Cynthia Donnell [Coordinator of Voice] , mezzo-soprano, earned B.M.E. and M.M. performance degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her teachers have been Richard Cox, Charles Lynam, Emma Small and Genevieve McGiffert. Her extensive experience as a soloist in recital, opera, choral, oratorio and orchestral song repertoire includes performances with the North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Civic Orchestra, Richmond Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, Austin Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Virginia Opera, Richmond Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Civic Opera, Duluth Symphony, Minneapolis Bach Society, North Carolina Chamber Singers (four-month tour of Western Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles), Norman Luboff Choir (two tours of the U.S. and Canada as alto soloist and chorister) and the Eastern Music Festival. She has performed in benefit concerts for L’Ecole Ste. Trinité, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As winner of the Seventh International Sterling Staff Competition she performed more than 25 solo recitals throughout the U.S. READ MORE, AND CONTACT HERE.
Tenor Kenneth Wood has appeared in leading or supporting roles with such companies as Western Opera Theater (San Francisco), Texas Opera Theater (Houston), Lyric Opera of Dallas, Fort Worth Opera and Austin Lyric Opera. Concert engagements include solo performances with Austin Choral Artists, Austin Chamber Music Festival, Fort Worth Ballet, Austin Symphony, Sacramento Symphony and the Festival at Round Top. In competition, he was named a “Certified Classical Singer” for 2006-07 by Classical Singer magazine, was a 2003 finalist in the International Opera Singers Competition in New York and was a past finalist in the International Opera Competition of Wisconsin. He was twice a district finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and placed first or second on four occasions in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Auditions. He was the vocal division winner of the Hemphill-Wells Sorantin Competition and was an invited participant in the Marian Anderson International Vocal Arts Competition in 1999. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE
Jay BeVille holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Music in vocal performance from Boston University. He studied under L. Wayne Batty, Wilma Thompson, and John Bullock as well as coaching with Genevieve McGiffert. Mr. BeVille has been a soloist in the Richmond area for many years. He appeared as a soloist with the Richmond Symphony under the baton of George Manahan and has performed with other well-known conductors, such as Thomas Dunn and Dale Warland. His opera and oratorio credits include La Traviata, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Tartuffe, The Consul, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Elijah, Judas Maccabaeus, The Messiah and many others. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
Declared as “having a beautiful bass-baritone voice” by the New York Times, Matthew Burns is a dynamic performer known for his unique portrayals of opera’s most acclaimed bass-baritone roles spanning the repertoire from dramatic roles to buffo roles, and everything in between. In 2016-17, Mr. Burns will perform the role of Tartaglia in Busoni’s Turandot at Bard SummerScape and will reprise his role of Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with a return to Virginia Opera. Then, in a change of costume, he will perform the role of Don Basilio in Florentine Opera’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. Matthew has also performed two seasons at Bard SummerScape Festival portraying several roles in Shostakovich’s The Nose; the Innkeeper and Policeman in Schreker’s Die Ferne Klang; Vaarlam in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov; as well as roles in Offenbach’s Ba-ta-clan and L’île de Tulipatan. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
An alumna of the Chicago Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, Michelle Harman Gulick made her European debut performing “Symphony No.14” by Shostakovich with the Orchestra Regionale Toscana in Florence, Italy. She made her Carnegie hall debut with the Chicago Symphony, under the baton of Sir Georg Solti, as Woglinde in “Das Rheingold.” Gulick first appeared with the Chicago Lyric Opera as Giannetta in “L’Elisir d’Amore” with Luciano Pavarotti. Since that time she has appeared in numerous roles with the Chicago Lyric Opera, as well as, the Seattle Opera, Columbus Opera, Ravinnia and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. Gulick was a national semi-finalist in the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Competition and was the top-prize winner in the International Verdi Competition in Bussetto, Italy. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
James Smith-Parham has a varied career singing opera, oratorio and musical theater. “Captivating performance … fervor of a priest … he soared … nice balance of forceful vigor and poignantly muted tone. When he sang at full throttle, the power and beauty of his vocal instrument were mesmerizing … diction is superb, allowing the listener to clearly hear every nuance of sound and meaning,” said the Richmond Times-Dispatch. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
ENSEMBLES - OPERA AND CHORUS
Melanie Kohn Day serves as director of VCU Opera, instructor for History of the Art Song, instructor for voice masterclasses and as a private applied instructor in vocal coaching. Day received two Master of Music degrees from Boston University, one in piano and one in vocal coaching and accompanying. She also holds a diploma from the Franz-Schubert Institute in Austria, where she was the recipient of a full scholarship. While serving as a member of the faculty of Boston University’s opera and voice departments from 1980-82, she served as coach and chorus master for the Boston Concert Opera Company and coach for the Tanglewood Music Festival. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
Erin Freeman serves as Director of Choral Activities, a joint position co-sponsored by the Richmond Symphony, where she is Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus. This appointment comes on the heels of a successful seven years as the Richmond Symphony’s Associate Conductor, and includes overseeing all of the choral ensembles at VCU as well as vocal chamber music, and preparing the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus for all of its performances. Erin Freeman is also the Artistic Director of Wintergreen Performing Arts, where she leads artistic endeavors of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and the associated Wintergreen Summer Music Academy. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
Rebecca Tyree currently serves as Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2007 she founded the VCU Women’s Choir, a select ensemble performing music of all styles with a focus on new works by living composers. Ms. Tyree is a frequent guest conductor for honor choirs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and regularly serves as adjudicator and clinician for music festivals and state events. She was the Artistic Director and Conductor of The Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg from 1993-2003, where she commissioned and premiered new choral works. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.
Kenneth Wood, Co-Director/Stage Director of VCU Opera - also listed under private voice instructors,.
ADDITIONAL STAFF AND FACULTY
Jaime Eaglin Moore, M.D. is an otolaryngologist and laryngologist. Dr. Moore is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. Dr. Moore received her Doctor of Medicine degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School, and she completed a residency in Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She was a fellow in laryngology and care of the professional voice at the American Institute for Voice and Ear Research. She has authored numerous publications and is an editor for the Journal of Voice. Dr. She is an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. READ MORE AND CONTACT HERE.