Lydia Dahling

Soprano Lydia Dahling is an emerging singer known for her dynamic and intimate performances and wide range of vocal colors.  This season, she covers Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with Vocal Productions NYC and makes her role debut as Gilda in Rigoletto. In the 2015-2016 season, she made role debuts as Pamina (The Magic Flute) and Lisette (La rondine) and joined The Cantanti Project as Ophelia in excerpts from Hamlet. Her interpretation of Zerlina with Mannes Opera was called “sweet voiced” by Opera News, and other roles include Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) with Sugar Creek Opera, the Voice from Heaven (Don Carlo), and the title role of Alcina. Also a performer of chamber music, she has performed works such as Seven Romances by Aleksandr Blok (Shostakovich) and a world premier by Dorian Wallace with new music consortium Tenth Intervention. Dahling holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Mannes College The New School for Music. 

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Maria Didur

Russian pianist Maria Didur holds a Bachelor's degree in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music and Master's degree in music education from Hunter College in New York City. Ms. Didur was in high demand as a collaborative pianist in the San Diego area for the past eight years. She was the primary accompanist for SDSU choirs, SDSU graduate conducting studio, as well as vocal and instrumental studios at SDSU and USD. She has also worked with San Diego Opera Chorus and other high profile choirs such as Bach Collegium San Diego, San Diego Pro Arte Voices, Sacra/Profana and the San Diego Summer Choral Festival. She moved back to NYC in August and currently holds the position of music director at Manhattan School for Children.

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Frank Fainer

Frank D. Fainer, Paraguayan-American baritone and actor, is known for his venturesome acting choices on the stage and on screen. Frank’s favorite roles include Dandini (La Cenerentola), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), the Pirate King (Pirates of Penzance), Stephen Sondheim (Side by Side by Sondheim), Schaunard (La bohème), and Jesus (Godspell). In the summer of 2014 Frank attended Song Fest to perform contemporary works with John Musto, and in 2016 he earned a Bachelor of Music in voice at the University of Colorado at Boulder under the guidance of Patrick Mason. As a two year participant in the intensive Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre program, Frank fine-tuned the skills of theatre acting in the indepth role study of Tom in The Glass Menagerie. Frank resides in New York City.

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Brittany Fowler

Noted for her lyrical pathos and comedic flair, mezzo-soprano Brittany Fowler has been praised by the New York Times for her “dynamically fluid characterization.” Recent engagements include Despina (The Three Little Pigs) with Prelude Opera, Larina (Eugene Onegin) with Utopia Opera and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Elysium String Ensemble. As a former Young Artist with the Boston Early Music Festival, she covered Melanto in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and sang in the 1988 concert revival, Three, Four, and Twenty Lutes. Her operatic roles include Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Meg (Little Women), The Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and La Musica (L’Orfeo). She sings frequently with New York Continuo Collective, performing works by Strozzi, Saracini, Caccini, and du Bailly in concert. Brittany received her BA in Music and Italian Studies from Wesleyan University; her training includes two seasons as a Young Artist with Opera North as well as studies at the University of Bologna in Italy.

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Kirsti Esch

Mezzo-Soprano Kirsti Esch is a versatile musician garnering notice for her interpretations of Baroque and Wagnerian repertoire. Roles include: Arnalta (L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Trentino Music Festival), Gerhilde (Opera Company of Brooklyn) and Waltraute (NYLOT) in Die Walkure, The Mother (Hansel and Gretel, Opera Oggi), Nireno (Giulio Cesare, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival), Laura (Iolanta, Opera Slavica), King Ajax I (La Belle Hélène, Opéra du Périgord), Mae Jones (Street Scene, Mittelsächisches Theater).  Miss Esch has also been seen in concert in NYC (with Lauren Flanigan), Minneapolis (Minnesota Opera), London (Royal College of Music), Boston (Symphony Hall), Germany, France, and Iceland. Miss Esch is a graduate of Boston University. She currently studies with Bill Neill, and resides in Brooklyn.

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Allison Gish

Allison Gish is a mezzo-soprano based in New York with a special interest in historically-informed performance of Baroque music. Ms. Gish is currently pursuing a Professional Studies Diploma at Mannes College, where she appeared with Mannes Baroque as soloist in Monteclair’s cantata Pan et Syrinx and Piacere in excerpts from Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo. She will return in December as Vagaus in excerpts from Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans. She will also appear as Green Pants & Co. in Robert Ashley’s DUST at The New School this spring. Ms. Gish has also appeared as a soloist with the Con Vivo Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Singers as Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, New Amsterdam Singers (Dear Theo, Bach’s Singet den Herrn), Louisiana Sinfonietta (De profundis), and LSU Symphony (Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor). With LSU Opera, Ms. Gish performed the roles of Mother / Grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood, La Badessa in Suor Angelica, and Armelinde in Viardot’s Cendrillon.

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Alexandria Hoffman

Alexandria Hoffman has been the Millinery Assistant to Corrina Griffin for Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular since 2011, and the Costume Administrator at Glimmerglass Theater Festival since 2012. Alex hold an MA from NYU in Visual Culture: Costume Studies and a BA from UCSB in History and Theater, emphasis Costume Design. The Seafarer, (Floriday Repertory Theater); Anoush, Roudolf Kharatian (Ballet 2021); The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome, Brandon Stock (Outside Inside at NYCFringe); “Cross”, Gerry Maravilla (Isosceles Media). Assistant Costume Design- Off Broadway: That Poor Dream, Kate Fry (The Assemly); The Architecture of Becoming, Kate Fry (Women’s Project Theater); Philosophy for Gangsters, Sarah Cogan (Rotten Apples Theatrical); One Night, Jessica Jahn (Rattlestick at Cherry Lane Productions); F#%ng Up Everything, Melissa Trn; Totally Tubular Time Machine, Sarah Cogan. Other: “The Story of Vice”, Kama Royz (National Geographic Productions); “Cop Show”, Michael Bevins (M.E.G.A. Films); “How You Look at It”, Stefanie Genda (How You Look at It LLC); Marry Harry, Stefanie Genda (American Theater Group); The Cripple of Inishmaan, Stefanie Genda (Hartt School). www.ahcostumedesign.com

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Tara Gruszkiewicz

Mezzo soprano Tara Gruszkiewicz is thrilled to be joining the Cantanti Project to celebrate the music of Handel. This season, Tara sings as alto soloist in Handel's Messiah and Israel in Egypt with the Ars Musica Chorale in Ridgewood, NJ. Last season, Tara sang the roles of Waltraute in Die Walküre and La zia principessa in Suor Angelica with New York Lyric Opera Theatre. Other roles include Carmen, Dorabella, Hansel, Nicklausse, 1st Norn (Götterdämmerung), Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito), Le prince charmant (Cendrillon), the Duchess (The Gondoliers), Miss Todd (The Old Maid and the Thief), and Nettie Fowler (Carousel). A native of Naugatuck, Connecticut, Tara did her graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music, and also trained in the CoOPERAtive program at Westminster Choir College. She currently studies in the vocal studio of Patricia McCaffrey. Never restricting her musical endeavors to opera alone, Tara is also an accomplished composer, arranger, and professional chorister. She resides in Upper Manhattan.

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Fiona Gillespie Jackson

Praised for her “brilliant sound” (San Francisco Classical Voice), and “silver tone” (The Reading Eagle), soprano Fiona Gillespie Jackson has appeared as a soloist and chorister with such ensembles as Apollo’s Fire, Skylark Ensemble, Mountainside Baroque, Kinnara Ensemble, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, The Crossing, Ensemble VIII, The Reading Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran, AMPERSAND, Inwood Consort, The Denton Bach Society, the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and Bricolage Project (founder). Recent on- and off-stage credits include Miles in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and AD/Sound Technician/Props for Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief with Opera Modo in Detroit, MI; the title role in Lully’s Armide with EnsembleOrquesta in the UK; Director of Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel at Lycoming College. Fiona teaches voice at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and has presented workshops on Early Music and small ensemble singing at The Conservatory of Puerto Rico in San Juan, and at the University of Hawa’ii in Honolulu.

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Elyse Anne Kakacek

Elyse Anne Kakacek is an award-winning soprano said to be “a stand out performer”(OperaNews) with a “sparkling soprano voice” (ChicagoHerald). She has performed over 30 operatic roles, some favorites including Norina in Don Pasquale, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Pamina in Die Zauberflote. An advocate of new works, Ms. Kakacek premiered 6 Flash Operas with Experiments in Opera last year, working closely with composers and librettists (from THE NEW YORKER and Saturday Night Live). She has sung in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Preston Bradley Hall, La Mama Experimental Theatre, and Cornelia Street Café. In May, she will rejoin Experiments in Opera to premiere Matthew Welch’s new opera And Here we Are at National Sawdust. She is a proud recipient of The Lynne Harvey Foundation Scholarship from the Musician's Club of Women. Please “like” her on Facebook for schedules and updates!  

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William Lewis

William Lewis, pianist/accompanist, vocal coach, arranger, and performer is beginning his fiftieth year as a professional musician. In 2014, he earned two nominations in the Charleston Theater Awards for his performances in “The Piano Man and the Diva” (Best Musical Director and Best Actor in a Musical) for the 2013-2014 season. In Savannah, Georgia, he won the People’s Choice Award during the American Traditions Competition. Mr. Lewis regularly appears with Irish tenor Ronan Tynan in concert and also plays for Marcello Giordano and violinist Gregory Harrington. He has served as vocal coach for the Santa Fe Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Omaha, Texas Opera, Opera Music Theater International with Jerome Hines, Central City Opera House Festival and Natchez Opera Festival. As a teacher, Mr. Lewis has served on the faculties of both the Boston and New England Conservatories and at Rutgers University. He has taught master classes across the U.S. and is presently an Artist in Residence at the University of Kentucky with Dr. Tynan.

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Sangying Li

Soprano Sangying Li is originally from Hunan, China. Li completed a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Central China Normal University and a Master's Degree in vocal performance from Temple University in Philadelphia. After seeing her perform in Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts Russian Opera Workshop, classical music critic Marakay Rogers remarked that Li "demonstrated magnificent voice and a controlled vibrato along with a clear understanding of what she was singing." Since moving to New York City, she has performed operatic roles such as Olympia (Tales of Hoffman), the Sandman and the Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel), and Barbarina (The Marriage of Figaro). Through her participation in New York Lyric Opera Theatre's Summer Program, she performed on three of New York's most distinguished stages, including the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and National Opera Center. When not working her technique and repertoire, she enjoys cooking, fashion and heavy metal.

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Grant Mech

]Grant Mech has appeared in numerous operatic productions, including Alcina (Melisso) with Cantanti Project, La Clemenza di Tito (Publio) and Le Nozze di Figaro (Bartolo) with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, the titles role in Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi with Delaware Valley Opera, Turandot (Mandarin) with New Rochelle Opera, La Serva Padrona (Uberto) and The Pirates of Penzance (Police Sergeant) with Boheme Opera NJ, and  La Cambiale di matrimonio (Tobias Mill) with Garden State Opera. He has appeared in concerts and recitals, singing works such as Brahms’ Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Schubert’s Schwanengesang. He has appeared in concerts with the early music ensemble La Fiocco from Bucks County Pennsylvania.  Grant is the director of music at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in New York and the choral director at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, NJ.  He is also the conductor of the Down Town Glee Club in New York and has been a faculty member for the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA. During the summer of 2018, Grant will lead a concert tour of both choral and solo vocal repertoire in Poland and Germany.

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Laura Mitchell

Laura Mitchell is a lyric soprano from Prunedale, California. She received her Artist Diploma from CCM, where she performed the roles of Fiordiligi, Musetta, Susanna, and the title roles in Alcina and Manon. Laura received her Bachelor's from U.C. San Diego, where she was a frequent soloist with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, as well as a winner of their Young Artist Competition. Living in New York City, Laura has had the pleasure of working with many of the local companies. Roles have included Violetta, Pamina, Suor Angelica, Gretel, and Cendrillon, among others. In past years Laura has worked with Lyric Opera Virginia, Sarasota Opera, San Diego Opera, New York Lyric Opera Theater, along with programs in several other countries. Laura has won 1st place in the Advanced Division in the Mendelssohn Society’s Competition, as well as being a Vocal Competition Winner with Musical Merit Foundation of San Diego. She has been a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

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Daniela Di Pasquale

Lyric soprano, Daniela Di Pasquale has been performing in concerts as a special guest vocalist with two-time Emmy nominated tenor, Alfio, for the past 2 years. This June she performed with The Lighthouse Opera Company as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and in July, she performed as Despina in Così fan tutte with Carol Yahr’s NYC Summer Scenes Program. Previously she performed the role of Virtu in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the NYC Lyric Opera. Other main stage and workshop productions include Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Regina in Regina, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, First nun and Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Nanetta in Falstaff. In addition, Ms. Di Pasquale has performed in solo recitals in Italy near Milan and Lake Como. Ms. Di Pasquale studied at the Eastman School of Music and received a Bachelor of Music Degree with a concentration in Vocal performance at Montclair State University. 

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