Katharin Rundus’s “Cantabile: Voice Class” Receives Rave Review

Lecturer Katharin Rundus’s latest book, Cantabile: Voice Class is reviewed in this month’s Classical Singer Magazine; also included is an interview with her. The book is intended for a one-semester class for beginning vocalists, a “bootcamp” as she refers to it.

From Classical Singer Magazine’s review: “Rundus presents the terms and concepts of vocal pedagogy in a manner that makes them accessible and intelligible without being watered down… Cantabile: Voice Class is … poised to become a standard text for teaching beginning singers.”

Alumni get Rave Reviews for Anthracite Fields with LAMC

Alumni Beth Peregrine, Luc Kleiner, and Zanaida Robles performed with the LA Mater Chorale in they performance of “Anthracite Fields,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for composer Julia Wolfe, and some spirituals and Appalachian songs. In Mark Swed’s glorious review of the performance for the LA Times, he singled out Zanaida Robles, commenting, “Happily no one who heard the restrained rapture that Master Chorale soprano Zanaida Robles brought to “Wade in the Water” will forget it.”
Canada also recently made her debut conducting the Southeast Symphony Orchestra in concert with her own  San Gabriel Valley Choral Company in a performance of Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.

Photo credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu LA Times

Nathan Stark Receives Rave Review from Hawaii Opera

Alumnus Nathan Stark received another terrific review, this one for his tole in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Hawaii Opera. “Nathan Stark made an auspicious role debut as an uncommonly fine Bottom. His stage demeanor was by turns pompous, genial, blustering, and endearing and he captured every bit of the part’s humor, especially when portraying the overwrought Pyramus. His well-schooled bass-baritone has a steely thrust, and its easy amplitude allowed it to ring out in the house. Mr. Stark’s authoritative impersonation made us love to be annoyed by this meddlesome tinker. His loose-limbed antics as the ass were the perfect partner to Tytania’s ‘gaga’ spoonin.” – James Sohre,

Megan Berti Receives Spectacular Review

Alumna Megan Berti received a spectacular review for her performance in Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

“Ahh, but what’s a Cenerentola without a Cinderella? A revelation two seasons ago at OH as a feisty Hansel in Humperdinck’s Wagnerian Hansel and Gretel, who knew Megan Berti could conquer – and triumph – in the dazzling fireworks of Rossini? She exudes that fairy dust I mentioned earlier; she glistens with it, tosses it in the air and envelops us. She holds us spellbound with flawless technique, perfect diction, absolute pitch and fearless attack. Even in her drab scullery uniform, she’s an eyeful. Wearing haute couture at the ball, she’s a knockout. What a diva! And I mean that in all sincerity. She knocks this role out of the park. After she meets the prince in disguise, she explodes in fiery roulades and filigree, each one more precise, each more ornamented. Her heart’s aflame, and she sounds it, happy in love, ecstatic in joy. So are we, pulled warmly into her vocal embrace. This is a defining performance. (This March Berti appears in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players at Houston Grand Opera. I pray they have given her a showstopping role. It’s what she deserves. If not, this consummate artist will make it so.)

Ryan Brown Gets Rave Review

The Examiner.com gave alumnus Ryan Brown a lengthy rave review of his new work for the piano duet ZOFU. After comparing the piece to Stockhausen’s “Zyklus,” the article explains, “I Heard Bells from my Rotating House” on the other hand, seems to have been composed with the “external” listener in mind. The image of different bells surrounding the rotating house is formed strictly in the mind of the attentive listener. What is important, however, is the way in which Brown provides that listener with cues indicating that the house is in motion. The result is intriguing without ever sounding excessively contrived; and ZOFO’s execution provides a clear account of those cues, even within the somewhat limited context of streaming video. You can hear the piece here.

Photo credit: Lenny Gonzalez

Amber Alarcòn in “Tsar’s Bride”

Alumna Amber Alarcòn performed in the Independent Opera Company’s production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Tsar’s Bride” at West LA’s Lutheran Church of the Master. She received an great review in Singerpreneur: “Amber Alarcon was delightful as Dunyasha, the darling confidante of the soprano lead, Marfa, singing with a warm, clean mezzo and a captivating stage presence.”

Christopher Johnstone in Hometown Caberet

Alumnus Christopher Johnstone took his first cabaret in his hometown, Cedar Rapids, Iowa for three performances at “Brucemore’s Cabaret in the Courtyard.”

A review on Hoopla notes, “Johnstone possesses a lovely example of the classic Broadway voice. He knows how to shape a phrase and use dynamics to tell a story, and his voice is warm in the lower registers and sweet in the upper registers. He can impressively sustain a note, adding texture as he does so, and he uses the skill to great effect at the end of numbers. It’s easy to hear why he’s found success in the world of Broadway shows.”

Marina Harris “Steals” the Show in Ariadne of Naxos

Alumna Marina Harris started as Ariadne in Pacific Opera Project’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Lauri D. Goldenhersh of Singerpreneur reviewed the production and wrote of Marina, “As good as the cast was overall, however, it was Marina Harris that stole the show, with a vocal and dramatic performance that was superb throughout. Ariadne is a difficult role, requiring stamina, depth and strong comic timing in addition to an exceptional, powerful voice, and Harris’ lyricism was as haunting as her deadpan humor was funny.  Her voice has grown even more sure and lovely than when we saw her in POP’s “Turn of the Screw” last year, with the same tragic urgency. She takes the stage as if she were born to it, and perhaps she was.”

Nathan Stark Nabs Another Rave Review

Alumnus Nathan Stark received a spectacular review of his role in “The Italian Girl in Algiers” with the Opera San Jose: “In particular, there is one blow-you-away performance, by bass Nathan Stark, singing the role of Mustafa, the Bey of Algiers. At Sunday’s performance — the second of six, through Nov. 30 — his stentorian voice was impressive, for sure. But more than that, Stark, also debuting with the company, is a natural comic actor with a memorably plastic face that puts his characterization of this wildly rich, lecherous, spoiled and foolhardy ruler over the top.”

Chris Rountree Receives a Rave Review

Alumnus Chris Rountree received a rave review of his new music ensemble, WildUp’s performance a the Music Academy (Montecito) in the LA Times.

Mark Swed wrote, “All the performances, led by Rountree, were exceptional, the ensemble turning on an astonishing stylistic dime. This group really has come a long way — technically, intellectually, emotionally and technologically. I worry about the future of Southern California citrus in a future of climate change, but on Saturday night, the future of classical music — of all music — seemed in the right new hands.”

Nathan Stark Garners Rave Review

Alumnus Nathan Stark continues to garner exceptional press from his role “The Italian Girl in Algiers” with the Opera San Jose: “Nathan Stark played Mustafa and he gave one of the best comic performances I have ever seen. His facial elasticity would give Jim Carrey a run for his money. He spent the majority of the performance with a perfect comedic leer on his face and I kept remembering the old saying of “don’t make that face, it just might freeze that way.” He went all out for his character and you could tell he was having a blast.”

Photo Credit: Bob Shomler

 

Nathan Stark Nabs Rave Review

Alumnus Nathan Stark continues to garner exceptional press from his role “The Italian Girl in Algiers” with the Opera San Jose: “Nathan Stark played Mustafa and he gave one of the best comic performances I have ever seen. His facial elasticity would give Jim Carrey a run for his money. He spent the majority of the performance with a perfect comedic leer on his face and I kept remembering the old saying of ‘don’t make that face, it just might freeze that way.’ He went all out for his character and you could tell he was having a blast.”