzuela productions, his repertoire includes more than 50 fully prepared operas and has collaborated with conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Hilary Griffiths, Gerard Korsten, Miguel Roa, Patrick Fournillier, Rodolfo Fischer, Josep Caballé-Domenech among many others.

He is currently Assistant Conductor at Opera de Colombia, Head Vocal Coach and Director of the Opera Workshop at Universidad Central and Pianist and Musical Assistant and conductor for the opera productions at Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santodomingo and Teatro Colon in Bogota.

He was invited to teach a Zarzuela workshop at the Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, and to play the opening concert of “Las Americas en Concierto”, concert series at Mannes School of Music in New York. Recently he was invited to the University of Michigan to perform and teach during the Festival “En Español: sounds of the hispanosphere”. In the last years he has been part of the staff for the Scuola Italia Summer Opera Program for Young Singers in Sant´Angelo in Vado (Italy) as Musical director and coach.

Alejandro has been also Academic Director of the Educational Program of the Cartagena International Music Festival where he also collaborates in the opera productions.

He has conducted the Colombian National Symphony, the Bogota Symphonic orchestra (FOSBO); the Bogota youth Philharmonic orchestra, the Cali Philharmonic Orchestra, among others and recently conducted the Colombian premieres of Britten´s Midsummer night´s dream, and Leonard Bernstein´s Candide and a new production of Gonzalo Roig´s zarzuela Cecilia Valdes for the Teatro Colon in Bogota.

Upcoming engagements for 2018 include a new production of zarzuela “Los Gavilanes” with the Colombian National Symphony and an international recital tour and cd recording with Metropolitan Opera artist Valeriano Lanchas.

Filippo Ciabatti

Filippo CiabattiA native of Florence, Italy, Filippo Ciabatti has recently been appointed Music Director of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. Summer of 2017, he will be musical director and conductor for Opera North (NH) conducting Madama Butterfly.

In 2016, Mr. Ciabatti conducted Tosca at Opera North (NH), directed by Russell Treyz, and Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Theatre at Illinois, directed by Christopher Gillett. In May 2015, he made his South American debut conducting the Universidad Central Symphony Orchestra in Bogota, Colombia, where he also taught masterclasses in orchestra and Italian opera. With La Nuova Aurora Opera, he conducted full productions of Handel’s Rodrigo (2015) and Purcell’s King Arthur (2016).

Mr. Ciabatti has appeared as guest conductor with many orchestras including the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Sangamon Valley Symphony Orchestra, East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra, University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Truman State Symphony Orchestra. He also served as choirmaster of Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Champaign, IL).
As a pianist and coach in Italy, Mr. Ciabatti worked for the Cherubini Conservatory, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Florence Opera Academy, and performed with singers such as Adriana Marfisi and Silvia Bossa. He has played for masterclasses of Renée Fleming, Nathan Gunn, William Matteuzzi, Donald George, and Isabel Leonard. He is currently assistant music director and coach of Scuola Italia per Giovani Cantanti Lirici (Sant’Angelo in Vado, Italy).
He has attended conducting masterclasses in Europe and in the United States, studying with prominent teachers such as Mark Stringer, Michael Luig, David Effron, Lawrence Golan and Donald Schleicher. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Illinois.
Mr. Ciabatti holds degrees in orchestral conducting, choral conducting and piano performance from Italy and the United States..

William Matteuzzi

William MatteuzziWilliam Matteuzzi was born in Bologna Italy. After some years of performing concerts he made his official opera debut in Milan in 1979 with the role of Des Grieux in the Opera “Manon” of Jules Massenet. Some years later he met the most important vocal influence of his life, Rodolfo Celletti, who was an expert of the Belcanto Style and famous for his writings about the most important period of vocal excellence in the Italian style, spanning the music of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, early Verdi etc. Following Celletti’s advice, Mr. Matteuzzi specialized in this style and became known not only for elegant and stylistic singing of this repertoire but also for his contributions to the Rossini Renaissance all over the world.

Mr. Matteuzzi has sung over 100 roles in operas, oratorios and operettas throughout world, including Europe, China, Japan, North America, South America, Belorussia, Poland, Bulgaria, etc.

He is to be heard on many recording labels such as Decca, Deutsche Gramophone, Emi, and Phillips with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Chailly, Sinopoli, Pappano etc. In the last years he began to teach and give master classes in Accademia Chigiana (Pisa) and Accademia di Osimo (Ancona).

He began a new artistic phase as a Stage Director in Holland with “The Barber of Seville”. Recently he created an evening with his students about Monteverdi, combining classical singing and recitation which will shortly be performing on a tour throughout Italy.

June Card

June-CardMs. Card’s career as a singer of international stature spans decades. She has sung - among other theatres - at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Vienna State Opera, La Fenice in Venice and in the most important opera houses in Germany. She has received titles and honours for her performances for her vocal and for her theatrical abilities. Her intuitive sense of drama and her experience with all aspects of music theatre have made her a highly qualified stage director.

She has directed operas in Germany, France and America, has led opera workshops and taught voice.


Donald George

Donald GeorgeTenor, has performed at La Scala, Milan; San Carlo, Naples; La Fenice, Venice; Teatro Reggio, Turin; Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa; the Paris Opéra Bastille and Théâtre du Châtelet, the Royal Opéra of Brussels, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the State Operas of Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna and Copenhagen, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the New National Theatre of Tokyo, New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, the Salzburg Festival, The Flanders Festival, the Perth Festival (Australia), the Blossom Festival (USA) among others.

He has sung with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Yehudi Menuhin, Jeffry Tate, Vladimir Jurowski, Simone Young and recorded for CD and DVD: Mendelsohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Requiem, Rossini’s Aurelieano in Palmira, and Le Nozze di Teti e Peleo (the world premiere recording) and Bernstein’s Candide. His recent recording of the songs of Margaret Lang Love is Everywhere was Music Web International’s CD of the Year and nominated for a Grammy. His newest CD Dem Sturme folgt die Heiterkeit und lacht! -Cheerfulness Follows the Storm and Laughs with the music of Joseph Weigl (1766-1843) was released this summer at the Esterházy Festival in Eisenach, Austria.

He is writing a book for Oxford University Press entitled Master Singers: Advice from the Stage, which consists of of interviews with current opera stars. (Including Christine Goerke). He is presently preparing a recording for Delos of the complete songs of Nadia Boulanger. He is currently an Associate Professor at The Crane School of Music.

Maria Selene Farinelli

Maria SeleneMaria Selene Farinelli, Italian stage director, comes from a family of puppeteers. She holds degrees in the disciplines of art, music and performance from University of Bologna, a Master’s degree in Theater as an Educational Discipline from the Department of Education in Bologna, and a second Master's degree in Opera Directing from the Verona Opera Academy.

She carried out several internships as assistant director in theaters such as the Regio of Parma, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Rovigo, Bassano Opera Festival, and Teatro Comunale in Bologna. She has functioned either as assistant stage director or stage director in many Italian theaters, such as the Civic Theater of Vercelli, La Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, in the theaters of Pesaro, Budrio and Imperia directing “Madama Butterfly”. At the Olympic Theater of Vicenza, where she currently is both stage manager and assistant director, she has been involved with the Mozart operas Così fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. In 2014 she made her debut at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago (LU) directing “Il Tabarro”.

In 2015 she was engaged at the Petruzzelli Theater of Bari for the opera “Les Dialogues des Carmelites” by Poulenc, and in the same year for “Le Braci” at the Festival Valle d'Itria, and at the Teatro Comunale in Treviso for Don Giovanni and “L’Italiana in Algeri”. She assisted Leo Muscato for the staging of “I Masnadieri” by Giuseppe Verdi at the Busseto Verdi Festival and in November 2016, she assisted Italo Nunziata for the world premiere of “La scuola dei gelosi” by A.Salieri, which went on tour to Verona, Chieti, Jesi and Belluno.

2017 opened with Ms. Farinelli again collaborating with the Teatro Comunale di Treviso where she is assistant to the American stage director Robert Driver for “Die Entführung aus dem Serail”. She returns this year to the Verdi Festival for the resumption of “I Masnadieri” and to Il Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino for filming “La Scuola dei Gelosi”.