Born and nurtured in the cosmopolitan city of Lima, Peru, internationally recognized bass-baritone Eduardo Castro performs with professional opera companies including the Washington National Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Baltimore Opera and Virginia Opera. He is also seen in leading roles with Washington, DC opera companies including Opera Camerata, Opera NOVA, Bel Cantanti Opera and Teatro Lirico. He has brought his stellar interpretations to the roles of Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte and Masetto in Don Giovanni, Colline and Shaunard in Puccini's La Boheme, Balthazar in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore and Germont in Verdi's La Traviata. He recently performed Figaro at the Teatro Municipal in Lima, Peru.
He has studied in Rome, Italy and in New York City, and received his degree in musical studies and vocal performance on full scholarship under the mentorship of Metropolitan Opera baritone Kim Josephson at University of Oklahoma. He is in demand as a vocal teacher in Washington, DC and is an active member of National Association of Teachers of Singing.
In roles that include Violetta, Musetta, Rosina, Vitellia, Donna Elvira, Countess Almaviva, Tatiana, Santuzza, Nedda and Carmen, and in concert works such as Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Strauss’s Four Last Songs, Berlioz's Les Nuits d’ Eté, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, soprano Cristina Nassif is known for her versatility as a singer and actress. The Washington Post praised her "powerful, expressive voice and electric stage presence”. Last year she was Bizet's Carmen with Opera Camerata of Washington at the residence of the Ambassador of Spain. Internationally she has performed Carmen in London's Royal Albert Hall and O2 Arena as well as in South Africa's South African State Theater in Pretoria and Civic Theater in Johannesburg. She has also performed both in recital and in Verdi’s Requiem in Beirut's Al Bustan International Festival and in concert in China's Shanghai and Shenzhen Concert Halls.
Ms. Nassif has performed in leading roles with the London Royal Philharmonic, Opera Africa, Washington National Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera North, Central City Opera, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Opera Tampa, Shreveport Opera, Piedmont Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Allentown Symphony as well as in concert with the Shanghai Opera Orchestra and Shenzhen Symphony, Lebanese National Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, McLean Symphony, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and Philadelphia's Lyric Fest. She has also performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall, the George Washington Masonic Memorial, the Kennedy Center's Opera House, Concert Hall and Terrace Theater, and D.C.'s Lisner Auditorium, among other venues.
Of Spanish and Lebanese descent and the daughter of two musicians, Ms. Nassif began her vocal training with her mother, mezzo-soprano Cristina Herrera de Nassif, later earning her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Maryland College Park and Artist Diploma from The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
Known for his expressive voice of “liquid gold and the stage presence of a lion” (DC Theatre Scene,) Peruvian native Jose Sacín is considered one of the leading South America baritones of our time. He has performed and collaborated with the leading figures of the opera and music world today including a nationally televised performance for Pope Benedict XVI alongside Placido Domingo at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC and with Gregory Buchalter of the Metropolitan Opera. He performed Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro at Lima, Peru's Teatro Municipal in 2015 and has portrayed the roles of Tonio and Silvio in I Pagliacci, the title roles of Rigoletto and Don Giovanni, and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Valentin in Faust, Danilo in The Merry Widow and Belcore in L'elisir d'amore.
He has performed with the Washington National Opera, Opera de Lima, Opera Delaware, IVAI Festival in Tel Aviv, Baltimore Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington, Caramoor Opera Festival, Opera North, Bechstein Concert Series, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Wagner Society of Washington DC and Maryland Opera Society among others. Sacín has extensive appearances in Spanish Zarzuela. His recording of Ariel Ramirez's Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra with the Choral Arts Society of Washington DC for Naxos was awarded a WAMMY for best classical recording of 2007. He has appeared as a recitalist in Russia, Japan, Costa Rica, Honduras, Venezuela, Bolivia, his native Peru and extensively throughout the United States.
Soprano Nancy Scimone knew from the age of six that singing would be her life-long passion. With a commitment to bringing joy and beauty through music, she is heard as vocal soloist in song concerts, oratorio and opera. Her orchestral appearances include the soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the John F. Kennedy Center, Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Eté, Bach’s “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” the Queen of Sheba in Handel’s Solomon, the Mozart and Fauré Requiem Masses, Kurt Weill's "The Seven Deadly Sins," and Villa Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras." She was guest artist for two seasons with the Yonkers, New York Philharmonic and for the Bar Harbor Maine Music Festival performing arias from Showboat, Candide and La Traviata. Her opera performances include the comic role of Olga Kromoff in The Merry Widow with The Washington Opera, Anaide in Il Capello di Paglia de Firenze, and Anna Gomez in Menotti's The Counsul. Concert appearances include the Embassy of China, Sumner Museum, the Arts Club of Washington, the Anderson House, and an all-Bernstein solo concert at Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC; in New York City at St. Peter's Concert Series in French chanson concerts with Pierre Vallet (Paris and Metropolitan Operas) and at historic Our Saviour Catholic Church in Manhattan. She has performed world, American and Washington area premieres of contemporary songs by Russell Woollen, Steve Danyew and Elsbietta Sikora.
Well versed as a vocalist of American 1940s swing music, she has performed solo concerts at the US Botanic Gardens and Smithsonian National Zoo events with her Red Bird Ensemble. She actively tours with her original inspirational music, having performed solo presentations at over 125 churches and cathedrals throughout North America including New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and Toronto. Her recordings of inspirational music reach audiences worldwide.
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Edewaard Weidle is known for her “tremendously mobile countenance” on stage. The Boston Music Intelligencer praises her voice as a “lovely, seemingly passaggio-less mezzo.” Her performed roles include Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, Valetto in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Third Lady in The Magic Flute with the New England Conservatory. Ms. Weidle performed the roles of La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi and Fidalma in Il Matrimonio Segreto with the Loudoun Lyric Opera of Virginia, as well as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy. She is excited to perform Cherubino in her hometown of Washington DC.
Ms. Weidle has enjoyed being the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah on several occasions in Washington DC and in Boston. She was also a part of the chorus in Boston’s highly acclaimed new opera company, Odyssey Opera.
She recently graduated from New England Conservatory’s Graduate School where she trained with director Stephen Lord and teachers Luretta Bybee and MaryAnn McCormick, with whom she currently studies. She received her Bachelors of Music from George Mason University. Ms. Weidle lives in Fairfax, VA with her husband and one year old daughter. She enjoys teaching voice and piano, as well as spending time outside with her family.
ZACHARY BURGESS, BARTOLO
American bass-baritone Zachary Burgess will be making his second appearance at the Embassy of Austria this season portraying Dr. Bartolo. Most recently Mr. Burgess made his third appearance with D.C. Public Opera portraying the role of Guglielmo from Mozart's Così fan tutte. He has also covered the role of Prospero in the world premier of The Tempest with The Shakespeare Concerts in Boston, after having just appeared with the Alexandria Choral Society portraying both Raphael and Adam in Haydn's The Creation. In the past Zachary has been an Emerging Artist with the Green Mountain Opera Festival where he covered the role of Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Previous engagements include the 2014 inaugural season debut of D.C. Public Opera, where he portrayed Masetto in Don Giovanni. He was featured in recital at the Embassy of Austria featuring the works of Franz Schubert. Zachary is an alumnus of the CoOPERAtive Program, SongFest, as well as the Crescendo Summer Institute where his portrayal of Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni was recorded and broadcast on regional Hungarian TV.
Previous roles include the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, The Boston Conservatory; Crébillon, La Rondine, The Boston Conservatory; Sarastro, Die Zauberflöte, Opera del West; Keçal, The Bartered Bride, Eastman Opera Theatre; Collatinus, The Rape of Lucretia, Eastman Opera Theatre; Zoroastro, Orlando, Eastman Opera Theatre; Frank Maurrant, Street Scene, Eastman Opera Theatre. Equally at home with oratorio and concert repertoire, Zachary has performed as soloist in J.S. Bach's Magnificat in D-major with the Boston Conservatory Chorale; Messiah, Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus; bass soloist, Szenen aus Goethes Faust; bass soloist in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; Jesus, St. Matthew Passion. Zachary holds his B.M. from the Boston Conservatory and his M.M. from the Eastman School of Music.
Soprano Mary Ellen Brennan has appeared recently with The Singers' Theater of Washington, Bel Cantanti Opera, Repertory Opera Theatre of Washington, The American Center for Puccini Studies, The Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. She is a member of the DC Metro Opera on Tap. She was a member of the group '7 Sopranos.' Mary Ellen has a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Catholic University of American and a Masters of Business Administration from UMUC. She is the Chief Human Resource Officer for the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
DongKeon (DK) Kim was born in Busan and raised in Seoul, South Korea. He received his Bachelor degree in Music and Architecture. DK Began his adventure of experiencing architecture and music after completion of his undergraduate studies with singing 'voce misteriosa' from Moses of Egitto with Gloria Opera Company in Seoul. Since moving to the United States, DK worked for well-known architectural firms in the DC area. He completed his Master Degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech. He has devoted his passion to music as a baritone soloist in opera and oratorio including Rigoletto, Escamillo in Carmen, Walpurgisnacht, Judas Maccabaeus, The Creation, Faure Requiem, Elija, Messiah and Brahms German Requiem with Robert Shafer and Faure Requiem with Reilly Lewis, and "Winterreise" song cycle at the Lyceum concert series. DK is an ensemble member with The Washington National Opera.
Known for her cinematic and visceral style and tallying over 200 productions, Muriel Von Villas has staged opera, operetta and musical theatre for companies throughout the United States including Falstaff, Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Tosca for Opera International, La bohème and Carmen for Natchez Opera, Company for the Seagle Colony, La Cenerentola for the Domingo Cafrtiz Young Artists Renwick Gallery performance, L'elisir d'amore with Bohème Opera, L'Italiani in Algieri for Berkshire Opera and several performances for the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. She also staged Rigoletto for Sri Lanka Opera and Gianni Schicchi for the Taiwan Conservatory, where she served as a visiting professor. Ms. Von Villas is a fervent advocate for the development of new operas and has worked with contemporary composers Michael Ching, Henry Mollicone, Scott Wheeler and Erica Muhl, and staged their operas throughout the country.
With a passion for the development of young talent, Ms. Von Villas has been a stage director with The Washington National Opera's Domingo Cafritz Young Artists Program, The Minnesota Opera Institute, the Goldovsky Institute, Prelude to Performance, and on the faculty of George Mason University and Georgetown University. She served for 28 years as the director of The George Washington University's Vocal Theatre Workshop. She has presented lectures at the Smithsonian Insitute on Opera, Puccini, and The Voice.
Pianist Joseph Walsh is a conductor admired for his ability to combine dramatic flair and theatrical excitement with sensitivity, detail and balance and a keen sense of dramatic pacing. He has served as General and Artistic Director of Lyric Opera Virginia with two decades of experience in presenting and conducting opera in Virginia, across the country and internationally. He was involved in the musical preparation of more than sixty-five Virginia Opera productions serving as Associate Conductor from 2008 to 2011. He has conductdc many orchestras in operatic performances including the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Cluj-Napoca Philharmonic Orchestra of Romania, the Collegium Philarmonicum of Naples and the George Mason Symphony Orchestra. While on the podium at Virginia Opera, he conducted Madame Butterfly, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Daughter of the Regiment, Susannah, The Elixir of Love and the Pirates of Penzance. Mr. Walsh is currently Music Director for Mason Opera at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He has served on the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Panel and has judged the Middle Eastern District of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions in Washington, DC. He has served on the coaching faculties of the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University in Philadelphia and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.
Robin’s portrayal of Agatha Christie in her two-act, two hour musical play earned high praise from the late Washington Post music critic, Joseph McLellan: “There is no show in town remotely like (it), a rich array of drama, comedy, mystery and music…it communicates its elegant story with power and elegance…(a) theatrical and musical tour de force.”
These days Robin uses her gift for compelling storytelling to create original narrations. She has a unique talent for interpreting foreign-language opera performances for opera companies, concert pianists and orchestras, including Opera Camerata (La Boheme, Barber of Seville, Cosi Fan Tutte, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca), The McLean Youth Orchestra (The Marriage of Figaro) and for OperaNOVA, “An Afternoon of Opera” Fundraiser at Washington Golf Country Club. Don’t throw your programs away, but Robin likes to think of herself as a “living, breathing subtitle!”