Lydia Dahling

Soprano Lydia Dahling is an emerging singer known for her dynamic and intimate performances and her wide range of vocal colors. This season she sings Melinda in selections from Bánk bán and Proserpina in Caccini's L'Euridice with The Cantanti Project, for which she also served as dramaturg. Last season, she sang Dorinda (Orlando) and the title role of Dido and Aeneas, and joined the Academy of Sacred Drama as Obbedienza in Bassani's 1689 oratorio Giona. Her interpretation of Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with Mannes Opera was called “sweet voiced” by Opera News. Other credits include Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) with Sugar Creek Opera, Pamina (The Magic Flute) and the title role of Alcina. Also a performer of chamber music, she has performed works by Shostakovich, Berg, and Respighi. Dahling holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Mannes College. She is also the co-host of the podcast “Straight From the Wolf’s Mouth”. A native of Indiana, she currently resides in New York City.

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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 D. Fainer

Frank D. Fainer, Paraguayan-American singer 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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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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Tara Gruszkiewicz

Mezzo-soprano Tara Gruszkiewicz has been praised for her “dusky, haunting timbre” and “magisterial delivery.” This season, Tara debuted as Schwertleite in Wagner's Die Walküre with the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra. During the past two years, Tara has expanded her opera and concert career to China, at venues including the NCPA in Beijing, the Shanghai Symphony Hall, the Tianjin Concert Hall, the Jiangsu Grand Theatre in Nanjing, and the Suzhou Arts & Culture center, as well as on CCTV and Jiangsu TV. Stateside and abroad, Tara’s has performed Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Bradamante (Alcina), La zia principessa (Suor Angelica), Sesto (La clemenza di Tito), Erste Norn (Götterdämmerung), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Le prince charmant (Cendrillon), La tasse chinoise (L’enfant et les sortilèges), Miss Todd (The Old Maid and the Thief) and Nettie Fowler (Carousel) at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Dimenna Center, Lincoln Center, and Symphony Space. Tara holds a Masters Degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

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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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Laura Mitchell

Operations Director Laura Mitchell holds a B.A. in Music and minor in Mathematics from UC San Diego and an Artist Diploma from the prestigious University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. Her administrative background includes IT Project Management, Business Analysis and Systems Analysis & Integration. Her personal mission as an administrator of an arts organization is to create a space that celebrates the singer as much as the company; to create a space where singer’s opinions matter and where they can learn to make their own decisions as musicians. Laura is passionate about leveraging the booming market of free technologies to enhance the experience for both singers and productions in a cost-effective way.

At CCM, she performed the roles of Fiordiligi, Musetta, Susanna, and the title roles in Alcina and Manon. Laura has worked with Lyric Opera Virginia, Sarasota Opera, San Diego Opera, New York Lyric Opera Theater, along with programs in several other countries. Her performances are often praised for “captivating” performances (Classical Singer Magazine), and “nuanced delivery” (Oberon’s Grove).

Core Artist and Operations Director

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Joyce Yin

Soprano Joyce Yin, praised by New York Concert Review for singing with an “otherworldly quality,” brings a committed physicality and depth of emotional connection to the stage. This season, Joyce sings the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Libby Larsen’s Try Me Good King, and Clara Schumann’s Sechs Lieder. A performer whose “deft characterization” is “matched by her fearless singing” (Entertainment Hour), Joyce particularly enjoys exploring the nuances of determined women such as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Morgana (Alcina), and Gilda (Rigoletto). Recent highlights include Ines in Donizetti’s La Zingara with Amore Opera, Linfea in La Calisto with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, the title role in Caccini’s Euridice with Cantanti Project, and her debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic as the soprano soloist in the Messiah. Joyce is a winner of the Met Auditions Audience Choice Award and the Musical Merit Foundation of San Diego. She graduated with her M.M. in Opera Performance from Arizona State University. Please visit and @joycesings for updates.

Core Artist and Artistic Director

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