Staff and Faculty 2011
Martina Arroyo Mark Rucker Willie Anthony Waters Laura Alley Ed Bak
Joseph Bascetta Esthena Brutten Charles Caine Jen Joyce Davis Nicholas Fox
Stephen Mo Hanan Laura Hirschberg Steven Horak Lisa Jablow Hee-Kyung Juhn
Anastasia Krawiecki Joan Krueger Shayna Leahy Brad Lemons Sevrin Anne Mason
Robert Lyall Alyssa Meyers Katherine Olsen Ellen Rievman Sadie Rucker
Sadie Rucker Sergio Stefani Rosemary Taveras Guido Zoppi  
MA 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.
P1 Mark Rucker, Administrative Director, first sang Renato in Un ballo in maschera with Luciano Pavarotti. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Amonasro in Aida and returned as Don Carlo in La forza del destino, Rigoletto and Tonio in I Pagliacci. His Italian debut was Rigoletto in Bologna and he returned to Italy for such roles as Macbeth and Nabucco. Recent appearances have included Stankar in Stiffelio at Wiener Staatsoper, Macbeth and Rigoletto for Opera Liege, Nabucco for the Savonlinna Festival and Amonasro for Arena di Verona. His Carnegie Hall debut was Don Carlo in La forza del destino, Antonio in Linda di Chamonix at the Concertgebow and Il trovatore with New Orleans Opera. Recent engagements include the title role in his first Der Fliegende Hollander in Belgium.
WW Maestro Willie Anthony Waters, Music Director, is the former General and Artistic Director of Connecticut Opera. He conducted numerous noteworthy productions for the company, including the Arena production of Aïda in 1991, Otello, Porgy and Bess and Salome. He has been a guest conductor for numerous American and European opera companies and symphony orchestras, and for several in South Africa. In 2002, Maestro Waters debuted at New York City Opera, and in 2008, he made his debut at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. In 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford. Recent engagements include Carmen for Florida Grand Opera, Tosca for Opera Memphis, and Die Fledermaus for Opera Hamilton (Ontario), University of Connecticut and Northwestern University.
LA Laura Alley enjoys a distinguished career in opera direction throughout the United States and Europe. Highlights include the European premiere of Ghosts of Versailles in Germany, and the American premieres of Kinkakuji and The Dreyfus Affair for NYCO. Among the opera companies for which she has directed are Syracuse, Kansas City, San Francisco, Austin, Cleveland, El Paso, Chautauqua, Connecticut, and New Orleans. Miss Alley has taught and directed opera workshop productions at LSU, Temple, Rutgers, NYU, and is currently on the faculty of Mannes College of Music, where she directed the critically acclaimed Falstaff this spring. This coming year she will be directing Lucia di Lammermoor for Tri-Cities Opera and The Medium for Chelsea Opera in New York.
EB Ed 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, Lanaudière Festival, Monnaie, Kolarac Hall, and Teatro Colón. He is in high demand as a 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.
JB Acclaimed stage director Joseph Bascetta is recognized for his high artistic standards and insightful direction and is continually gaining renown for his productions in the United States and Canada. International career highlights include Pula Opera Festival, Croatia; Taipei Music Festival at the National Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan; Festival de Opera in Tenerife, Spain; Kim Cha Kyung Opera, Seoul, Korea; Astra Theatre, Malta; International Opera House, Shanghai, China; and Singapore Lyric Theatre.
BR Esthena Brutten (“Tina”) was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn. She is now a junior in the Scholars Program at Brooklyn College, pursuing a double major in Childhood Education and Psychology. This year she was awarded a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship which gives her the opportunity to work in the not-for-profit, government and business sectors over the course of three summers. Esthena was a vocal music major in high school and she has a passion for music. She is excited to be interning at the Martina Arroyo Foundation this summer.
CC Charles Caine, costume designer, brings his talents and experience to the Prelude to Performance program for our eighth season. A Carnegie Mellon graduate, he started his illustrious career at the Metropolitan Opera as resident costume designer, and remained for sixteen seasons, with responsibility for the look of every artist appearing onstage. After the Met, he designed for many other companies, including Canadian Opera, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Chicago Lyric, Washington, Philadelphia, Opera Pacific, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York City Opera, Berkshire Opera, and Connecticut Opera. His designs appeared on the acclaimed PBS-TV production of Luisa Miller, starring Domingo, Milnes and Scotto. He now adds lectures to his busy schedule.
JD Jen Joyce Davis (Photographer) “I grew up a military kid, we were always moving around.  My Dad "the great explorer" as I like to call him gave me my first camera when I was 9, and I began my own explorations through a viewfinder. Now 33, and living in NYC, a hobby in youth has now turned into a profession as an adult. To capture and moment of time in a single frame, and to successfully convey what I was seeing and feeling at the time is my biggest challenge. Photographing the Opera brings me these challenges every second. I love being able to get close and into the singers world as they perform, I am shadow in the darkness of a theater, feeling the rage of gentlemen dueling over a lady love, the sadness of lost love, the evil of a hated tyrant,  and the humor of a jester.  The moments are never ending.”
NF Nicholas Fox began studying piano and composition at the age of 12. He was a much-in-demand vocal coach and accompanist in the Southern California area. Since graduation from Mannes, he has remained an extremely in-demand accompanist, coach, teacher, and conductor in the New York area. He has led several fully-staged operatic productions. He has been music director and conductor of Opera at Rutgers Church. In May 2007 he assisted Maestro Yves Abel, principal guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in a series of performances of Rameau’s Castor et Pollux with Mr. Abel’s Opéra Français de New York. He led the Mannes Chorus and Orchestra in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at the church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in Manhattan. He was appointed Assistant Chorus Master at NYCOpera in September, 2009.
P4 As the original Gus/Growltiger in Broadway’s Cats, Stephen Mo Hanan received a Tony nomination and subsequently published his rehearsal journal, A Cat’s Diary. He was co-author and star of Jolson & Company, at the York Theatre, off-Broadway’s Century Center, and Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse. He has sung Gustavo in Un Ballo in Maschera at the Amato Opera, and is author of Scarpia’s Kiss, a novel about the opera world. He has performed in venues as varied as Town Hall, Michael Feinstein’s, the Museum of the City of New York, and the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral.  His blog posts are archived at
LH Laura Hirschberg is a NYC-based director/playwright/stage manager. She is proud to be back at Prelude to Performance for a third year, having previously stage managed Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni. Other stage management credits include: Magic & Mayhem (WorkShop Theater), Miss Kim (45th Street Theater), R U Nobody 2? (New Georges), In the Summer Pavilion (Living Theatre), Are You There, Zeus? It’s Me, Electra (Looking Glass Theatre, Bleecker Street Theater), Abby & June (The Tank), Orestes 2.0 (BoCoCa Arts Festival), and many others.
P6 Steven Horak has been on the Makeup Department Staff of the Metropolitan Opera for eighteen 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 journeyman included seasons as Wig and Makeup Designer for Michigan Opera Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre, 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 constructor for Studio E.I.S., a Brooklyn-based company which furnishes realistic human figures to museums across North America. These include the new Education Center at the Mount Vernon Estate in Virginia which features forensically age-regressed figures of George Washington.
P7 Lisa Jablow is a singer and conductor based in Vermont and NYC. For 10 years she was a company member of NYCO, where she is currently on the supertitle staff. A two-time alumna of the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik and the director of her solo company “microscOPERA,” she will be creating the title role in the world premiere of Dennis Báthory-Kitsz’s monodrama Erzsébet next October. Currently she is the Assistant Conductor and Chorus Director of the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra and the Music Director of the Vermont Symphonic Winds.
HJ Born in South Korea, pianist Hee-Kyung Juhn lived her teen-age years in South America, and made her orchestral debut at age 16 playing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Ciudad de Asunción. After coming to the U.S., Juhn attended the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and participated in music festivals such as Tanglewood and Aspen, among others. She recorded J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations on MSR Classics (available at, and has performed as soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist in various venues. Currently, she is the Director of Keyboard Studies at Henderson State University in Arkansas.
K Anastasia Krawiecki is a sophomore at Providence College studying Vocal Music. She is a member of the colligate choir, I Cantori, which recently completed a performance tour in Italy. She enjoys performing in musical theater and choral ensembles and has recently has expanded her interests to behind-the-scenes work with costuming. Anastasia is honored to assist with the costuming for Prelude to Performance and is grateful for this experience.
JK Joan Krueger was named “2004 Coach of the Year” by Classical Singer magazine. She has accompanied Cecilia Bartoli, Sumi Jo, and Vinson Cole at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, was seen with Carol Vaness on A&E’s Breakfast With The Arts, has performed collaborative recitals in Avery Fisher Hall, The Met Museum of Art, The United Nations, and many other venues across the U.S. She was an Assistant Conductor for the Sarasota Opera, Music Director for NYU’s Opera Workshop, and a coach for Intermezzo Opera Festival. Currently, she is on the faculty of SUNY Purchase and the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute. She is the pianist for the Jensen and the Chester Ludgin Verdi Baritone competitions and was a judge for the Classical Singer vocal competition. She maintains an active coaching studio in NY.  
SL Shayna Leahy is pleased to be returning to the Prelude to Performance program for the fourth year. She has worked as an Assistant Administrator, Assistant Director and Stage Manager for the program previously, and was the recipient of the David Farrar Internship for Stage Direction in 2008.  This season, she directed Il Trovatore for the Wichita Grand Opera, and will be returning there next season for her first Otello. Additional past productions Ms. Leahy has directed for WGO include Madama Butterfly and Aida. During the academic year, she is the Director of Vocal Music & Theory at Highland Community College, and was recently music director of the production of Once on This Island, granted national recognition by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. 
BL Brad Lemons served as Fight Director at the Metropolitan Opera: Fanciulla del West, Stiffelio, Simon Boccanegra, Carmen, Otello. Prelude: Così fan tutte, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Don Giovanni. Broadway: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Off-Broadway: Treasure Island, Macbeth, Evil Dead: The Musical, Hamlet, Othello. NYC: Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Wild Party, Rashomon. Regionally: White Noise, Oleanna, That Championship Season, King Lear, American Buffalo, Murder in the Cathedral.  Film: Asylum Seekers, Beyond Belief, Bust. TV: “All My Children.” He has taught at Juilliard, Mannes School of Music, Cornell University, and is currently teaching at Broadway Classroom, New York Conservatory of Dramatic Art, and Circle in the Square Theatre School.
P9 Sevrin Anne Mason began working as a make-up artist to supplement her acting career and continues to pursue both. Past favorite productions include Dialogues of the Carmelites, Così fan tutte, and Falstaff with Mannes College The New School for Music; Ivona, Princess of Burgundia with Williamstown Theater; and Manon Lescaut and Thérèse Raquin with Dicapo Opera Theatre. Sevrin graduated from Boston University’s BFA program and played Mercy Lewis in The Crucible on Broadway in a production starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.
RL Robert Lyall was named General/Artistic Director of New Orleans Opera in 1998 and has been the Artistic Director of Michigan’s Opera Grand Rapids since 1989. He was General Director of the Knoxville Opera and the Mississippi Opera, served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Istanbul State Opera in Turkey, and was the Music Director of the Victoria and Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestras. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1998, has guest conducted recently with the Arena of Verona (Italy) and made his Russian debut with the Rostov State Theatre in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov-na-Danau.
m Alyssa Meyers has performed in Carnegie Hall with the Metropolitan Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, UPN 9, and ESPN’s Cold Pizza. She holds a BM in Voice and Opera Studies from SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Music. She made her directorial debut with Purchase Opera's 2010 production of Amahl and the Night Visitors and will be assistant director of their production of Hansel and Gretel this fall. She has taught theater and dance extensively in the tri-state area and is an artistic consultant for several NYC public school arts programs. She is currently an intern at the 21C Media Group in NYC and has interned with the Martina Arroyo Foundation since February. She expects to earn her second bachelor's degree in Arts Management in May 2012.     
KO 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 Opern 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.
ER Ellen Rievman, Libretto Class, has a performing career at the Metropolitan Opera spanning 25 years. Since leaving the Met she has worked with singers to coach the drama, explore the text, and combine these skills with stagecraft. 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 was a founding faculty of  Prelude. She has been featured in articles in Opera News and Classical Singer Magazine and has presented  Master Classes for, among others, Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, Metropolitan Opera Guild, Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School and Mannes College of Music. In 2007 she directed  Cosi’ Fan Tutte for Prelude to Performance.

J Joshua Rose loves designing for the performing arts. His lighting and scenery for opera, theater, dance, and architecture have been seen all over New York and the United States, as well as in Beijing, Mexico, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong, India, and Dubai. Recent opera credits include Mahler and Weber’s Die Drei Pintos and Auber’s Fra Diavolo.
P11 Sadie Rucker (Publicity) holds a Master of Music Education degree from Drake University with emphasis on voice and piano. She is the personal coach and accompanist for her husband, baritone Mark Rucker in recital around the US. She has been in charge of publicity for Prelude to Performance since its inception. She is also mother to Mary Carolyn Delaney who is a lawyer in Wisconsin and Michael Delaney who is an artist living in New York.

SS Sergio Stefani was born in Bologna, Italy and grew up in Rome, where he studied Liberal Arts at the 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 to learn 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 for opera singers. Sergio has enjoyed being a supernumerary at the Metropolitan Opera, and is proud to have had among his students some members of that company.

t Rosemary Taveras is a senior at Brooklyn College studying Psychology, English, and Puerto Rican Latino Studies. In 2009, she joined the Prelude to Performance team as a Fellow of the Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship program. This is now her second year working with a performance company, and she is excited and thankful to be returning to The Martina Arroyo Foundation as a professional props manager.
GZ Guido Zoppi (Volunteer) graduated in 2002 from the Instituto Don Milani - F. Depero, Rovereto (Trento) in Graphic Design, including pictorial and sculptural studies, photography, animation and cinema. He has been working in illustration, graphic, video, audio, photography and game design for the last few years. He works freelance with various Italian artists and agencies. Later university studies included degree work at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Verona, the University of Verona, and the Faculty of Arts and Design in Venice.