Originally from Texas, award winning soprano and voice teacher Brigitte Bellini has recently returned to the San Marcos area after having lived and performed in New York City and Boston for 20 years. With over 16 years of teaching experience, she was one of the founding members of the voice faculty at The Actors Studio Drama School (as featured on BRAVO’S Inside the Actor’s Studio). She has also served on the faculties of New York University, New York’s famed High School for Performing Arts and The Horace Mann School, as well as maintaining a private studio of professional singers and actors.
Performance credits include appearances with The Colorado Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood Music Festival, Sarasota Opera, Di Capo Opera Theater in New York City and Central City Opera, where she is featured on the their anniversary recording of THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE. San Marcos audiences have seen her as The Mother in AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS with The San Marcos Performing Arts Association and as the soprano guest artist in A SOUSA SPECTACULAR with the Texas State Wind Ensemble. A member of NATS and TMEA, she holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.
Hailed by Opera News for her “potent presence” as Mrs. Clemm in Argento’s Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe, lyric mezzo-soprano Soon Cho has gained recognition as a versatile performer. As a recitalist, chamber musician, oratorio and concert soloist, and equally at home on the opera stage, Ms. Cho began her professional singing career under the batons of world-renowned conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Kristjan Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Erich Kunzel, Julius Rudel, Mischa Santora, and David Zinman. Deeply committed to education as an artist teacher, Ms. Cho joined the voice faculty at Texas State University in 2014, having taught previously for seven years at Baylor University. She is also on the faculty at Cornish-American Song Institute, a three-week intensive study of Art Song in Oxford and Falmouth in England.
Opera credits include Costanza in Haydn’s L’isola disabitata with New York Philomusica, Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Seongnam Arts Center in Korea, Mao’s 2nd Secretary in Nixon in China with Cincinnati Opera, a “delightfully melodramatic” Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with the CCO and at the Astoria Music Festival, Adalgisa in Norma with Opera in the Heights, Mercedes in Carmen with Dayton Opera, Zita in Gianni Schicchi at the Opera Festival of Lucca with a repeat performance at the 50th Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago in Italy, Mother Goose in the National Public Radio broadcasted performance of The Rake’s Progress with the Aspen Music Festival, La Pucelle in Belladonna (world premiere) with the Aspen Opera Theater Center, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel at College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati (CCM) and Houston Grand Opera’s Opera-to-Go, L’Enfant in L’enfant et les sortileges, Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Vera Boronel in The Consul. Ms. Cho has sung with many young artist programs, including Cincinnati Opera Young Artist Program, Dayton Opera Artist-in-Residence, Seattle Opera Educational Outreach Program, Houston Grand Opera's Opera-to-Go, and the Aspen Opera Theater Center.
On the concert stage as a mezzo-soprano soloist, Ms. Cho has performed Verdi’s Requiem with the Honolulu Symphony Chorus, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit with the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cincinnati Symphony and May Festival Chorus, A Salute to Opera with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra at the Riverbend Music Center; Berlioz’s Les Nuit D’Eté with Opera Philharmonic of Bourgas in Bulgaria, Handel’s Messiah with Pilgrim’s Chorus and Orchestra in Canada, Bach’s St. John Passion with Vocal Arts Ensemble and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, St. Matthew Passion, Magnificat; Falla’s Three Cornered Hat and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with CCM Philharmonia Orchestra and Combined Choruses, Mozart’s Requiem at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Rossini’s Pettite Messe Solennel, Saint Saëns’s Messe, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
Chamber music highlights include the Midwest premiere of Jake Heggie’s Times of Day for mezzo-soprano, violin, cello and piano at the Grandin Vocal Chamber Music Festival and Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and four-hand piano at the Art Song Symposium. An advocate of new music, Ms. Cho recorded composer Michael Fiday’s Protest Song on Innova Records and performed Scott McAllister’s Screaming Azaleas with Emanon Ensemble at the Ghent New Music Festival in Belgium. As a recitalist, Ms. Cho has performed on the Les Arts George V Recital Series in Paris, Ghent Conservatory of Music and Ostend Conservatory of Music in Belgium and all around the U.S.
Recording credits include Michael Fiday: Same Rivers Different with Innova Recordings label, Menotti Arias for Mezzo-soprano with Hal Leonard Publishing, Haydn’s L’isolda disabitata with NY Philomusica Records, and Meehan/Perkins Duo: Restless, Endless, Tactless with New World Records. Published journal article credit includes “A 2011 NATS Intern’s Perspective” on nats.org.
Ms. Cho’s students have been accepted for graduate studies in vocal performance at University of Michigan, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Loyola University. They have gained acceptance into and attended opera training programs at Opera Training Institute of Chicago, Opera Works Advanced Artist Program, Cincinnati-Conservatory of Music Opera Studio, Houston Grand Opera’s Opera-to-Go, CoOPERAtive Young Artist Program, and numerous international summer opera programs. Her students consistently place in the finals at the Texoma Region NATS Student Auditions.
Ms. Cho received both her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice and Artist Diploma in Opera from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) working with Barbara Honn. Doctoral cognate fields were in Vocal Pedagogy and Opera Stage Directing. Ms. Cho received M.M. from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University working with Dr. Joyce Farwell, and B.A./B.M. from University of Washington working with Carmen Pelton. Further study from W. Stephen Smith at the Aspen Music Festival, Dr. Christopher Arneson as part of the 2011 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Intern Program, and Songfest Mentor Program in 2013 at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.
Ms. Cho is an active clinician and adjudicator. She has presented master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, Florida State University, Houston Grand Opera High School Studio, Ghent Music Conservatory in Belgium, Sam Houston State University, and Western Illinois University.
The adjectives, which constantly appear in reviews of Cary Michaels' performances, are: "effortless", "splendid", "passionate", "rich", and "resonant". These qualities are prerequisites of the music of the Bel Canto style. Works by composers from this period - Mozart, Händel, Rossini, Donizetti - are particularly suited to this lyric tenor. In the works of these composers, along with those of Haydn, Bach, Schubert, and Massenet, where style and beauty of voice are primary requirements, Cary Michaels' versatility is demonstrated by his success in coping with the stringent demands of this music.
Cary Michaels has performed nearly 40 leading operatic roles, ranging from "Ferrando", "Werther", "Tamino", "Count Almaviva", and "Elvino", to more unusual roles such as "The Devil" in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Night Before Christmas and "Chanticleer" in the opera of the same name by Seymour Barab.
Some of the companies Mr. Michaels has worked with are Opera Omaha, Opera Ebony, The Virginia Opera Association, Opera Delaware, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Opera Theater, Northern Virginia Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, the Chautauqua Opera Company, and The Corfu International Music Festival (Corfu, Greece).
An active concert artist, Mr. Michaels has performed nearly 50 oratorios that include works from the Baroque to the Contemporary, in major cities in the U.S. and Europe, with organizations such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Austin Choral Union, the Austin Choral Artists, the Victoria Bach Festival, the New Texas Festival, the Wisconsin Choral Union, the North Danish Symphony Orchestra (Aalbørg, Denmark), the Kammerorchester (Frankfurt, Germany), the Pennsylvania Pro Musica, the Musica Sacra (Cincinnati, Ohio), and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale.
Mr. Michaels received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Indiana University School of Music, a Master of Music Degree from the University of Nebraska School of Music, and an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, all in Vocal Performance.
Mr. Michaels is an educator, having taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is now a tenured Associate Professor of Vocal Music at Texas State, where he teaches private voice and vocal diction. He is one of the Co-Directors of the music ministry at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Samuel Mungo
Samuel Mungo is the Director of Opera Studies and Coordinator of the Voice Area at Texas State University. He has been involved in opera as a director, singer and teacher for more than 20 years, and comes to Texas State with the dedication to foster the growth of a true Music Theatre- combining the great music of beautifully sung opera together with complete dedication to character and truthfully created relationship.
In recent years at Texas State Dr. Mungo has directed productions of Die Fledermaus, The Magic Flute, The Turn of the Screw and Candide. Professionally directing credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Florida Grand Opera, Pirates of Penzance for Colorado Light Opera, Trouble in Tahiti for the Boulder Opera Project, Rigoletto and Il Trovatore for San Antonio Opera. He is honored to direct the World Premiere of Bruce Trinkley’s St. Thomas the Carpenter for the National Opera Association in 2011.
As a singer, he has performed with opera companies and orchestras throughout North America and around the world. Performing credits include Don Giovanni for Minnesota Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, Vancouver Opera as Falke in Die Fledermaus, Opera Theater of St. Louis as Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, and Danilo in Merry Widow for Sacramento Opera, Opera Grand Rapids and Knoxville Opera. Making his Carnegie Hall debut with Milos Bok’s Missa Solemnis, he has sung with the St. Louis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Utah Symphony and Orquestra Filarmonica di Lima, among others. He will reprise one of his favorite roles when he sings Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore for San Antonio Opera in 2011.
He received his Doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his Masters in Vocal Performance with honors from the New England Conservatory. He also holds an Artist’s Diploma from The Boston Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Illinois State University.
In addition to Texas State and his private studio, Dr. Mungo has been on the faculty of The Actor’s Studio Drama School, New York University, University of Colorado at Boulder and the New School University.
Soprano Cheryl Parrish, a member of the voice faculty of Texas State University in San Marcos since 2002, makes her Houston Grand Opera debut in the 2011 production of Dead Man Walking as Kitty Hart. She has sung performances on opera stages around the world. Her career began at San Francisco Opera, where she appeared in such roles as Sophie in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Blondchen in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio. She made her European debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Zurich Opera and performer Sophie with the Cologne Opera, in Florence, Italy at the Maggio Musicale, the Santa Fe Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and the Portland Opera. She has appeared in concert with such ensembles as the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. She also appeared on Live From Lincoln Center's Pavarotti Plus! Ms. Parrish's recent credits include Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Cunegonde in Bernstein's Candide with Austin Lyric Opera, and Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Austin Lyric Opera; and the title role of Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe at New Orleans Opera and Austin Lyric Opera. She has also sung Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto at Vancouver Opera, and Denver Opera; Norina in Don Pasquale with the San Diego Opera and Tulsa Opera.
Ron Ulen, Coordinator
The American baritone Ron Ulen has recently joined the Voice faculty at Texas State University San Marcos.
Mr.Ulen made his professional debut as Guglielmo in Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte" with the National Opera Company. This led to appearances throughout United States, for example as Malatesta in "Don Pasquale", Figaro in "Il Barbiere di Siviglia", Count Eberbach in "Der Wildschütz", Mr. Ford in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and Marcello in "La Boheme".
Mr. Ulen made his European debut in "Il Trovatore" at the renowned Opera House in Zürich, Switzerland. As a resident leading artist in Coburg, Germany, he sang the title roles in Verdi´s "Falstaff", Tschaikowky´s "Eugen Onegin", Bartok´s "Bluebeards Castle", Zar Peter I. in Lortzing´s "Zar und Zimmermann" as well as Sharpless in Puccini´s "Madame Butterfly" and Tarquinius in Britten´s "The Rape of Lucretia".
He was also engaged as the resident leading baritone at the Staatstheater in Schwerin, the Staatstheater in Mainz and the Opera House of Augsburg. His roles included Germont in Verdi´s "La Traviata", Belcore in "L´Elisir d´Amore", Conte Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro", Valentin in "Faust" und Conte di Luna in "Il Trovatore", Renato in "Un Ballo in Maschera", the Four Villains in "The Tales of Hoffmann" as well as Miller in "Luisa Miller".
An active and versatile performer who feels equally at home on the opera, concert, or recital stage, Mr. Ulen has performed over 90 roles in nearly 2000 performances. His career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world including those of Vienna, Rome, London, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, New York, Munich, Paris, Chicago, and Berlin.
He has enjoyed great success as Nabucco in Verdi’s opera of the same name in numerous venues. Additional productions have included Ariadne auf Naxos, La Finta Giardinieri, Aida, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tannhäuser, Der Fliegende Holländer and La Forza del Destino.
In addition to his teaching, Mr. Ulen continues to maintain an active performing schedule. He has conducted master classes at various Universities and Conservatories in Europe and the United States as well as being in demand as an adjudicator and jury member of various voice competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
He earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Minnesota State University Mankato followed by Masters Degrees from Florida State University, in Vocal Performance and Opera Production. Further studies led him to Vienna, Austria and the Metropolitan Opera.
Mr. Ulen’s current and former students are represented on the rosters of numerous European and American opera houses.
Visit Ron's website at: www.ronulen.com
Dr. Worthington serves as vice-president of the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to advancing the musical arts through philanthropic giving. The centerpiece of the organization is an annual vocal competition held in New York, which draws competitors from across the country.