Donnie Ray Albert
Assistant Professor of Voice
Donnie Ray Albert is a regular guest of opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera as Germont, Los Angeles Opera as Trinity Moses in Mahagonny, Simone in A Florentine Tragedy, and as the Father in Hansel and Gretel, plus numerous appearances with Opera Pacific, Houston Grand Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Dallas Opera, Arizona; Atlanta Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera,Utah Opera, and the opera companies of New Orleans, Baltimore, Columbus, Kansas City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and, in Canada, with the companies in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Manitoba, and Vancouver. In Europe, he has appeared at the Cologne Opera singing all Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, and Frank in Die Tote Stadt, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as the Four Villains, the Royal Opera Wallonie in Liege for Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy, the National Theater in Prague as Jack Rance, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, Lithuanian National Opera in the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer, plus the opera houses in Bordeaux, Köln, Bregenz, Milan, Mannheim and Hamburg, and in Vienna in the title role in Ernst Bloch’s Macbeth for the Vienna “Klangbogen” Festival. He has appeared in Japan with the New National Theater in Tokyo as Wotan and the Wanderer in Der Ring des Nibelungen, and in Brazil as Jochanaan inSalome in Sao Paolo. As a concert artist, Mr. Albert has sung with the orchestras of Washington DC (National), Cologne, Southwest Florida, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Dallas, Minnesota, Seattle, St. Paul, Los Angeles, Austin, Palm Beach, Greensboro, Grant Park Music Festival, and Madison, Vienna and Linz, in Austria and in Jerusalem. He is also a resident artist with the Center for Black Music Research at Chicago’s Columbia College. In recent seasons, Mr. Albert has appeared as Rigoletto for Vancouver Opera, Amonaso in Riga, Latvia, and Phoenix, Alfio for the Orlando Opera, Iago for the Kentucky Opera, Il Giuramento for the Washington Concert Opera, Das lied von der Erde with Rhode Island Philharmonic, Elijah with the Southwest Florida Master Chorale, concerts with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Atlanta Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra for their performance of d’Indy’s Fervaal, Nashville Symphony, the Kentucky Opera as Germont, Latvian Opera as Giorgio in I Puritani, Prague’s National Theater as the Four Villains in a new production of Les Contes d’Hoffman, and the Semper Opera in Dresden for Keith Warner’s new production of Faust, in Paris for Aida, in Riga, Latvia for Otello, Madison Opera for La Traviata, and Washington Concert Opera for Adriana Lecouvreur. Future engagements includes appearances as Amonasro in Edmonton and in the title role of Verdi’s Falstaff for the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen. Donnie Ray Albert was born in Louisiana. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree at Louisiana State University and a Master of Music Degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Albert may be heard on RCA’s Grammy Award and Grand Prix du Disque winning recording of Porgy and Bess, NOW’s recording of The Horse I Ride Has Wings with David Garvey on piano, EMI’s Frühlingsbegräbnis and Eine Florentinesche Tragodie by Zemlinsky conducted by James Conlon, and Simon Sargon’s A Clear Midnight on the Gasparo label.
Douglas Kinney Frost
Lecturer in Opera Studies
Principal Conductor, Butler Opera Center
Douglas Kinney Frost has led orchestras and opera companies on four continents, consistently thrilling audiences and inspiring the musicians with whom he works. “Under the baton of music director Douglas Kinney Frost the orchestra consistently presents concerts that are interesting, stimulating and thought-provoking,” says the Deseret News.
Hailed as “fearless” and praised for his consistent “vigorous display of artistic strength” by the national press during his eight-year tenure as Artistic and Music Director of Syracuse Opera he has demonstrated an ability to engage audiences and artists with creative programming and stirring performances. Maestro Kinney Frost has a national reputation for dynamic education and audience development initiatives, and his advocacy for emerging vocalists and conductors remains a significant national calling card. His podcast AMPED UP OPERA features many of opera’s finest talent, and reaches thousands of listeners.
The LA Times commented, “the orchestra and chorus conducted by Douglas Kinney Frost were excellent, and at times it was fun watching Frost with his colorful style of conducting,” on his sold-out performances of Figaro 90210 at LA Opera. He also recently served as Music Director and conductor for a co-production of David Lang’s the difficulty of crossing a field for Beth Morrison Projects which received a concert performance in New York and was released on Cantaloupe Records. The concert and recording have received kudos for Maestro Kinney Frost’s music direction from the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer and Musica l America, and a Critic’s Choice acknowledgement in Opera News.
Labelled a Britten specialist by Maestro James Conlon, Frost was invited to serve as associate conductor for his work on Benjamin Britten Operas numerous times including: The Turn of the Screw, Albert Herring, and Billy Budd with Los Angeles Opera and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Curlew River with the Fondazione Teatro dell’Opera in Rome and The Burning Fiery Furnace with the Ravinia Festival.
Other recent highlights as conductor include performances of Porgy and Bess at the prestigious Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, La bohème at Florida Grand Opera, Madama Butterfly for Utah Opera, L’elisir d’amore for Opera Saratoga, the Boston première of Little Women, The Turn of the Screw and The Magic Flute at The New England Conservatory, The Prodigal Son with University of Southern California, Gluck’s Armide and Argento’s Postcard from Morocco at the University of Michigan. He also conducted the premiere of Libby Larsen’s Dreaming Blue at the Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration.
In concert, the breadth of his repertoire has been highlighted in performances with many of the world’s great ensembles. Some of the international orchestras have included the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Orchestra Sinfonia Siciliana. the National Symphony of Mexico and the Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and orchestras in Brazil and Uruguay, Russian Federal Orchestra in Moscow, St. Petersburg Festival Orchestra, Kharkov Philharmonia in Ukraine, and the National Orchestra of Korea in Seoul; and in the U.S. with the Colorado Bach Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Rochester Philharmonic, Westminster College, New England Conservatory, Utah, Baltimore, Memphis, Virginia, and Richmond Symphonies, among others.
As a conducting pedagogue, he frequently explores both the opera and orchestral repertoire with emerging conductors. Recent classes and workshops include the New York State Carmina Burana Sing-a-long, New England Conservatory, University of Michigan, Ithaca College, and the Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak. He remains committed to fostering emerging talent having shaped vocal and collaborative pianist young artist programs at Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Syracuse Opera, and Opera on the James.
His rise to the podium came through the tradition of the world’s great opera houses, quickly advancing from rehearsal pianist, to assistant conductor, to chorus master. As a coach and accompanist he is frequently sought by acclaimed vocal and instrumentalists for musical preparation and recital work. A recent presentation included CBC’s Julie Nesrallah in concert at the international Turner to Cezanne exhibit at the Everson Museum, pairing two centuries of French art song with the paintings that inspired them.
As an advocate for arts education Mr. Kinney Frost has created numerous education and outreach programs for orchestras and opera companies. One of his opera education programs, OPERAMANIA, was broadcast for two seasons on PBS. He is frequently asked to lecture about music and the training of young vocalists and conductors. He has been a panelist at conferences for the National Endowment for the Arts, American Symphony Orchestra League, Conductor’s Guild, Utah Arts Council, Opera America and Virginia Commission for the Arts.
More information on Mr. Kinney’s work can be seen on his website- www.douglaskinneyfrost.com.
Professor of Voice
William Lewis is Professor of Voice, with the Butler Opera Center–focusing on undergraduate opera study–and holder of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professorship in Opera at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Austrian American Mozart Academy in Salzburg, a six-week summer training program in opera performance. He received his education at the University of Colorado, Texas Christian University and New York University. He was professor of voice and opera at Penn State University and New York State University at Binghamton. Prof. Lewis enjoys a highly regarded reputation as a tenor whose versatility spans the operatic repertoire from Mozart to Schoenberg, having performed over one hundred thirty major operatic roles in ten languages. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Narraboth, where he continued as leading tenor for thirty-five years in such roles as Rodolfo, Cavaradossi, Pinkerton, Macduff, Arrigo, Alfredo, Gabriele, Turiddu, Hoffmann, Don Jose, Romeo, Aeneas, Dimitri, Ghermann, Stewa, Idomeneo, Alwa, the Tambourmajor, Oedipus Rex, and in the dual role of Steuermann and Erik. He made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1975 as Steuermann/Erik and appeared there in subsequent seasons as Stewa (Jenufa), Albert Gregor (The Makropoulos Affair), Boris (Katya Kabanova), Frank Sargent (Angle of Repose – world premiere), the title role in Le Cid, Sergei (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Golitsin (Khovantschina), Eumete (Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria) and Loge (Das Rheingold). In Europe, the renowned tenor has received critical acclaim at Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Teatro Comunale (Florence), Teatro la Fenice (Venice), Teatro Regio (Torino), Théâtre Nationale de Paris, Opéra Toulouse, Royal Opera Covent Garden (London), English Opera North, Glasgow Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro São Carlos (Lisbon), Cologne Opera, as well as the festivals at Salzburg, Edinburgh, Spoleto (Italy and U.S.A.), Wexford, Ireland, and Amsterdam. Opera.
Assistant Professor of Practice in Voice
A native of Virginia, Cynthia Morrow is a graduate of Hollins College (Phi Beta Kappa), The University of Maryland, and The Ohio State University, where she earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance. She has been a member of the music faculties at the University of Florida, Mississippi College, and Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Working with both undergraduate and graduate voice students, she has taught a variety of courses related to vocal performance, including vocal literature, vocal pedagogy, applied voice, diction, and opera workshop. As Director of Opera Theater at Mississippi College, she directed performances of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, along with numerous workshops and scene recitals. A number of Dr. Morrow’s voice students have won their divisions at the state and regional levels of NATS competitions. Dr. Morrow has performed a wide array of repertoire, including leading roles in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte (Despina), Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites (Constance), and Britten’s Albert Herring (Miss Wordsworth), as well as in oratorios by Handel, Bach, and Mozart.
Associate Professor of Practice in Opera Studies
Stage Director, Butler Opera Center
Chía Patiño returns to the USA after ten years of heading the National Theatre in her native country, Ecuador. She holds degrees from the University of Louisville, a master and doctorate from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and an MFA from the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. After extensively experience programming and administering a large number of performances and international festivals, she is excited to return to directing and composing. She directed original productions of La Flauta Mágica de los Andes, Les Miserables, Faust, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Carmen, and Dido & Aeneas, as well as the world premiere of Unicamente la Verdad and Manuela y Bolivar. She has conducted the opera mariachi Cruzar la Cara de la Luna as well as the world premiere of its choral version at Teatro Nacional Sucre. Her recent work as a composer includes incidental music for theatre and the soundtrack of Guadual- Circo de Fibras Naturales, the first contemporary circus in Ecuador that has traveled to Spain, Argentina and Brasil.
Associate Professor of Practice
Pianist Rick Rowley is a very versatile musician and has appeared extensively as a recitalist, a concerto soloist and chamber performer with an exciting list of the world’s leading musicians. The Washington Post recently wrote that he is “a communicative performer who clearly enjoys playing.” He “takes the music on its own terms and infuses it with active interpretation, tempered with understanding of its point and purpose.” The San-Antonio Express-News praised his “resplendent performance … which crackled with infectious energy” and the Austin Statesman-American has praised his “dazzling technique” and “world-class expertise,” calling one of his concerts “concerto playing at its best.” The American Record Guide praised his release of piano music of Franz Liszt saying that “Rowley’s playing is wonderful in these favorites — poetic, tender, full of grandeur.” Of his American music CD they wrote, “By all means, grab this” and recently extolled his Chopin CD writing that “the ‘Fantasy-Impromptu’ can take on all challengers.” In the past Mr. Rowley has appeared as a conductor and in the dual role of conductor/soloist; in this latter capacity his performances of Mozart concertos have been particularly recognized. He has also taken part in concerts on period instruments, performing as harpsichordist with the Texas Bach Aria Group and on fortepiano with the Texas Baroque Ensemble. At various times Mr. Rowley has served in lectureship positions at the University of Texas in Austin and is again currently holding that position, in which he works with pianists, vocalists and chamber music groups. He was the music lecturer/performer for the prestigious Houston Series for three years and his programs were among the most popular in the Series’ history. He is also highly admired as a teacher in master classes and has often worked with pianists, instrumentalists and actor/singers in that framework. Mr. Rowley has recorded, produced and written liner notes for a number of compact discs; his solo recordings feature repertoire by Liszt, Guion, Chopin, Mompou, Granados, Barber, Gershwin, Cumming and Copland. He has recorded chamber music with cellist Peter Rejto; flutist Marianne Gedigian; and clarinetist Patricia Shands. Recently he contributed performances to new discs of music by American composers Kathryn Mishell and Kent Kennan. A CD of songs by Strauss, Turina, Smith and Ward with soprano, Cheryl Parrish, is now in current release. For several years Mr. Rowley maintained a busy career in the theater and is a veteran of nearly fifty productions as actor, musical director and director. His first performances were for children’s theater at Zachary Scott in Austin and he has also worked for several theaters in Houston, the Point Theater in Ingram and the remarkable Unity Theatre in Brenham. He made his directorial debut with a production of The Belle of Amherst for the Unity Theater where he also directed a new play based on letters of George Sand and Gustave Flaubert. He was the sound designer and composer for songs and incidental music for a play based on “The Firebird” legend for Stages Theater in Houston. He most recently appeared in a highly praised performance as Frank in Brian Friel’s “Molly Sweeney”. Three years ago Mr. Rowley became a founding member of Plum Pianos, a thriving company which rebuilds and restores pianos and other keyboard instruments.
Professor of Opera Studies
Director, Butler Opera Center
Head, Voice Division
Technically nimble and supportive pianist” (New York Times), “Accompanist with wondrous tact and virtuosity” (San Francisco Chronicle), “Vigorous and versatile” (Washington Post) and “Extraordinarily sensitive collaborative synch throughout the evening” (VOICE Magazine) Tamara Sanikidze gave her first performance with the Georgian Symphony Orchestra at age eight and has since appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout the Republic of Georgia, Russia, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Since 2009, in capacity of an official pianist for Plácido Domingo’s annual World Opera Competition “Operalia” Dr. Sanikidze has performed in such renown opera houses as Hungarian State Opera house in Budapest, La Scala in Milano, Galina Vishnevskaya’s Opera Centre in Moscow, Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, Royal Opera house in London, Dorothy Chandler Auditorium in Los Angeles, Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, São Carlos in Lisbon, and National Theater in Prague.
As a winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award for Excellence in Vocal Accompanying she has performed regularly in the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s “The Song Continues…” and “On the Wings of Song”. Active Song Recitalist she has partnered with such luminaries as Thomas Hampson, Nino Machaidze, Isabel Leonard, Quinn Kelsey, Marjorie Owens, Elizabeth Futral, Nicole Cabell, Leah Crocetto, Nadine Sierra and Amanda Majeski in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and other prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. By the special invitation, she has traveled to Beijing, China to perform with Mo. Plácido Domingo and also has performed at the White House for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Recently Sanikidze joined much acclaimed Camerata Pacifica ensemble for a concert tour throughout South California.
Between 2007- 2012 Sanikidze was a Young Artist Coach at the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera and an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, where she served as an Assistant Conductor and Coach for productions of Don Giovanni (Mo. Plácido Domingo), Rigoletto (Mo. Giovanni Reggioli), Hansel and Gretel (Mo. Steven Gathman), La Traviata (Mo. Plácido Domingo and Mo. Dan Ettinger), Carmen (Mo. Julius Rudel), Turandot (Mo. Keri-Lynn Wilson), Falstaff (Mo. Sebastian Lang-Lessing), La fanciulla del West (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), Aida (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), The Makropulos case (Mo. Jiří Bělohlávek), Die Walküre (Mo. Donald Runnicles), Carmen (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), and Xerxes (Mo. Patrick Summers).
Upon finishing the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program, Sanikidze joined the Music Staff at both San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera where she works closely with Mo. Plácido Domingo, Mo. James Conlon and Mo. Nicola Luisotti. In the capacity of a Pianist, Prompter, Coach and an Assistant Conductor she has prepared and performed a wide range of operatic repertoire, including Simon Boccanegra starring Plácido Domingo, Tosca, Der fliegende Holländer, La Cenerentola, Falstaff, Evgeny Onegin, Die Zauberflöte, Billy Budd, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, Un ballo in maschera, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Aida, Turandot, Rusalka, Manon Lescaut, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Dr. Sanikidze is a prize-winner of numerous national and international piano competitions. She has received top scholarships, including a personal scholarship from the former president of the Republic of Georgia Edward Schevardnadze. She has also received the Vocal Piano Fellowship Award from the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and participated in summer programs at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, SongFest, Cleveland Art Song Festival and Aspen Music Festival. She has made several recordings for the Excelsior label and her performances have been broadcast on NPR, as well as Georgian and Russian National Television and Radio.
Sought after for her coaching skills and extensive experience, Sanikidze has been invited to work with young singers at the Merola Opera Program, Wolf Trap Opera Center and the Young Artist Programs both at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera.
In 2015 Tamara joined faculty of Butler School of Music at University of Texas, Austin and Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA.
In January 2019 Dr. Sanikidze became Director of Butler Opera center.
Tamara Sanikidze holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Associate Professor of Voice
Nikita Storojev is a Russian bass. After receiving his degree in philosophy, he entered the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow. Upon winning the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, he became principal soloist for 5 years in the Bolshoi Theater and the Moscow Philharmonic Society. Nikita Storojev has performed in the world’s major opera houses, concert halls and international festivals in Vienna, Paris, London, Milan, New York, San Francisco, Florence, München, Tokyo and Berlin. His vast repertoire consists of over 50 operatic roles and more than 300 classical songs. He has performed and recorded under the direction of conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovitch, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir John Pritchard, Claudio Abbado, Neeme Jarvi, John Nelson and Gennady Rozhdestvenski and with singers such as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Katia Ricciarelli, Ruggiero Raimondi and Nikolai Ghiaurov. Recent engagements for Mr. Storojev include the roles of the Police-Sergeant and the Old Prisoner in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Christian Badea and the Baltimore Opera; a program of excerpts from Boris Godunov and Prince Igorwith Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony Orchestra; more performances of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, conducted by Donald Runnicles at the San Francisco Opera; a performance of the role of King Dodon in Le Coq d’Or with the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia; an appearance at the Bard Music Festival in an all-Shostakovich program, which included the Shostakovich 14th Symphony, Execution of Stepan Razin, and Anti-formalist Rayok (Troikin), with Leon and Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra; and performances of the Verdi Requiem, conducted by Claus Peter Flor, with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; a concert performance of Dvorak’s Rusalka with the Fort Worth Symphony, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 with the Winnipeg Symphony; Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni with the Austin Lyric Opera; and De Nederlandse Opera as the Police Sergeant in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, with Mariss Jansons conducting. Future engagements include a full schedule of symphonic and operatic appearances plus several recitals with piano in the United States and in Europe during the coming year. This will include a new production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsenskat Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Mr. Storojev has taught many students in several countries. Eighteen of his students have won international singing competitions in Europe. In the last four years, while teaching at The University of Texas, his students have won national competitions, participated in young artist programs, and begun professional careers. As a teacher, Mr. Storojev has also presented master classes around the world in Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, and Mexico, as well as in the United States.
Professor of Voice
Darlene Wiley has been critically acclaimed on three continents for her work in lieder, opera and oratorio. She began her career as lyric coloratura at the Staatstheater Darmstadt performing over 50 roles in such operas as I Pagliacci,Die Zauberflute, Don Pasquale, Tales of Hoffmann, La Traviata and Le Nozze di Figaro. A veteran of over 1500 performances Ms. Wiley has sung at over 25 opera houses, including Mannheim, Wiesbaden, Kassel, Mainz, Ulm and Kiel. As an oratorio performer she has sung with the Radio Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt, the Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Dallas Symphony and the Austin Symphony. In 1985 she gave her first Carnegie Hall Recital featuring the lieder of Mozart and Strauss. Her lieder performances and recordings of Schubert, Haydn, Mozart and Schumann with pianist Nancy Garrett are highly acclaimed. She has been heralded as ” a thrilling Nedda…. amazingly sung… passionately acted.” (Opern Welt) “With sassy charm and convincing Chaplinesque style, this graceful soprano is the ideal Rossini coloratura.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) Darlene Wiley’s broadcasting credits include PBS, Canadian Broadcasting, KUT, KLRU’s Front Row Center, Deutschefunk, Hessischer Rundfunk, Seoul Educational Broadcasting, and WFMT. She is currently Professor of Voice at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the CASA Vocal Arts Lab and supervisor of the DMA Vocal Pedagogy Program. She has given many Master Classes including Taejon, Seoul, Chuncheon, Pusan, Ulsan, Korea, University of Missouri, University of Kansas, Augustana College, Bluffton College, Pittsburg State University, Chopin Conservatory, Warsaw, L’Ecole du Opera, Liceo, Barcelona, Darmstadt, Germany,Oklahoma State University, College of Wooster, Akron University, University of West Virginia, Salzburg, Austria.Awards include that of Distinquished Professor at Myong Ji University, Seoul, Korea and Sook Myong University, Seoul, Korea. Several of her current and former students are emerging as artists in their own right including appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, Salzburg Festspiele, Washington Opera, Los Angeles Opera, St. Louis Opera, City Opera of New York.