Staff and Faculty 2013
Martina Arroyo Mark Rucker Willie Anthony Waters Ed Bak Charles Caine
Kali Carys Jen Joyce Davis Tara Faircloth Nicholas Fox Stephen Mo Hanan
Steven Horak Noby Ishida Lisa Jablow Joan Krueger Brad Lemons
Robert Lyall Sevrin Anne Mason E. Loren Meeker Katherine Olsen Ellen Rievman
Elaine Rinaldi Sadie Rucker Jeffrey Sposaro Sergio Stefani Susan Stout
John Elliot Yates        
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. Other 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. Also sang Amonasro and his first Dutchman in Der Fliegende Hollander in
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.
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.
Charles Caine, costume designer, brings his ta lents and experience to the Prelude to Performancefor our ninth season. A Carnegie-Mellon graduate, he started his illustrious career as resident costume designer with the Metropolitan Opera for 16 seasons. He was responsible for the look of every artist appearing onstage. After the Met, Charles has designed for many opera and theatre companies, including: New York City Opera, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Michigan Opera Theatre, San Diego,Berkshire, Connecticut, and Chicago Lyric. His designs for the acclaimed PBS-TV production Luisa Miller, starred Domingo, Milnes and Scotto. He has recently added lecture presentations to his busy schedule. He is a Member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829, NYC.
Kali Carys trained in stage management and technical production at Queen’s University (BAH: Drama) and the Banff Centre (Theatre Arts Work-Study). Favourite credits include: Amore Opera’s Faust, Pirates of Penzance, Don Pasquale and Olivo e Pasquale (SM), Lions Den Theatre’s Evening Of Ives (Lighting), 2012 Atlantic Fringe Festival’s Close To You and Speaks Alone (SM), Atlantic Cirque’s Decade (ASM), Schafer Productions’ Jöb: A Cosmic Tapestry (Assistant Scenographer), Women’s Empowerment Committee’s Vagina Monologues & Re-Vulva-Lutions (SM & TD), and Queen’s Student Opera Company’s Carmen (Costumes). Upcoming: Halifax Summer Opera Workshop’s Dialogues des carmélites (Costumes & ASM), Amore Opera’s Magic Flute and Das Labyrinth.
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 Tara Faircloth Stage director Tara Faircloth’s work has been seen in opera houses around the nation. Critics hailed her “incisive, tightly meshed direction” (Opera News) for The Rake's Progress at Wolf Trap Opera, calling it “a simple and elegant production” (The Washington Post). She enjoys new works, having directed two world premieres with the Houston Grand Opera's East+West series, and has a thriving career with more standard material in regional houses such as Utah Opera, Tulsa Opera and Opera Colorado (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, etc.). The baroque repertoire is of special interest to Ms. Faircloth, who made her directorial debut with Ars Lyrica Houston’s production of Cain: Il primo omicidio in 2003, and has since designed and directed a number of shows for the company, including Charpentier’s Actéon and La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers.
P3 Nicholas Fox is a New York-based conductor, pianist and coach. This is his third summer with Prelude to Performance, where in 2011, he conducted the performances of “La Rondine.” He is currently interim chorus master at New York City Opera.
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
P6 Steven Horak has been on the Makeup Department Staff of the Metropolitan Opera for nineteen 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.
Noby Ishida is the founder and artistic director of the Satori Opera where he con-ducts the professional opera ensemble and young artist program. He was formerly the musical director of the Remarkable Theatre Brigade and conductor for the Opera Management Corporation. As a pianist, Mr. Ishida has performed in numerous halls in New York City including Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Bechstein Center, Steinway Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. He is a freelance vocal coach in New York City, working with artists who sing for major opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Francisco Opera among others. He has been on the vocal coaching staffs of Temple University, University of Miami, Bennington College, New School University, the International Academy of Rome, and CUNY. Noby is thrilled to join the staff of the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance program this summer.
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.
JK Joan Krueger was named “2004 Coach of the Year” by Classical Singer maga-zine. 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.  
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.
Maestro 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.
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.
E. Loren Meeker has worked with some of the most prestigious opera companies in the world. Recent engagements include Houston Grand Opera (Trial By Jury), Singapore Lyric Opera (Manon Lescaut), Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (Manon), San Diego Opera (La bohème), and San Francisco Opera (Die Fledermaus). She has directed four productions for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s young artist program: Don Pasquale, Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, and Don Giovanni. Other recent work includes Candide (Amarillo Opera), Albert Herring (DePaul University), Lucrezia (Boston University Opera Institute), Cloclo (Chicago Folks Operetta), Die Fledermaus (Penn State University), and three world premieres for Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) Past the Checkpoints, From My Mother’s Mother, and A Way Home. She has served on the directing staff at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Central City Opera where she received the John Moriarty Award. Upcoming productions include Die Fledermaus (Lyric Opera of Chicago) and her fourth world premiere for HGOco which focuses on the Indian community in Houston, Texas.
KO Katherine 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. Career highlights include staff positions at the Juilliard School of Music, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème on Broadway. Six years ago she founded Encompass Arts artist management.  Kathy represents Marcello Giordani, Cheryl Studer, Harolyn Blackwell, Wolfgang Brendel, Lisa Vroman, John Cullum, and Anthony Laciura, among many others.
Rievman Ellen Rievman, Libretto, Movement Classes, 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 and was a founding faculty member 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.

Conductor Elaine Rinaldi is fast making her mark among the ranks of rising young American conductors. Critics have called her performances “brilliant” and her interpretative work “impeccable”. As Founder and Artistic Director of Orchestra Miami, Rinaldi has brought a new level of professionalism and quality to the local arts scene: “In just two years, Rinaldi has created an orchestra which, though small in size, is clearly of a high caliber” -El Nuevo Herald; “The orchestra's playing was consistently energized, polished and responsive to Rinaldi over the 2 ½-hour program, showing some of the fire and excitement of the [former Florida] Philharmonic on its best nights” -The Miami Herald. As Artistic Director of Orchestra Miami, she has had the privilege of working with some of the top names in classical music today, including Angel Romero, Nestor Torres, Mark Rucker and sopranos Elizabeth Caballero and Eglise Gutierrez. Additionally, Elaine is much in demand as one of the nation’s top vocal coaches. Her clients include Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Eric Halfvorson, and Russell Thomas. She joined the faculty of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in 2008, as a lecturer in vocal coaching, and maintains an active performance schedule.
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.
  Jeffrey Sposaro (Props Manager)
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.
SW 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. For more than fifteen years, her focus has been on teaching French and French diction to singers. 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, Dicapo Opera Theatre and the Martina Arroyo Prelude to Performance program for emerging young singers. She has also taught an intensive French language course in the 6-week Prelude to Performance program. Among her private students have been those preparing for singing roles or directing/conducting at the New York City Opera, l’Opéra National de Lyon, le Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Nashville Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Orlando Opera, New York Lyric Opera, Hudson Opera Theatre, and Taconic Opera, as well as for Master Classes in France with Jessye Norman and Dalton Baldwin. In December of 2009, she presented at the Metropolitan Opera Guild a Master Class on French diction and the challenges of singing in French.
John Elliot Yates a native of Philadelphia, Mississippi, is making his Prelude to Performance debut as stage manager for Les Contes d'Hoffman, as well as serving as the Assistant Administrative Director . Some of his favorite productions include West Side Story and Showboat with the College Light Opera Company; Die Zauberflöte with FestivalSouth, Opera South and Opera Omaha; L'Elisir d'Amore with Mississippi Opera and Opera Memphis; The Mikado and Don Giovanni with Natchez Festival of Music; Dialogues des Carmélites and Le Nozze di Figaro with AEDO; La Bohème and The Little Prince with the University of Southern Mississippi; La Traviata with Opera Omaha; La Bohème with Opera Memphis and Amore Opera; Camelia la Tejana with Long Beach Opera; and “Wheel of Fortune” with Pat Sajak and Vanna White.