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One of the greatest strengths of a summer opera program is the faculty, comprised of singers with international careers who are passionate about developing the artists of tomorrow.


Luis Ledesma

Luis Ledesma

Baritone Luis Ledesma has established a reputation as a "rich and well controlled baritone (Opera News). He frequently portrays the heroes and villains of Puccini, Verdi and the bel canto masters as well as roles in recent new works in Spanish including Florencia en el Amazonas and El pasado nunca se termina. His operatic and concert career has advanced in Europe, the United States and South America and includes theaters such as Teatro alla Scala (Luisa Fernanda), the Liceu in Barcelona (Alphonse in La favorite, Riccardo in I puritani and Marcello in La bohème), Klangbogen Festival in Vienna (Leoncavallo's La bohème), Wexford Festival (Don Pasquale),  Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Escamillo), Semperoper in Dresden (Marcello), several roles for Köln Oper (including Don Carlo and Germont), Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires (Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia), Bellas Artes in Mexico City (Marcello, Germont, and Escamillo ), Macau Festival (Sharpless),  Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos (Marcello), Graz Oper (Escamillo), L’opera de Montreal (Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West), Manitoba Opera (Escamillo), Opera Lyra Ottawa (Tonio), the Philadelphia Orchestra (Marcello in a concert version of La boheme and Beethoven Nine) and the Savonlinna Opera Festival (Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Escamillo), Bucharest National Opera (Scarpia) and Hungarian State Opera (Alfio and Tonio).

In the United States, Mr. Ledesma has sung with many companies, including Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Washington Opera, New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Santa Barbara Opera, Anchorage Opera, Santo Domingo, Madison Opera, Nashville Opera, Portland Opera, Indianapolis and Connecticut Opera, Opera Pacific, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Carolina, Memphis Opera, San Antonio Opera, New Jersey Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florentine Opera, and Hawaii Opera. He also sang two tours with Andrea Bocelli, performing in famous venues such as Madison Square Garden, Hollywood Bowl, Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, Florida, and the Auditorio Nacional Mexico City.

Mr. Ledesma made his Carnegie Hall debut in the Faure Requiem and returned for Dvorak’s Te Deum. He has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Mann Music Center with The Philadelphia Orchestra and with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.  He has performed a variety of orchestral repertoire including Mozart's Coronation Mass, Orff's Carmina Burana with the  Louisville Orchestra, a series of Christmas concerts in Hannover with the NDR Radiophilharmonie and a Verdi concert presented in Die Alte Opera Frankfurt. He also performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the Filarmonica de Jalisco and Gala concerts with Tampa Opera and with Festival Cultural Zacatecas, and a solo with Festival Classique des Hautes-Laurentides in Mont-Tremblant, Canada. His concert performances include La bohème (Marcello) at the Vail Festival and the Mann Music Center with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Handel’s Messiah in Spain with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias.


Marija Jelic

Marija Jelic

Soprano Marija Jelic is having a successful career which is starting to grow in Europe and other part of world. In her repertoire there are such roles as: Puccini: La Boheme (Mimi), Bizet: Carmen (Micaela), Verdi: Elizabeth (Don Carlo), Puccini: Verdi, Aida (Aida).

She has sung in the opera gala concert of ending of Summer Festival in Wernigerode (Germany), Teatro del Carmine Sardenia. She has sung Partisian Requiem in Moscow International Music Center, and ten concerts with St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Darrel Ang (Mariinsky Theater) in the National Library in Beijing, Dongying Grand Theater, Liniy Snow Lotus Theater. 

She has also sung in the Gala opera concert opening the 60th Festival Ohrid Summer Festival. Also, she sang Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Plovdiv Opera Festival. In 2021 she sang in Ljubljana summer festival and Belgrade summer festival production of Carmen, role of Micaela with Elina Garança, Jonathan Tetelman, Kostas Smoriginas and conductor Karl-Mark Chichon. She sang Mimi (La Boheme) in Jerusalem opera festival with Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and also in Estonia – Narva Opera Festival. as well as the gala opera concert in Belgrade with Placido Domingo in September 2021, and with the Dubrovnik symphony orchestra and Jose Cura in Croatia 2021. She performed in gala opera concert streamed on Opera Vision with Azerbeijan National opera in Baku in October 2021.

Marija had her solo recital in Carnegie Hall in October 2021 with pianist Anthony Manoli. Also, she shared the stage with Marta Argerich performing Mahler’s 4th Symphony. She is a successful teacher and gives masterclasses to young people around the world.


Danielle Orlando

Danielle Orlando is an accompanist to international opera singers and a vocal coach and artistic consultant to prestigious musical organizations throughout the world. She has appeared with esteemed singers in such venues as the Phillips Collection, Théatre du Châtelet, and Carnegie Hall; and for the United States Supreme Court, the Schubert Club, Vocal Arts D.C., Music at the Morgan Library, Good Morning America, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and many many more. She also appears in the documentary The Audition. Ms. Orlando has performed recitals for the Harriman-Jewell Series and has appeared at the Florida Opera and Astoria Music festivals, Festival Castell de Peralada (Spain), and Festival International Hautes-Laurentides (Canada).

Ms. Orlando served as accompanist, judge, and artistic coordinator for the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competitions and worked with Gian Carlo Menotti at the Festival dei Due Mondi for nine seasons. She was the artistic administrator and head of music staff for the Opera Company of Philadelphia and has served on the music staffs of the Metropolitan, Washington National, and San Francisco operas; Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires; Dresden Semperoper; and Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Ms. Orlando is a guest judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a guest coach for the Domingo-Cafritz and Palm Beach young artist programs. Recent residencies include Curtis Summerfest, the University of Tennessee—Knoxville, and the Peking University Academy of Opera in Beijing. She lead master classes at  the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in Summer 2018.

Ms. Orlando holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Temple University, where she studied with Harvey Wedeen and Lambert Orkis. She also studied at the Eastman School of Music with David Burge. Ms. Orlando joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986, and is also master coach at the Academy of Vocal Arts.


Rodrigo Ilizaliturri

Rodrigo Ilizaliturri

Winner of 2014 Municipal Youth Award awarded by the Municipality of Saltillo, he has a Bachelor's degree in Music from the Autonomous University of Coahuila (UAdeC) and a Master's degree in Musical Performance from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He has taken courses, classes and workshops with professors Beania Salcedo (UANL), Sergio Ruiz (Texas), Monique Rasetti (UNAM), Elda Nelly Treviño (Monterrey), Gerardo González (ESMDM/UAdeC), Jo Greenaway (Toronto), Enza Ferrari (Scala), Danielle Orlando (AVA, Curtis), Ayrat Kazhaev (Bolshoi theater Moscow), Howard Watkins (Metropolitan Opera NY) and Edith Ruiz (UNAM).

He has performed in various academic and artistic activities in 15 states of the Mexican Republic and in cities such as Athens, Austin, Paris, Arezzo, Bogotá, Varna, New York, Bologna, Belgrade and Philadelphia. In 2018 he made his conducting debut with the OSEA Nuevo León in the “Folklor Sinfónico” concert sponsored by Total Play, at the San Pedro Auditorium, in Monterrey. He was pianist at the UAdeC Opera Workshop as well as the Sinaloa Opera Workshop TAOS and has collaborated with the Compañía Opera de México, Ópera de Coahuila, Nadieshda Paris, CONARTE-Ópera de Nuevo León, Ópera del Noreste, Ópera de San Luis , Opera Hispánica of New York and Tec de Monterrey. He has participated in the programs of Opera San Luis, Oberlin in Italy-Arezzo, MIAL Varna in Bulgaria, Bologna International Opera Academy and ISOFOS Serbia.

He has been collaborative pianist in: Die Zauberflöte, Elisir d'amore, La Bohème, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Don Pasquale, La Cambiale di Matrimonio, Werther, Luisa Fernanda, Don Giovanni, La Scala di Seta, Il Signor Bruschino , Häensel und Gretel, La occassione fa il Iadro, Rigoletto, El amor brujo, Le Nozze di Figaro, The telephone, Gianni Schicchi, il Barbiere de Siviglia, Così fan tutte and Carmen. He has worked with Arturo Rodríguez, Alfredo Ibarra, Héctor Sosa, Mónica Belinda Garza, Misha Vaylon, Ivet Pérez, Rafael Blázquez, Yvonne Garza, Oscar Martínez, Linus Lerner, Oswaldo Martín del Campo, Yonatan Cna'an, Guido Maria Guida, Jorge Armando Casanova, Horacio Franco, Armando Piña, Julio Saldaña, Luis Ledesma, Ludek Golat, Libuse Santorisova, José Arean, Oziel Garza, Rocío Tamez, Juan del Bosco, Jorge Parodi, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, James Bagwell, Felipe Tristán, Dolora Zajick , Ragnar Conde, David Robinson, Guenko Guechev, Marija Jelič, Vladimir Allen, Deyan Proshev and Stefanos Koroneos. He is pianist coach at the Ópera Estudio del Noroeste OPEN, is member of the cultural department of the Autonomous University of the West (UAdeO) and is faculty of the International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia, Monterrey Opera Academy and the International Festival of Sacred Music of Monterrey FIMVS.


Teri Bickham

Teri Bickham

Soprano/Vocal Coach Theresa “Teri” Bickham has been praised for her “expressive legato line” and “fine piano nuances.” She made her European debut singing scenes from La Traviata under the direction of Maestro Eduardo Müller. Dr. Bickham has performed with opera companies throughout the United States including Houston Grand Opera, Opera New Jersey, Opera in the Heights, Loudoun Lyric Opera, and Opera Camerata of Washington. She has performed a diverse repertory of operatic roles that include a specialization in Mozart heroines (Donna Anna, La Contessa, Fiordiligi), Italian opera (Adina, Violetta, Musetta), German operetta (Rosalinde), and contemporary American opera (A Bird in Your Ear, The Beautiful Bridegroom.)

Dr. Bickham is a frequent guest artist in the United States and Europe. Recent concert appearances include works by Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Handel, Brahms, Rossini, Orff, Vaughn Williams and numerous orchestral pops performances. In competition, Dr. Bickham was an international semi-finalist in the Concorso Lirico Internazionale per Cantanti lirici Rosa Ponselle in Caiazzo, Italy. She has also been the winner of national and regional competitions including: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions-Mid-Atlantic Regional Finalist, Palm Beach Opera Semi-Finalist, Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Finalist, MD/DC National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston.

An avid recitalist, Dr. Bickham has performed recital tours in Maryland, Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Mississippi, Washington, and Washington DC. Her passion for art song has led to diverse programs specializing in music by underrepresented composers and poets, repertoire written for specific voices, and the exploration of the performer’s role in the creation of music. These programs led to the release of her first album, The Human Heart, by Albany Records in 2021.

Dr. Bickham’s performance experience has culminated in her passion for training young professionals. Her students have been recognized for their polished performances and exemplary teaching. Former students have attended prestigious schools that include The Juilliard School, Indiana University, the University of Maryland, the University of Tennessee, the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, Bard College Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, Boston Conservatory, and Roosevelt University. In addition, they have won prizes with the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Annapolis Opera, the National Society of Arts and Letters, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the Classical Singer competitions. Many students are performing professionally with such companies as The Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Marilyn Horne: The Song Continues Masterclass Series at Carnegie Hall, Annapolis Opera, Knoxville Opera, New York Lyric Opera, Disney Cruise Lines, and Creativiva Entertainment.

Dr. Bickham holds degrees from the University of Maryland College Park (DMA), the University of Houston (MM), and Towson University (BM) and received additional training as a young artist at Opera New Jersey and AIMS in Graz. She had the privilege to teach at Towson University and University of North Carolina Greensboro before joining the faculty of The University of Maryland College Park School of Music in 2023.


David Robinson

David Robinson

Mexican baritone David Robinson began his career at the age of 19 as a soloist in Mexico with the National Opera Company, which is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts. He remained five seasons with the company. Twice finalist and prize winner of the National voice competition, Carlo Morelli. After he graduated from the university with a business degree with a focus on arts administration, he was granted a Fulbright scholarship, which allowed him to continue his studies of vocal performance in New York and in the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Further scholarships took him three times to Tel Aviv to participate with the Israel Vocal Arts Institute Summer Program. He also was part of the Studio Artists at Sarasota Opera. A Belvedere Competition Finalist and an Alta Classica voice competition (New York) first place winner.

In Vienna he sang as a soloist in Theater an der Wien (Luisa Fernanda) with Plácido Domingo and in the Wiener Konzerthaus; he also performed roles in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide with Kristjan Jävi as the conductor and sang with the Arnold Schönberg Chor. He has sung as a soloist in the American, European and Asian continents with companies such as the New National Opera of Tokyo, Los Angeles Opera, Sarasota Opera, Lyric Opera of San Diego, Opera Society of Hong Kong, Opera North, Connecticut Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Bremen Music Festival, Théâtre du Châtelet, Wiener Konzerthaus, London Symphony, Theater an der Wien and the Munich Philharmonic among others; and with Washington National Opera and Opera Orchestra of New York in the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center respectively. His repertoire includes more than 60 lead and comprimario roles.

Being a versatile performer David Robinson made his debut in musical theatre in Man of La Mancha of which the San Diego Tribune said: "The most impressive and subtle voice belongs to newcomer David Robinson...had clarity and emotional power.”

In operetta he sang roles in Lehar's The Merry Widow, Strauss'; Die Fledermaus and in Romberg’s The Desert Song of which the Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned: "The show only provides one solo for this role, but David Robinson's remarkable, soaring voice makes you wish for more."

David also made his debut in the movie “The Bohemians” as the Landlord, Al P. Benoit; an adaptation of Puccini’s La Bohème, which can be viewed at CUETV.ONLINE. (Director: José Luis Cortés). He was invited to tour China with the Vienna Festival Orchestra. He performs regularly as a singer and actor in opera, as well as a soloist in oratorio, operetta, musicals and zarzuela. He could be heard in concerts in the Philippines, Spain, Austria and New York and in Yachats Music Festival in Oregon. In Mexico he has been invited to perform the title role of the opera Nabucco, Amonasro in Aïda and Tonio in I Pagliacci; other performances include Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) and the title role in Rigoletto, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, as well as Thor in Das Rheingold. He performed a concert at Teatro de la Ciudad in Mexico City among others. He performs regularly with “The Opera Locos”, created by the Spanish company “Yllana”; which won several awards at the Metropolitan Theater and Musical Awards of Mexico (2019) as one of the Top 5 Music shows in Mexico.

David Robinson holds a Master in Cultural Management with the University of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid and has collaborated in Mexico, United States and Austria with many arts organizations in the production and organization of artistic and Community Arts events with a social impact. He is interested in developing cultural exchange and international understanding between cultures through the arts. He was invited as a professor at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City where he was the director of the Young Artists Program, and has taught languages, diction, and voice. He was part of the faculty of ISOFOM 2022.


Juan Antonio Santoyo

Juan Antonio Santoyo

Mexican Pianist, composer, vocal coach and Orchestra conductor. Born in 1970, he graduated from the National School of Music of the National University of México; studied also under American pianist Elizabeth Howard and the renowned German teacher Edith Picht-Axenfeld (hence his proficiency in both German and English).

His qualities as a performer lent him part in every domain of mexican artistic life, exploring, since his professional debut at age 14, a vast repertoire for solo piano; of Lied and vocal music in all its forms as well as the works for piano and orchestra.

He toured extensively and successfully in all México, Europe, Cuba and the USA, and his 7 album recordings for the major label Urtext Digital Classics cover an extended style range, going from the Mexican baroque to the Bolero-Jazz.

His life in the chamber music world has been both intense and prolific; having performed with legends such as Luciano Pavarotti and the Vienna Boys Choir, but also with many virtuosi of younger generations: Irasema Terrazas, Juan del Bosco, Javier Bonet Giuliano Sommerhalder and fellow Oaxaca-born Faustino Díaz. With an average of 60 yearly public appearances, he is one of the most active artist of his generation.


Violetta Zabbi

Violetta Zabbi

A native of Odessa, Ukraine, Violetta Zabbi  is an accomplished pianist, conductor and coach. She received her BM and MM in "Piano Performance" and PhD in “ Musicology” from Odessa State Academy of Music.

Dr. Zabbi has been involved in over 100 different opera projects while living in New York for the past 27 years. She is currently on the faculties of Adelphi University (Director of Opera Workshop), Hofstra University, CUNY Brooklyn College ( Music Director Opera Workshop) and Queens College, NY. Dr. Zabbi is currently music director and conductor with Vocal Productions NYC, Slope Opera (Brooklyn, NY), New York Opera Theater, and Delaware Valley Opera. She appears as a pianist and coach with Long Island Lyric Opera, Regina Opera, Hofstra University, New Camerata Opera, Opera Manhattan Repertoire and the American Opera Project. Dr. Zabbi frequently appears in recitals both as a soloist and in collaboration where her playing has been described as “the image of joy and passion.”

For the past 20 seasons she has performed with DCINY International at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Additionally, Dr. Zabbi serves as festival faculty at the following intensive programs: UArtist Music (Kiev, Ukraine), International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia (Morelia, Mexico), Oyster Bay Music Festival (NY), and the Queens College Summer Vocal Institute (NYC).

In addition to her career as vocal coach, Dr. Zabbi served as a Piano Professor and later Vice President of Long Island Conservatory from 1998 to 2011 where she had great success teaching Piano Performance in all levels. Her students were passing all NYSSMA levels, participating and winning local and international  competitions.

In 2022, Dr. Zabbi served as Judge at the CT MTNA competition.