AVAround the World: Winter 2017

Welcome to another installment of AVA Alumni Around the World: Winter 2017 Edition. In this segment, we will be taking a look at the upcoming engagements our alumni are performing in all around the globe! Check below to see how our AVA alumni are welcoming in the new year in a big way:

Soprano Angela Meade will be performing the title role in Norma at the Metropolitan Opera through December 16. She will also be singing with Seattle Symphony December 28, 29, 30 in Beethoven: Symphony No. 9. She will perform a recital with Philadelphia Chamber Music Society at the Kimmel Center on January 7 and at Santa Fe on January 14. AVA will be hosting a Young Professionals event for this concert – stay tuned for details! Angela will also perform the title role in Semiramide at the Metropolitan Opera on February  19, 24, 28 and March 3, 6, 10, 14, 18. Lastly, she will perform Mahler: Symphony No. 8 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on March 23 and 25.

(Angela Meade and Jamie Barton at The Met; Photo Credit: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Michael Fabiano will be singing the role of The Duke in Rigoletto at the Royal Opera house from Dec 14 -Jan 16. He will be performing the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera starting March 22. Finally, he will sing the role of Carrado in Il corsaro Paulau de at Les Arts Reina Sofia starting March 28.

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(Photo Credit: Opera Australia)

A big congratulations to mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato on another Grammy nomination – this year, 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Vocal Solo! Since November, Joyce has been singing the title role in Semiramide at the Royal Opera House London. She will sing it through December 16.

Joyce will also be singing with Brentano String Quartet at Wigmore Hall, London on December 18 and 21. Also, on December 29, 30, and 31, she will perform in the Silvester Concerts with Berliner Philharmoniker. In January and February, she will sing the role of Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking at Teatro Real and Barbican Theatre.

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Soprano Ailyn Pérez will be performing in Germany from February 16-21 at Bayerische Staatsoper. There, she will sing the role of Micaela in Carmen. Beginning in April, Ailyn will perform the role of Juliette in Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera alongside fellow AVA alum Bryan Hymel. Read her recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.

Bryan will also be performing in Faust at Deutsche Oper Berlin in Germany this summer! He recently received outstanding reviews from his performances at The Royal Opera – read here and here.

Photo: Dario Acosta

Allegra De Vita, mezzo-soprano, can be seen at the Washington National Opera a fair amount in this upcoming year. She will finish her run as The Fox in The Little Prince on December 17. Several other AVA alums can also be seen in The Little Prince: Christian Bowers and Michael Adams as the Pilot, and Christopher Kenney as the Businessman.

On January 19 and 21, Allegra will sing the role of Zagner Sister 2 in the new opera Proving Up, and starting in March, she will perform in Don Carlo singing the role of Tebaldo. Both performances are with the Washington National Opera.

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Stephen Costello and Joyce El-Khoury are in Madrid performing the Teatro Real’s new production of La bohème! Stephen can be seen as Rodolfo and Joyce as Musetta, both starting next week. In late January, Stephen will begin his run as the Duke in Rigoletto with Canadian Opera Company. Joyce’s album ÉCHO was recently listed as one of The Times and The Sunday Times’ Best Classical Albums of the Year!

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Stephen Costello and Joyce El-Khoury

Soprano Ellie Dehn will be performing as the Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Florida Orchestra on Dec 21, 22, and 23. Starting January 11, Ellie will be singing the role of Musetta in La bohème at Teatro di San Carlo.



Finally, we have some exciting AVA Resident Artist news!

Please join us in congratulating two AVA Resident Artists and one alum who recently won scholarships from the Mario Lanza Institute!
Third Year Tenor Piotr Buzsewski – First Place
First Year Soprano Alexandra Razskazoff – Second Place
Baritone Jorge Espino (AVA ’17)- Fourth Place

AVA Master Vocal Coach Luke Housner was the competition’s accompanist.

Photo caption: L-R: Jorge Espino (4th place), Siena Licht Miller (3rd place), Alexandra Razskazoff (2nd place), Piotr Buzsewski (1st place) and accompanist Luke Housner.



Four AVA Resident Artists will be heading to the The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to perform for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Region Finals in February. Please join us in congratulating Meryl Dominguez, Matthew White, Ethan Simpson and Brent Michael Smith! AVA Master Vocal Coach Richard A. Raub was once again the official pianist for the competition, and will also play at the Kennedy Center Region Finals.

To see more of what our Resident Artists have been up to recently, please visit this link.

It is never our intention to omit any AVA alumni. If you notice any discrepancies, please contact info@avaopera.org.

Written by AVA Marketing/PR Intern Madison Miner. Madison Miner is a senior Communications major at West Chester University, and an intern in AVA’s Marketing Department.


Fall 2017: A Look Back

So far, this season at AVA has been a most memorable one. As the holiday season and break soon approaches, let’s take a look back at at all of the things our Resident Artists have been up to so far this year…

AVA has put on a number of incredible recitals and performances so far this year! Check below to reminisce:

AVA’s 2017 New Resident Artist Recital: 


The new Resident Artists displayed their talent in this recital back in September. We were so happy to welcome them and are thrilled to see what they have in store in these next four years! Meet the new Resident Artists here.

Giargiari Bel Canto Competition

In early October, AVA’s Resident Artists competed in the annual Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, held at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. AVA alumnus and world-renowned bass-baritone James Morris, The Metropolitan Opera’s Joshua Winograde and Palm Beach Opera’s Scott Guzielek presided as the evening’s judges and award the prizes. The audience also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite singer! Philadelphia blogger Marissa Baum recapped the evening on her blog here.

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Congratulations to:
Claire de Monteil and Alexandra Razskazoff – First Prize Winners (tie)
Piotr Buszewski – Second Prize
Meryl Dominguez – Audience Favorite Prize

WRTI Winners
Roy Hage – First Place
Alexandra Nowakowski – Second Place
Piotr Buszewski
 – Third Place

Congratulations to all!

Verdi’s Il trovatore 

Next up, AVA’s stunning performances of Verdi’s classic Il trovatore in November. This was AVA’s first production of Verdi’s immortal classic in 20 years. This extraordinary opera started off AVA’s season in just the right way!

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Claire de monteil and Mackenzie Gotcher

With raving reviews from the Philadelphia Inquirer and DC Metro Theater, Il trovatore was definitely one to remember.

Along with performing here at AVA, many of our Resident Artists are experiencing amazing opportunities outside of these walls! Here are a few:

Resident Artist Roy Hage deserves congratulations on his performance as First Armored Man back in September in Opera Philadelphia‘s Die Zauberflöte!

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In October we congratulated fourth-year Resident Artist soprano Alexandra Nowakowski who won the Second Prize in the 2017 Gerda Lissner Lieder/Song Competition!

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Also, third-year Resident Artist soprano Meryl Dominguez won the Alfonso Cavaliere Memorial Scholarship this past October! Bravo!

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Resident Artist tenor Marco Cammarota sang the role of Cavaradossi in Arizona Opera‘s production of Puccini’s Tosca in November. You can check out the full cast here.

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Another artist to make an exciting debut was John Matthew Myers who performed as the tenor soloist a few weeks ago at Carnegie Hall with the Canterbury Choral Society!

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AVA Resident Artist Claire de Monteil will be making her French debut this December, as she will be singing the role of Simone in the comic opera Les Mousquetaires au couvent at Opéra Grand Avignon!

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Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano will make her debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah!


Vanessa Vasquez earned a great review in Opera News for her performance of Liù in Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly.

Vanessa review

Congratulations to all of our Resident Artists for all of their hard work.

Even though the beginning of the season is coming to a close, the new year is just around the corner!

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Still to come this December: an evening of Russian Romances at AVA. The December 14th performance includes an event for young professionals!

Join us at AVA for three more incredible operas and three more incredible chances to see our Resident Artists shine! The first opera we will be performing is Das Rheingold opening on January 20. The next is Ariadne auf Naxos opening on February 24. And opening on April 21 Verdi’s classic, La traviata.

You do not want to miss out on this opportunity to see our Resident Artists take on these operas. We hope to see you in the new year!

Written by AVA PR/Marketing Intern Madison Miner

AVA’s Favorite Winter Activities

AVA Snow

The weather outside is getting frightful…which means one thing; winter is almost upon us! To celebrate the season of cuddling up by fires listening to your favorite opera score, we asked some of the AVA Resident Artists what their favorite winter time activity is! Keep reading for a peek into what some of our artists enjoy doing during the cold months!

Daniel Noyola: Fifth-Year Bass-Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “I like having ponche, which is a traditional Mexican winter hot beverage. It’s made of tamarindo, cinnamon sticks, guava, and sugar cane. For parties we like to add tequila. It tastes really good and keeps you warm!”

Oliver Sewell: First-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “I like a hearty stew and mulled wine after a day of outdoor activities in the cutting cold of the American winter!”

Piotr Buszewski: Third-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “I like to wear my Lensky’s fur coat, riding on a horse drawn sleigh, then spending an evening by the fire drinking a hot beer and looking at my portrait on the wall.”

Abraham Bretón: Second-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “I love to do anything in the snow; I have never built a snowman or gone skiing but I really want to! I also love Christmas songs!”

Hannah Ludwig: Fourth-Year Mezzo-Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Sitting on the couch with a nice hot cup of tea and turning on the fireplace.”

Alexandra Nowakowski: Fourth-Year Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Making fall and wintery soups like pumpkin soup, and chili.”

Roy Hage: Second-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “Visiting family and skiing in New Hampshire at Lake Sunapee. I’ve been skiing since I was a kid; I learned when I was in Lebanon. Also, binge watching the Harry Potter series!”

Alexandra Razskazoff: First-Year Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Skiing, since I’m from Minnesota!”

Lukasz Zientarski: First-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “I like ice skating.”

John Matthew Myers: Second-Year Tenor

Favorite winter  activity? “Sitting in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of cocoa or ice skating.”

Timothy Renner: Second-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “Going to Christmas markets.”

Matthew White: Third Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “Surfing and bass-fishing on the shore. It’s the best when you show up at 6:00 AM and its totally quiet in the brisk cold salt air and there’s snow on the ground. It’s the best feeling.”

Meryl Dominguez: Third-Year Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “I used to be a figure skater, so I love going ice skating! Baking is also more fun in the winter. Winter is my favorite season!”

Pascale Spinney: First-Year Mezzo-Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Sitting by the fireplace reading a novel and drinking some eggnog.”

Ethan Simpson: Third-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “I hate winter.” (Thanks for your honesty, Ethan! 😉 )

Anthony Whitson-Martini: Third-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “Baking Christmas cookies.”

Gabriela Flores: First-Year Mezzo-Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Watching movies and drinking hot chocolate.”

We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about our Resident Artists and their favorite winter activities. Now it’s your turn; tell us your favorite winter hobby! And don’t forget to get your ticket for our Russian Romances recitals on December 12 and 14 at 7:30 PM! You can purchase tickets by clicking here or calling AVA at 215-735-1685.


AVA Alumni Around the World, October 2017 Edition

The distinguished alumni of the Academy of Vocal Arts have taken the world by storm! Let’s take a look at the many concerts, festivals, and opera debuts our alumni have coming up around the world. Check below for recent and upcoming engagements:

Tenor Bryan Hymel is singing in Les Vêpres sicilennes at the Royal Opera House this fall. Bryan also recently joined the Board of the Academy of Vocal Arts – welcome Bryan!

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Baritone Michael Adams will continue his role as Marcello in La bohème at the Utah Opera until October 15, 2017. This was his debut with Utah Opera.


Soprano Angela Meade and AVA Resident Artist tenor John Matthew Myers performed with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra this past weekend. Click here to read their wonderful reviews!

Angela also sings the title role in Alcina with the Washington National Opera through November. Additionally, she will be singing the title role in Norma at the Metropolitan Opera for the first half of December.

Soprano Angela Meade and tenor John Matthew Myers

(Photo Credit: Allentown Symphony Association) The Morning Call

Tenor Michael Fabiano  will be singing the role of Chevalier des Grieux in Manon at the San Francisco Opera starting November 4. He also will be starring in Rigoletto as the Duke of Mantua at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

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You might recognize that familiar face, who graced the September cover of Opera News -soprano Ailyn Pèrez! Her upcoming performances include singing the title role in Thaïs and Countless Almaviva in Le nozze di Fiagro, both at the Metropolitan Opera.

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(Photo Credit: Opera News)

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will sing the role of Adalgisa in Norma at the Metropolitan Opera through October 20. She also will be singing the title role in Semiramide at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in November and early December.

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Soprano Marina Costa-Jackson will be singing the role of Violetta in La traviata at the Oper Köln through December 3.

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Three AVA alumni star together in the English National Opera’s production of Aida: soprano Latonia Moore, mezzo-soprano Dana Beth Miller and baritone Musa Ngqungwana.

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(Photo Credit: © Tristram Kenton)

Mezzo-Soprano Allegra De Vita will be seen at Washington National Opera’s production of Handel’s Alcina as Ruggiero on November 18 and as The Fox in The Little Prince in December.


Tenor Stephen Costello will be singing the role of Rodolfo in La bohème starting in late October to early November at Semperoper Dresden in Germany. He also will be singing the role of Camille in The Merry Widow at Opéra National de Paris through October 21.

Another cover star! Soprano Joyce El-Khoury was on the October cover of Classical Singer Magazine (below). She recently sang the role of Musetta in La bohème at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and will perform in Il Pirata as Imogene with Opéra National de Bordeaux this November.

Joyce El-Khoury Cover

Baritone John Viscardi will be singing the role in Cyrano at Opera Carolina in November.


Bass Scott Connor will continue his run at the Dutch National Opera singing the roles of Nerbulone and Tigerne in Egliogabalo through October 26.

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It is never our intention to omit any AVA alumni. If you notice any discrepancies, please contact info@avaopera.org.

Madison Miner is a senior Communications major at West Chester University, and an intern in AVA’s Marketing Department.

Past Giargiari Winners: Where are they now?

Not too long now until AVA’s annual Giargiari Bel Canto Competition! Today, we’re taking a look back at the most recent winners, who have gone on to do incredible things in the opera world. Here is what the four most recent Giargiari winners are doing now:


Giargari’s 2013 winner, tenor Diego Silva, has kept busy since graduating AVA. His recent engagements include singing the roles of the Duke in Rigoletto with the Luzerner Theater and debuting with the Vilnius City Opera in Faust (Faust), the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. At AVA, Diego sang the role of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, as well as the title role in Faust.

This season, Silva returns to the Luzerner Theater for productions of La traviata (Alfredo), Falstaff (Fenton), Die Zauberflöte (Tamino), and a new production of Jules Massenet’s Manon (Des Grieux). He will additionally return to Vilnius City Opera as the title role in Faust and make his debut with Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole as Rodolfo in La bohème. Opera News claims, “this is a career to follow.”


André Courville, bass-baritone, was Giargiari’s 2014 winner! This summer, André sang in many engagements including in Placido Domingo’s Operalia, the world opera competition, the role of Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and was a Bass soloist in the Great Mass. 

At AVA, André’s roles have included Monterone in Rigoletto, Archibaldo in L’amore dei tre re, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Méphistophélés in Faust, among others. Keep an eye on André, he is sure to do extraordinary things in the future!


In 2015, fourth-year Resident Artist, Vanessa Vasquez, soprano, took home the coveted James Parkinson Opera Foundation First Prize, as well as the Audience Favorite Prize. Vanessa’s recent achievements include being the National Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017 and Top Prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, also in 2017.

At AVA, Vanessa sang the roles of Gilda in Rigoletto, Giorgetta in  Il tabarro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Mimì in La bohème. Previous roles include La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro with Oberlin in Italy, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera UCLA and Desdemona in Otello (in concert) with the Astoria Music Festival. Vanessa will be performing throughout AVA’s 2017-2018 season, you don’t want to miss her!


Last year’s winner, Alasdair Kent, has been hard at work since graduating. His recent performances include singing the roles of Giocondo in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone at Wolf Trap Opera, Il cavaliere Belfiore in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims in Pesaro, Italy, and Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in Portland, Oregon. At AVA, Alasdair performed the roles of Page is Rigoletto, Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi.

Upcoming roles of his include Lindoro in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri in both Toulon and Montpellier, France and Budapest, Hungry, and Third Angel/John in Benjamin’s Written on Skin with Opera Philadelphia. We are very excited to see what else Alasdair has in store!

We hope to see you at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater for this years Giargiari Bel Canto Competition on Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 pm. Hear and vote for this year’s winner before they take the opera world by storm!

Tickets are still available! They can be purchased via the Kimmel Center website or by calling their box office at 215-893-1999.

We look forward to seeing you!


Written by AVA Marketing Intern Madison Miner









Meet AVA Marketing Intern Madison!

Madison Miner is a senior studying Communications at West Chester University, hoping to pursue Public Relations after graduation. She is interning this fall for AVA as the Marketing and Public Relations Intern. Madison is not only looking forward to the experience she will gain, but the excellent vocal performances she is sure to hear. She is very excited to join our team!

2017 Giargiari Bel Canto Competition


We are so excited for the 2017 Giargiari Competition! AVA’s Resident Artists will perform on Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 pm at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. AVA faculty member Richard A. Raub will join the Resident Artists on stage, as both the pianist and music director. They have been working tirelessly and have selected some incredible pieces for the show. Here is a sneak peek of what’s in store:


             Si può? Si può? | Pagliacci

              Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)



                Mercé, dilette amiche | I vespri siciliani

                Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)



                È la solita storia del pastore… Anch’io vorrei dormir così | L’arlesiana

                Francesco Ciléa (1866-1950)


PASCALE SPINNEY, mezzo-soprano

                È sgombro il loco… Ah! Parea che per incanto | Anna Bolena

                Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)



                Alzati!… Eri tu che macchiavi quell’anima | Un ballo in maschera

                Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)



                Robert, toi que j’aime | Robert le diable

                Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)


ROY HAGE, tenor

               Il était une fois à la cour d’Eisenach! | Les contes d’Hoffmann

                Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)



               Glück, das mir verblieb | Die tote Stadt

                Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)



                I know that you all hate me | The Saint of Bleecker Street

                Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)



               Parigi! È la città dei desideri | La rondine

                Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)



               Oui, pour ce soir… Je suis Titania! | Mignon

                Ambroise Thomas (1811- 1896)



               Addio fiorito asil | Madama Butterfly

                Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)



                Come un’ape ne’ giorni d’aprile | La cenerentola             

                Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)



               De cet affreux combat… Pleurez mes yeux | Le Cid

                Jules Massenet (1842-1912)



                Cielo e mar! | La gioconda

                Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-1886)


HANNAH LUDWIG, mezzo-soprano

               Où suis-je?… O ma lyre immortelle | Sapho

                Charles Gounod (1818-1893)


DANIEL NOYOLA, bass-baritone

               Ça, vous commettez tous… Riez, allez! | Don Quichotte

                Jules Massenet (1842-1912)



               En proie à la tristesse… O bon hermite | Le Comte Ory    

                Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)


Tickets to the event are still available but selling quickly! Tickets may be purchased via the Kimmel Center website or by calling their box office at 215-893-1999. Don’t miss your chance to vote for your favorite! We look forward to seeing you there!