Adrian Sylveen, Artistic Director
Jurate Svedaite, Opera Program Chair
Paulo Bellocci, master class
Brunilda Myftaraj, violin: concertmaster & opera masterclass
Luca Rinaldi, violin, resident artist
Kathleen Schiano, principal cello
Jill Maurer-Davis, principal flute
Douglas Lemke, principal bass
Blake Meyer Hansen
Adrian Sylveen enjoys a performing career both in the United States and in Europe. He is a founder and the artistic director of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Connecticut Lyric Opera Company, and the Classical Orchestra of Pila in Poland. From 2011 to 2013 he was a conductor for the Magnum Opus series with the New Britain Symphony – The Connecticut Virtuosi. He was also a frequent guest conductor with several leading Polish orchestras, including Olsztyn Philharmonic, Elbląg Chamber Orchestra, and others. He is also a founder of the newly formed, Hartford based Moniuszko Choir (2016). Since 2012 Adrian Sylveen is on faculty of the Virtuosi Summer Music Institute at Tunxis College in Farmington, Connecticut, and, since 2015 a director of the Greve Opera Academy and Chamber Music Festival in Greve-In-Chianti, Italy. In his career so far Adrian Sylveen has conducted approximately 35 operatic titles, more than 70 symphonies, and numerous concertos and chamber orchestral music works, with special emphases on music of Italian and Slavic heritage. An active violin soloist as well as conductor, he has conducted and performed concerts in United States, Poland, Italy, Israel, Switzerland, Germany, and former Soviet Union. Adrian Sylveen collaborated with many exceptional artists such as Brunilda Myftaraj, Eckart Lorenzen, Luca Rinaldi, Theodore Arm, Jurate Svedaite, Carl Tanner, Jorge Pita Carreras, Michael Wade Lee, Steven Frederiks, Neal Larrabee, Dmitri Novgorodsky, Rafael Lewandowski, Andre Anweiler, Martin Bresnik, Jadwiga Kotnowka, Marzena Diakun, Grzegorz Dabrowski, Daniel Borowski, Thomas A. Labadorf, Michael Gatonska, Volcan Orhon, Robert DeMaine, and many others. Adrian Sylveen holds Master and post-Master degrees from the Yale University School of Music, where he studied with Prof. Erick Friedman, Peter Oundjian, and other members of the Tokyo String Quartet, and Paderewski Music Academy in Poznan, Poland (diploma with distinction) in the class of Prof. Jadwiga Kaliszewska. His other earlier important teachers were Barbara Schwartz, Jerzy Hazuka, Thaddeus Kochański. Adrian Sylveen is a winner of prizes at competitions in Poland and in the United States, and had participated in several international Festivals such as Weimar, Łancut and others. He received the American Council for Polish Culture award (“for his eminent performances as conductor and violinist in U.S and Europe”), “Primus Inter Pares” Award given by the President of the Republic of Poland. He was awarded permanent US residence for “Extraordinary Abilities in the Arts”.
Possessing a vocal artistry and stage presence capable of “transfixing audiences with moments of opera magic,” Lithuanian soprano, Jūratė Švedaitė, has performed throughout Europe and the United States with the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Kaunas (Lithuania) Chamber Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Piła (Poland) and the Lithuanian National Ensemble “Lietuva” among others. On the stage, Ms. Švedaitė has performed more than 20 leading roles including Cio-cio San in Madama Butterfly, the diva Tosca, Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi in La Bohème, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Desdemona in Otello, Senta in Die Fliegende Hollander, Marguerite in Faust and Micaela in Carmen. An active perfomer of sacred works and oratorios as well, her credits include Bach’s Mass in B minor, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem and Orff’s Carmina Burana. The granddaughter of one of Lithuania’s most revered composers and arrangers of traditional music, Jonas Švedas, Ms. Švedaitė attended the Lithuanian Music Academy where she earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Opera Performance and Vocal Instruction. She now resides in Southeastern Connecticut where she an Assistant Professor at Connecticut College.
Hailed for his “robust” singing with “great emotional depth” Steven Fredericks has made his mark with some of opera’s most celebrated roles. Fredericks’ impressive repertory spans all styles and represents his versatility as a performer. From favorite Puccini roles, Colline and Timur, to the most heroic of Wagner’s characters, he continually explores all dimensions of his talents. Recently, he sang Dr. Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro with Salt Marsh Opera, the title role in Wagner’s Der Fliegender Holländer and Tod in Viktor Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Connecticut Lyric Opera, Boïto’s Mefistofele with Taconic Opera and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with The Mineola Symphony. Mr. Fredericks was heard as the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, Strommenger in La Wally with Teatro Grattacielo at Allice Tully Hall conducted by Guido Ajmone-Marsan, Reinmar in Tannhäuser with The Baltimore Opera conducted by Christian Badea and Ferrando in Il Trovatore with Maestro Anton Coppola. He has frequently appeared with Maestro Vincent La Selva and the New York Grand Opera in Central Park, New York City. Internationally, he has performed with The Chuvash State Theatre (Russia) as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, and the Herald in Lohengrin, Paris/Saone-et-Loire (France) where he also appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Notably, Fredericks created the role of Signorelli in the world premier of Louis Gioia’s Un Racconto Fiorentino at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and he sang the role of Filippo in a highlighted version of Don Carlo at the 1997 Opera America Convention in Philadelphia.
Italian baritone, Mauro Buda, began his career as an actor before studying singing with the soprano Carmen Lucchetti in Naples where he was born. He went on to study with Giuseppe Taddei in Rome and then joined the Royal College of Music in London as a post-graduate student under Graziella Sciutti. He made his professional debut in LA CECCHINA, OSSIA LA BUONA FIGLIOLA by Piccinni with AsLiCo and afterwards returned to London to begin his international career. He began by concentrating on mainly eighteenth century music: works including L’OSTERIA DI MARECHIARO by Paisiello in Palermo; PRIMA LA MUSICA, POI LE PAROLE by Salieri in Lugano; LA SERVA PADRONA by Pergolesi in Aix-en-Provence; LE NOZZE DI FIGARO in London and LO FRATE ‘NNAMORATO by Pergolesi in Paris. His first Verdian role was in Liège: Il Conte di Luna IL TROVATORE, which was very well received. He went on to sing Germont LA TRAVIATA at Trieste; Enrico LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR for Welsh National Opera; Leporello DON GIOVANNI in Gstaadt alongside Thomas Allen; returned to Trieste for Belcore L’ELISIR D’AMORE; sang the title role of NABUCCO at Sassari; Sharpless MADAMA BUTTERFLY at Torre del Lago and performed MAESTRO DI CAPPELLA at Lugano. He sang Marcello LA BOHEME for the centenary of Teatro Regio di Torino under Daniel Oren and at Sassari sang both Michele IL TABARO and the title role of GIANNI SCHICCHI a role he also repeated for De Vlaamse Opera. He made his role debut as FALSTAFF at Politeama Greco di Lecce and then made another role debut, that of Scarpia TOSCA at Teatro Verdi di Trieste in the production by Bolognini. He returned to Liège, this time for Ford FALSTAFF alongside Renato Bruson and repeated RE TEODORO by Paisiello at Teatro La Fenice di Venezia. He sang the title role of RIGOLETTO at the State Theatre of Pretoria and returned to Trieste for Seid IL CORSARO. He appeared with great success as Napoleone MADAME SANS GENE by Giordano, as NABUCCO at the International Festival of Avanches; the Marquis LES DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES at Teatro Verdi di Trieste; Germont LA TRAVIATA at Teatro Regio divorino,; Ping TURANDOT at the Festival of Santander; Scarpia TOSCA at Teatro Sociale di Como and made his role debut as MACBETH at the Teatro Coccia di Novara. He sang Il Conte di Luna IL TROVATORE in Toulon and made his role debut as Iago OTELLO at Teatro Comunale di Modena alongside Nicola Martinucci. Most recently he has added: Ezio ATTILA and Escamillo CARMEN in Brescia; Don Carlos LA FORZA DEL DESTINO in Toulon; Alfio CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA in Livorno; Tonio I PAGLIACCI in Trieste; Amonasro AIDA in the Zeffirelli production for Teatro Regio di Parma and Escamillo CARMEN for a summer production in Firenze. He also appeared in a series of concerts with the Orchestra Sinfonica di San Remo. He sang the title role of GIANNI SCHICCHI for Opera Zuid and for Teatro dell ‘Opera di Roma he appeared as Scarpia TOSCA and Jack Rance LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST.
A graduate with the highest honors from the Conservatory of Fine Arts in Tirana, award-winning Albanian-American violinist BRUNILDA MYFTARAJ is currently concertmaster of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Connecticut Lyric Opera, and the International Greve Opera Academy in Italy. She is also the director of the Virtuosi Music Academy and the Summer Music Institute in Farmington, Connecticut, where she also teaches violin and chamber music. A student of, among others, Piero Faulli of the Quartetto Italiano, Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet, and famed violinist Rafael Druian, Myftaraj has performed as soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Farmington Valley Orchestra, and on several occasions with The Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Brunilda has presented recitals at the Piano and Friends Chamber Music series in Tucson, Arizona, Mostly Mozart series in Napa Valley, the Schubert Club in Minneapolis, Performers of Westchester, and many other venues. She also performed concerts and recitals in Italy, Poland, and Israel. In 2013, Brunilda Myftaraj recorded an album for Virtuosi Records title “Naked Violin,” containing a program of works for unaccompanied violin by Bach, Ysaÿe, and Prokofiev; Brunilda is putting the finishing touches on a new album, titled “The American Pie,” to be released soon. That album will contain works by Ives, Gershwin, Bernstein, Amy Beach, and Paul Schoenfield.
Italian violinist LUCA RINALDI is a winner of several important competitions: International Competition of Stresa, International Competition of Capri, European Competition of Moncalieri, a National Competition of Macerata, National Competition of Meda, National Competition of Savona, National Competition of Genoa, and others. As a soloist and violinist has performed many concerts in Italy and Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Malta, and appeared frequently with the Florentine Chamber Orchestra, The Knights of Grosseto Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Chapel of the Cathedral of Fiesole, The Orchestra Rinaldo Franci Siena”, and others. He has studied violin at the “Cherubini Conservatory”with Maestro Giorgio Ballini. He later attended the master classes of S. Mattresses, Zanettovich R. and C. Rossi. Also devoted to chamber music Luca Rinaldi has attended courses with the Trio di Trieste at the Accademia Chigiana di Siena, and at the Music School of Fiesole obtaining scholarships and awards, including the Gengaroli Award for the best chamber music performance. Luca Rinaldi is a professor of violin at the Institute of Musical Studies R. Franci in Siena.
Douglas Lemke has studied the double bass since the age of six, and currently holds three degrees in performance, two from The Hartt School and one from Penn State University. He has performed with various orchestras and ensembles throughout the United States, France, Bulgaria, and Brazil, and premiered and recorded for Emmy Award-winning composer Lanny Meyers in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Dedicated to his music, he has participated in master classes with many instructors, including Edwin Barker, Edgar Meyer, Paul Ellison, Micah Howard, James Van Demark, Jeff Turner, and John Moore, among others.
Jill Maurer-Davis (June 12th – 28th)
Jill Maurer-Davis, retired from the U. S. Coast Guard Band and U. S. Coast Guard Woodwind Quintet, currently performs as principal flutist with the Connecticut Virtuosi, CT Lyric Opera, Salt Marsh Opera and the Opera Theater of CT. As a flute and piccolo soloist, Ms. Maurer-Davis has been featured on National Public Radio and Australia Broadcasting Co. as well as on NHK in Japan. She has been featured on “Performance Today” broadcasts on NPR. On PBS, she has appeared on Exxon’s “Live at Wolf Trap” series and with Jean-Pierre Rampal on New York’s WNET. Ms. Maurer-Davis was invited by the Boston Symphony Orchestra to perform in recital at Symphony Hall for a special orchestral event. Other appearances have included flute and piccolo soloist at the National Flute Association convention, performances with the Boston Pops, Worcester and Hartford Symphonies, Connecticut Opera, New Haven Symphony, Orchestra New England, Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and a North American tour with tenor, Andrea Bocelli. Ms. Maurer-Davis joined the faculty of Central CT State University in 1998. Her past teaching affiliations include Brown University, Clark University, and the College of the Holy Cross. She holds B.M. and M.M. degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and a diploma from the Orff Institute-Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Her principal teachers have included Louis Moyse, Thomas Nyfenger, James Galway, James Pappoutsakis, and Lois Schaefer. She is also certified to teach Suzuki Flute and the early childhood music system, Musikgarten.
Kathleen Schiano, cellist, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music for cello performance from the University of Kansas, and her Master’s Degree from Stony Brook, where she studied with the renowned Bernard Greenhouse, co-founder of the Beaux Arts Piano Trio. She also studied with Laszlo Varga, Peter Howard, John Ehrlich, Uziahu Wiesel (Tel-Aviv Quartet), David Geber and Daniel Avshalomov (American String Quartet). She has appeared as soloist with the Topeka Symphony, and performed with Andrea Bocelli, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Engelbert Humperdink, Liberace, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, and Bill Cosby. In addition to being principal cellist with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Kathleen regularly performs with the Hartford Symphony.
Giacomo Benedetti has studied Organ and Organ Composition in the conservatory “Lorenzo Cherubini” in Florence with Mariella Mochi and graduate with G. Libertucci: he studied with Matteo Imbruno, organist of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, following Masterclasses in Amsterdam. He studied piano with Rosa Scarlino, harpsichord with Annaberta Conti and Alfonso Fedi, basso continuo with Andrea Perugi, also following Masterclasses with Gustav Leonhardt. He worked as coworker organist in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, in the Church of Orsanmichele, in Saint Mark’s Church; ctually he is organist in the Churches of San Miniato, Santo Spirito and in the anglican Church of Saint Mark in Florence. He collaborates with the theatre “Maggio Musicale Fiorentino” as coworker cymbalist and works in many musical associations in which he often performs as piano accompainist with singers and various musicians, cymbalist soloist and accompainist. He also collaborates with the association “Ensemble San Felice”. He took part in many organ and piano competitions winning first prizes and placements. He performs concerts as Organist, Pianist, Cymbalist and Choir Director in various contexts: International organ festival of La Verna; Japan (Yokohama ) in the “Festival Barock” as cymbalist soloist ; XIV Festival of Ancient, Renaissance and Baroque Music in Querètaro (Mexico) , International Organ Accademy of Pistoia; Haendel’s soloist concerts for organ and orchestra with the Regional orchestra Val d’Arno; Anton Bieber’s Sonatas for harpsichord and violin; Florentine Chamber Orchestra with M.Lanzetta as pianist soloist; frequent collaborations with “Florence Sinphonietta” in Florence and with the baroque Ensemble “Armonia ricercata”; bassocontinuist in the baroque Ensemble “Armonia ricercata” and “I Fiori Musicali”;he followed courses with Celestino Dionsi for flute andharpsichord in baroque chamber music; in Munich for the bavarian radio; concerts in Ausburg in the Rokokolossal and in Ausburg’s Cathedral in duo and in trio with organ and piano; in Helsinki for the Italian Institute in Finland; in Turuku, in the Cathedral and in the National Theatre; university’s choir in Florence; inauguration concerts of Legri’s organ in Calenzano with a CD recording for Calenzano’s municipality; concerts for the musical festival of Orsanmichele in Florence; realization of a DVD of a Benito Zorzit’s opera for Florence’s municipality; Choir “Armonia Cantata”; Schola Cantorum of the lutheran and anglican church in Florence; choir “Capriccio Armonico”.
Blake Meyer Hansen
Blake Meyer Hansen graduated from the Hartt School, University of Hartford, in 2013 with a Master of Music in piano performance under the tutelage of Luiz de Moura Castro. He studied piano with Dr. Marie Jureit-Beamish. Blake has participated in numerous piano master classes in the United States and Europe. He has had the fortune of playing for great artists, including Kenneth Drake, Boris Berman, Florence Millet, and Simon Trpceski. He also frequently attends summer festivals, such as the Semana Internacional de Piano de Obidos (SIPO) in Portugal and the summer courses at the Conservatori Liceu in Barcelona, Spain. A winner of numerous piano competitions, including the University of Redlands Merit Awards, the Inland Empire Piano Festival, both in California, and the Sigma Alpha Iota music competitions in St. Louis, Blake remains an active participant in concerto competitions. He has soloed on the piano and violin with the Principia College Orchestra and on piano with the Mt. San Jacinto College Orchestra. An experienced chamber musician, Blake frequently collaborates in ensembles and as an accompanist. During his studies at Principia he was accompanist for the Principia College Choir and the vocal studios. As an orchestral violinist he has served as concertmaster for the Youth Ensemble of Strings at the University of Redlands, CA, and the Principia College orchestra. Blake has had the opportunity to perform in notable venues such as Steinway Hall in New York City and the Illsley Ball Nordstram Hall in Seattle, WA. He is the resident pianist for the Connecticut Lyric Opera since 2014.