Staff and Faculty 2007
Martina Arroyo Mark Rucker Willie Anthony Waters Laura Alley Carmine Aufiero Ed Bak
Mihaela Bogdan Charles Caine Kristan Cassidy Steven Crawford Steven Horak Molly Johnson
Joan Krueger Ronald Land Kathy Olsen Ellen Rievman Susan Stout Sergio Stefani
Waren Wilson  
Martina Arroyo, Artistic Director. For many years, Martina Arroyo's name has been synonymous with music making of the highest order. She has performed at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, London's Covent Garden, Milan's La Scala, the Vienna State Opera and the Buenos Aires Teatro Colon, and in the concert halls of Salzburg, Berlin, Rome, Paris and New York. She was appointed by President Ford as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts, where she served for six years. Ms. Arroyo is a trustee emerita of the Hunter College Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. She is a recipient of the 2009 Opera News Award and 2010 NEA Opera Award. Her teaching credentials include Indiana University in Bloomington, University of California Los Angeles, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Ms. Arroyo was the first recipient of the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. Other organizations that have honored her include The Chester Ludgin Foundation, Orpheus Orchestra, Opera Noire, The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and most recently the Gerda Lissner Foundation. She was also inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has delighted television and radio audiences with appearances on "The Odd Couple" and over 20 appearances on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson; she is a frequent guest and host on the "Singers' Roundtable," the intermission feature of live radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera.
MR" 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. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004 as Amonasro in Aida. He returned to the Met as Don Carlo in La forza del destino, Amonasro, the title role of Rigoletto and Tonio in I Pagliacci. He also appeared as Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Connecticut Opera, the title role of Nabucco in Bologna, Savvonlinna and Baltimore Opera and Amonasro for the Arena di Verona and sang Nabucco for his debut in Athens Greece. Future engagements include Nabucco in Liegè Opera Royale de Wallonie, Rigoletto in New Orleans Opera, Portland Opera, Amonasro in San Diego Opera, the High Priest in Samson et Dalilah in Bologna and Liegè.
Maestro Willie Anthony Waters, Music Director, is currently Artistic Director of Connecticut Opera, and Artistic Director of Houston Ebony Opera. 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 he debuted at New York City Opera conducting Rigoletto, and returned in 2003 for Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. In 2005, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford. In the 2005-6 season, he conducted The Italian Girl in Algiers, Cavalleria rusticana and Gianni Schicchi for Connecticut Opera and Carmen for Opéra de Québec. In 2006-07, he conducted Così fan tutte in Hartford and Turandot for Michigan Opera Theatre. This season he will conduct Tosca, La Cenerentola and Abduction from the Seraglio for Connecticut Opera and Abduction for Boston Lyric Opera.
Laura Alley enjoys a distinguished career in opera direction. She has a current repertoire of over fifty operas, which she has directed throughout the United States. Highlights include the European premiere of The Ghosts of Versailles in Hanover, Germany, and the American premieres of Kinkakuji and The Dreyfus Affair for the New York City Opera. Among the opera companies for which she has directed much of the standard repertoire are NYCOpera, Syracuse, Kansas City, San Francisco, Austin, Cleveland, El Paso, Chautauqua and Connecticut Opera and most recently The Marriage of Figaro for the New Orleans Opera. Miss Alley has taught and directed opera workshop productions at Louisiana State University, the Kansas City Conservatory, Temple University, Rutgers University and New York University. She is currently associated with the Mannes College of Music.
Carmine Aufiero made his New York conducting debut with Chelsea Opera's Suor Angelica and has led performances of Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci and Amahl and the Night Visitors which was performed in New York and Los Angeles to rave reviews. A New Jersey native, he became assistant conductor to New Jersey's Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea under Alphonse Stephenson, conducting at the Festival of the Atlantic, the Trenton War Memorial and in 2001 at Carnegie Hall. He conducted the premiere of Kyle Gann's Cinderella's Bad Magic in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has been a guest conductor with Regina Opera for Die Fledermaus, and conducted Espresso Opera's second production, Rigoletto. He has acted as conductor for El Dorado Opera in Los Angeles. He recently made his debut as guest conductor in Dicapo Opera Theater's production of Beauty and the Beast.
Edward Bak is an accomplished and internationally respected pianist and vocal coach, with credits in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia. He has performed widely in such venues as the Philips Collection, Tanglewood Festival, Lanaudiere Festival, Monnaie, Kolarac Hall, and Teatro Colón. He is in high demand as vocal coach and collaborative pianist. He has expertise in French, German, and Russian, as well as Italian and Spanish. He is currently on the faculty of The Ohio State University School of Music, and previously held faculty positions at the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory and the Peabody Institute Preparatory. He has given master classes at the Escuela Moderna in Santiago and the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón. He has been a visiting professor of piano in Seoul, South Korea.
Mihaela Bogdan, a Fulbright Scholar, has recently graduated in Stage Direction for Opera at IU Bloomington and is currently the founder and stage director of ExArt organization. She has directed opera and theatre productions in Romania, Germany and USA, such as The Magic Flute, and Lakme (National Opera House Cluj Napoca) Horarius with the T-Bob company, Henze’s Moralities, Susa’s Transformations, Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and the acclaimed production of Piazzolla - Maria de Buenos Aires. Her activity as an assistant stage director includes projects with IU Opera Theater, Vancouver Opera Company, Indianapolis Opera and her participation in the acclaimed Festival Junger Künstler in Bayreuth, Germany.
Charles Caine illustrious and distinguished career began after graduating from Carnegie-Mellon. He was the Metropolitan Opera's resident costume designer for 16 seasons. While at the Met, he worked with notable artists, including Zeffirelli, Ponnelle,Guthrie, Schenk, Chagall, Callas, Tebaldi, Arroyo, Horne, Price, Sills, Scotto, Pavarotti, Gedda, Tucker, Milnes, Domingo, Corelli, Bergonzi, etc. His designs for the Met's acclaimed production of Luisa Miller appeared on PBS-TV. Other companies where his costumes have appeared include San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, NYCO, San Diego, Philadelphia, Miami, and Hartford. Future assignments include a Boheme, Gianni Schicchi and Tosca. He is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829, NYC.
Kristan Cassidy was born in Winter Park, Florida and began playing the violin at the age of five. Since then she has traveled with numerous orchestras throughout Europe, England, and the United States including the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Florida International Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de Siena, Orlando Philharmonic, and played a summer season with The London Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with myriad artists ranging from opera to rock. In addition to her musical involvement with The Martina Arroyo Foundation, she is also Concertmaster of The Chelsea Opera Chamber Orchestra, as well as an active teacher, chamber musician, recitalist, and freelance violinist in, and around, New York City. Her former teachers and coaches include Lisa Kim, Arnold Steinhart, and Ayako Yonetani.
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 axos. 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.
Molly Johnson, soprano, is an active performer-teacher. Professional opera and music theatre credits include roles with Opera East Texas, Asheville (NC) Lyric Opera, Baton Rouge Opera, Nebraska Theatre Caravan, Music Theatre of Wichita, and Lyric Theater of Oklahoma. Her repertoire includes The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. In concert, The Johnsons have recorded two CDs of sacred music: Simply Christmas and The Majesty of Thy Name. When not on stage, Dr. Johnson is in the classroom or studio at the University of Texas at Tyler, where she teaches applied voice and related courses and is Director of the Opera Workshop. Dr. Johnson holds the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Louisiana State University.
Joan Krueger was named “2004 Coach of the Year” by Classical Singer magazine. She has accompanied such artists as Cecilia Bartoli, Sumi Jo, and Vinson Cole through her association with New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and was seen on A&E’s Breakfast With The Arts, accompanying soprano Carol Vaness. She has performed collaborative recitals in Avery Fisher Hall, The United Nations and numerous other venues in the NYC area where she has an active coaching studio. She has been an Assistant Conductor for the Sarasota Opera, Music Director for NYU’s Opera Workshop, and on the faculty of the Intermezzo Opera Festival. She is the pianist the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Competition, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, and the Chester Ludgin Verdi Baritone Competition. She is on the faculty of SUNY Purchase.
Ronald Land, a Pennsylvania native, began his career as a child performer in musical theater and took his first singing lessons at age 8. Academically, he concentrated on the piano, having studied at the Hartt School of Music, the University of the Arts and Temple University. He has worked in a number of American Opera companies, including Augusta Opera, Dicapo Opera Theater, Metro Lyric Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Utah Festival Opera Company, Baltimore Opera, and Connecticut Opera. He maintains a studio as a freelance coach, gives master-classes, and serves as a judge on competition juries. Ronald is also a published author and a frequent guest-lecturer.
Kathy Olsen is one of the most famous and sought-after opera coach/accompanists in the world today. Throughout her professional career she has been involved with every aspect of singer development and career counseling. With the creation of Encompass Arts, Ms. Olsen embarks upon the logical next step in her career path. Her opera credits include positions at many companies in both the United States and Europe including, but not limited to: Knoxville Opera, Orlando Opera, Tulsa Opera, Virginia Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Opera Air Festival in Gars, Austria. She is currently on the advisory board of the Singer’s Development Foundation, and Musical Director of the Vero Beach Opera Company.
Ellen Rievman, (Libretto Class) has had a performing career as a member of the Metropolitan Opera spanning nearly three decades. Since leaving the Met in 1995, she has worked with singers to coach the drama, explore the text, and incorporate these skills with gesture, movement, stagecraft, and physical eloquence. She is a Senior Associate at The TAI Group working with business clients internationally, is a core consultant of New Triad for the Collaborative Arts, and is on the faculty of Prelude to Performance. She has been featured in articles in Opera News and Classical Singer Magazine and has directed and presented Master Classes for, among others, Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Mannes College of Music. In 2007 she directed Cosi fan tutte for Prelude.
Susan Stout holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in French and Romance Philology from Columbia University, and has devoted her entire career to the teaching and translating of French. Her focus has been on teaching French and French diction to singers, as well as to directors, stage directors, and assistant conductors preparing for productions of French operas. She has served as French diction coach for productions of Carmen, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Faust, and Werther for One World Symphony, National Lyric Opera, and Dicapo Opera Theatre. Her private students have included those preparing for roles or directing/conducting at the NYCOpera, l’Opéra National de Lyon, le Grand Théâtre de Genève, Michigan Opera Theatre and Orlando Opera as well as for master classes in France with Jessye Norman and Dalton Baldwin.
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.
Warren George Wilson has pursued a multi-faceted career as conductor, pedagogue, vocal coach and vocal chamber music partner on the international stage. He has been the recipient of many important awards among which are grants from the Hattie M. Strong Foundation, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, the National Association of Negro Musicians and a John Hay Whitney Fellowship. For nine years he was the Music Director of the Opera Theatre at Boston University. His conducting activities have taken him from the world of opera at Wolf Trap to the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and a debut with the Moscow Philharmonic in Moscow. In acknowledgement of his extensive artistic capabilities, he has been privileged to perform at state dinners at the White House for the Italian Premier and the Japanese Prime Minister.