Staff and Faculty 2005
Martina Arroyo Mark Rucker Willie Anthony Waters Laura Alley Carmine Aufiero Charles Caine
Saffron Y Chung Steven Crawford Steven Horak Joan Krueger Louis Menendez Ellen Rievman
Sergio Stefani Lyudmilla Syrochkina Wendy Taucher      
Martina Arroyo, Artistic Director From the stages of the world's most prestigious opera houses-New York's Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, London's Covent Garden, Milan's La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, and the Buenos Aires Teatre Colon -to the concert halls.of Salzburg, Berlin, Rome, Paris and New York -the name of Martma Arroyo has become synonymous with music-making of the highest or­ der. Famous for her interpretations of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss and Mo­ zart, she is also at ease with contemporary music. Martina is a distin­ guished professor on the faculty of Indiana University, Trustee of Carnegie Hall and a member the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, In addition she has taught in many universities throughout the United States and has made more than 50 recordings, including major operas and orchestral performances wih such conductors as Leonard Bemstein, Karl Bohm, Rafael Kubelik, Zubin Mehta, Thomas Schippers, Ricardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, James Levine and Colin Davis. Her recordings of Barber's Andromache's Farewell, Verdi's Requiem, Aida, Ballo in Maschera, Forza del Destino (in both the standard and the 1862 versions), Vespri Siciliani, Mozart's Don Giovanni (both as Donna Anna and Donna Elvira), Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Handel's Judas Maccabeus, Mahler's 8th Symphony, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Schonberg's Gurrenlieder and Mahler's 8th Symphony have all been recently reissued on CD.
Mark Rucker, Administrative Director first came to the public's attention as Renato in Un ballo in maschera with Luciano Pavarotti for the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Mr. Rucker made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Amonasro in Aida. Later in the season he sang the title role of Macbeth in Trieste, LeComte de Toulouse in Verdi's Jerusalem for the VARA in Amsterdam at the Concertgebow and Rigoletto with Maestro Daniel Oren and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He closed the season as Macbeth in Bologna with Maestro Daniel Gatti. Future engagements include Mr. Rucker's return to the Metropolitan as Don Carlo in La forza del destino and Amonasro. Conte di Luna in Il trovatore for the Connecticut Opera with Maestro Willie Anthony Waters, the title role of Nabucco in Bologna and Amonasro for the Arena di Verona.
Maestro Willie Anthony Waters Music Director, is currently General and Artistic Director of Connecticut Opera. He has conducted numerous noteworthy productions for the company, including the Arena production of Aida in 1991, Otello, Porgy and Bess and Salome. In recent seasons he has been a guest conductor for numerous American and European opera companies and symphony orchestras, including several in South Africa. In 2002, Maestro Waters debuted at New York City Opera conducting Rigoletto, and returned the following season for Floyd's Of Mice and Men. Maestro Waters also serves as Artistic Director/Opera of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild. In March, 2005, he celebrated the 25th anniversary of his conducting debut with Connecticut Opera, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford.
Laura Alley enjoys a distinguished career in opera direction, with a current repertoire of over fifty operas. Highlights include the European premiere of The Ghosts Of Versailles in Hannover, Germany; and the American premieres of Kinkakuji and The Dreyfus Affoir for the NYCOpera. She has also directed much of the standard repertoire with Chautauqua, Syracuse, Kansas City, San Francisco, Austin, Cleveland, Connecticut, Raleigh and El Paso. She has taught and directed opera workshop productions at Louisiana State University, the Kansas City Conservatory, Temple University and many others. She is currently on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music, where she most recently directed Die Zaubeiflote. Future engagements include her debut with New Orleans Opera directing Le Nozze di Figaro.
Carmine Aufiero made his New York operatic debut in Chelsea Opera's 2004 production of Puccini's Suor Angelica. Since then he was made music director of the company, leading performances of Cavalleria Rusticana to rave reviews. From 1999 to 2002 he was assistant conductor to New Jersey's popular Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, which Mr. Aufiero conducted in performance at Carnegie Hall in 2002 Mr. Aufiero conducted the 2002 world premiere of Kyle Gann's opera Cinderella's Bad Magic in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has recently been engaged as guest conductor for Regina Opera's production of Die Fledermaus this fall.
Charles Caine started his illustrious career at the Metropolitan Opera, where he was resident costume designer and responsible for the look of each artist appearing on the stage. During his 16 seasons there, he worked with many opera notables, including Marc Chagall and Franco Zeffirelli. His designs for Verdi's Luisa Miller was aired on PBS-TV, staring Placido Doming, Renata Scotto and Sherrill Milnes. His designs have been seen on the stages of New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, L'Opera de Montreal, Canadian Opera and Connecticut Opera. Recent productions have included Salome, Magic Flute, L'Ormindo, La Boheme and Don Pasquale. Upcoming projects include an Opera Gala in Washington DC, and new productions of Carmen, Lucia and Cav!Pag.
Saffron Y Chung Native of Korea, considers New York City her home. She received her Bachelors of Music from Oberlin College, where she was the first student to double major in Piano Performance and Vocal Accompanying. She also has Masters of Music in Accompanying from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. She has worked an assistant conductor for opera companies such as Chautauqua Opera, El Paso Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Madison Opera; under the baton of Harry Bickett, Richard Buckley, Barbara Day-Turner, Victor De Renzi, John DeMain, Raymond Harvey, David Larsen, Robert Lyall, and many others. She just returned from leading a workshop of Brahms lieder for the voice department at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.
Steven M. Crawford again joined the roster of conductors for the Metropolitan Opera this season with La Bohème. They included his second international radio broadcast from the Met, the first being his conducting debut last season in Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci. Currently in his third year as a member of the conducting staff at the Met, he has just worked on their revivals of Turandot, Carmen, Il Trovatore and Ariadne auf Naxos. Upcoming engagements include Carmen at the Opera Company of North Carolina, as well as other cover assignments at the Met. Last summer he conducted La Cenerentola at the Cincinnati Opera, where he was called "the find of the evening" for stepping in on twelve hours notice to conduct Il Barbiere di Siviglia, while accompanying the recitatives on the fortepiano.
Steven Horak, Makeup and Wig Designer, has been on the Makeup Department Staff of the Metropolitan Opera for eleven seasons, following twelve seasons as a wigmaker and makeup artist at the San Francisco Opera. Prior to joining the Met, his many years as a wig and makeup journeyman included seasons as Wig and Makeup Designer for Chicago Opera Theatre and the Lake George Opera Festival, and as a wig and makeup artist for the opera companies of Philadelphia, Miami, and St. Louis. He is currently also principal wig designer and executor for Studio EIS, a New York City company which furnishes realistic human figures to museums across North America.
Joan Krueger has accompanied such artists as Cecilia Bartoli, Sum Jo, and Vinson Cole at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival, and wa1 seen on A&E's Breakfast With The Arts, accompanying Carol Vaness She has performed collaborative recitals in Avery Fisher Hall, Tht Metropolitan Museum of Art, The United Nations, Weill Recital Hall, Donnell Library and at many Universities and Conservatories. Having been an Asst. Conductor for the Sarasota Opera and Music Director for NYU's Opera Workshop, she is currently on the faculty of SUNY Purchase. She is the pianist for both the Jensen and the Ludgin vocal competitions. She was recently a judge for the Classical Singer Vocal Competition. She maintains an active coaching studio in New York, and was named "2004 Coach of the Year" by Classical Singer magazine..
Louis Menendez an opera coach in the grand tradition, is an extraordinarily sensitive and powerfully dramatic musician on stage, at the piano and behind the podium. Before moving to New York, Mr. Menendez was a faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. In addition to collaborating as recital pianist with many renowned solo artists Mr. Menendez has assisted important conductors including Max Rudolph and Placido Domingo.
Ellen Rievman has a performing career spanning nearly three decades. As a member of the Metropolitan Opera ballet, she performed in over 100 productions alongside some of our greatest opera stars. Since leaving the Met, she has worked with singers to coach the drama, explore the text, and to incorporate these skills with gesture, movement, stagecraft, and physical eloquence. She has been teaching Master Classes for Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, National Opera Company and many more. As a director, she has staged scenes, directed cabaret acts and recitals and produced and directed opera evenings of many contemporary composers. She has also directed concerts for, among others, NYSTA and the Baroque Aria Ensemble at MSM. She coaches privately and also presents ongoing classes and workshops.
Sergio Stefani was born in Bologna, Italy and grew up in Rome, where he studied Liberal Arts at Liceo “Pilo Albertelli” and Law at the University of Rome, before coming to the United States. About twenty years ago, he devised a unique approach for teaching his native language - the opportunity of learning at one’s own pace - a teaching program that must be the student’s learning program - individual lessons to cover grammar or special individual needs - conversation classes to hone one’s skills - diction and role interpretation to opera singers. Sergio has enjoyed being a supernumerary at the Metropolitan Opera and he is proud to have had, among his students, some members of that company. Today, his activity is concentrated on special programs, as he works on his own book “L ‘italiano a modo mio” .
Lyudmilla Syrochkina was born in Russia and studied at the Glinka Conservatory in Nizhniy Novgorod where she received a Master of Music degree as a concert musician. While there she studied with Edvard Zveig and Alexandr Benditsky. From 1981 to 1994 she was soloist, accompanist and coach with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Yaroslavel Russia. She then moved to New York and began working as Music Director/Organist at Presbyterian Church. She has accompanied many operatic performers including Angela Brown, Mariana Zvetkova, Anna Shafajinskaia, Marlena Delamorra and Kenneth Overton. She has performed in such places as Trinity Church (St. Paul’s Chapel), Liederkranz, Weill Hall, Mannes College and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
Wendy Taucher's original work has been favorably reviewed in publications around the world including Opera News, Dance Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the London Times. She has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jacob's Pillow and the Arts Councils of Illinois, New Jersey and North Carolina. Wendy has been a teaching artist for the Lincoln Center Institure for sixteen years and has recently published her first book, "Making Music with Movement and Dance" for Silver-Burdette. She made her Connecticut Opera debut this year direction "Hansel and Gretel with Willy Waters conducting at the Bushnell. This summer she will premier a new work -- a collaboration with Carly Simon for the Yard on Martha's Vineyard.