Johanna Meier - Soprano Arts Director
An international star of the opera stage, Ms. Meier has been a leading soprano with the Metropolitan Opera and countless major opera houses and orchestras throughout the world. She is well known as the first American to sing the role of Isolde in the Bayreuth Festival, which was filmed for Unitel/Philips and has appeared twice on PBS Great Performances. Ms. Meier is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and made her sensational debut with the New York City Opera in 1965.
John Stewart - Music Director/Conductor
Mr. Stewart carries degrees in Composition and Theory from Yale and Brown Universities. He is currently the Director of Vocal Activities at Washington University in St. Louis where he conducts the Opera and Chamber Choir performances, as well as teaching voice. As a leading tenor, Mr. Stewart has appeared with many companies both in Europe and America, including the metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Frankfort, Germany, and Santa Fe. He has also been a guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Symphony, among others.
Bruce Donnell - Stage Director
A Stage Director at the Metropolitan Opera and The Santa Fe Opera for more than three decades, Bruce Donnell studied in Germany before joining the staff of the San Francisco Opera's Merola Program in 1966.
Jolly Stewart - Coach/Stage Director
Jolly Stewart, opera stage director and head of Washington University Opera, has degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the Akademic Mozarteum in Salzburg. Her career started in Europe when she debuted in Italy with the Salzburg Camerata. She has sung extensively in the United States including such diverse venues as San Francisco Opera and Radio City Music Hall.
Elizabeth Hastings - Coach/Accompanist
Elizabeth Hastings has conducted for the Toledo Opera, the Washington Opera, the Sarasota Opera and the New York City Opera National Touring Company. She conducts operetta and musical theater and has conducted nearly 60 different productions during her 21 summers at the College Light Opera Company in Massachusetts. A highly regarded vocal coach and accompanist, she maintains a busy studio in her native New York. In 2005 she was named Music Director of the Liederkranz Foundation in New York City.
David Holkeboer - Coach Accompanist
Mr. Holkeboer has worked with the Chamber Opera Theatre of New York, the First American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia, the Israel Vocal Arts Institute, the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, and the Opera Lirica in Orvieto, Italy. For the past several years he has been the pianist for the Oratorio Society of New York and the Liederkranz Foundation Competition, as well as faculty for the Voce Piano Ensemble at the Diller-Quaile School in New York City, where he maintains a coaching studio. He is well known as an accompanist for Community Concerts across the country and has recorded recitals for Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as CDs of major artists.
Thomas Bagwell - Coach Accompanist
Thomas Bagwell's appearances as an accompanist have taken him to such venues as Carnegie hall, London's Wigmore Hall, the Musikverein, the Concertgebouw, and numerous concerts across the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and Japan. He was an Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera for nine seasons, and has also served in that capacity at the Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He is currently on the faculty of Mannes College of Music in New York.
Dr. Janeen Larsen - Pianist/Accompanist
Dr. Janeen Larsen has performed for 35 years as a professional pianist and accompanist for soloists and choirs. She received her master of music in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Florida. Dr. Larsen has been at BHSU since 1978 and now serves as the chair of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts.
Dr. Jonathan Nero - Opera Chorus Master
Dr. Jonathan Nero is a relatively new faculty member in the Music Department at Black Hills State University. He earned his D.M.A. from North Dakota State University in 2007. For two years he was the Artistic Director and Conductor for the Grand Forks Master Chorale; he was the Choral Conductor for the Northern Ambassadors European Tour for three years; and he has sung as a soloist with the NDSU Baroque Festival Chorus and Orchestra and with the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber Chorale. He has also sung with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus.
Melanie Lien Palm - Body Movement
A native of Rapid City, Melanie Lien Palm performed professionally for twenty years in eleven countries throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. She has been a choreographer, dancer, and movement instructor formerly as long, working with students in venues as diverse as Vassar College and dance academies.