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Music Director – Opera
A native New Yorker, David Stern is a born communicator. Whether conducting a major symphony orchestra, a baroque opera, teaching vocal master classes, or defending cultural activities, Stern rivets his musicians, students and audiences by sharing his strong musical convictions, his flexibility of approach and his belief that music is of essence and relevance in today’s world. As former music director of the Israel Opera and founder/director of the Paris-based opera studio and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, he not only is a performer but a musical figurehead in each of these communities.
David Stern is also frequent guest with orchestras around the globe. This season’s engagements include the Drottningholm Opera Festival, the Edmonton and Palm Beach Operas, the Vienna Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the National Orchestra of Mexico. He is a regular guest with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony, the Guangzhou Symphony as well as the China Philharmonic. He was appointed music director of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, a new international festival premiered in December 2014. Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife, violinist Katharina Wolff, and his two daughters.
Tenor Barry Banks’ outstanding facility in roles by Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti regularly takes him to the world’s leading opera houses. Current season highlights include his debut as Arnold (Guillaume Tell) at Welsh National Opera under Carlo Rizzi and a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to sing Don Narciso (Il turco in Italia) under Evelino Pidò. Other notable opera performances have included the title role in Mitridate and Don Narciso at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Ernesto (Don Pasquale) at the Royal Opera House; Count Almaviva at Staatsoper Unter den Linden; Idreno (Semiramide) at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and in his debut at Royal Danish Opera. The role of Don Ramiro (La cenerentola) saw his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Last season he sang Iago in Rossini’s Otello at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Salzburg Festival. With English National Opera, he has appeared as Edgardo (in David Alden’s acclaimed production of Lucia di Lammermoor), Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) and most recently, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto.
Emma Griffin is a theater and opera director based in Cincinnati and New York City. She is a frequent collaborator on new music/theater pieces; these projects include Phil Kline’s Out Cold & Zippo Songs at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Corey Dargel’s Removable Parts (winner of “Outstanding Performance Art Production” at NY Innovative Theater Awards) and Thirteen Near Death Experiences, and Susan Bernfield and Rachel Peters’ Stretch, a fantasia. Opera credits include: the world premiere of Charpentier’s La Fête du Ruel with the Catacoustic Consort; Jake Hegge’s Three Decembers at Atlanta Opera; Don Giovanni at Boston Lyric Opera; The Cunning Little Vixen and Les Mamelles de Tirésias at Juilliard Opera; and Wozzeck at the Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater. She was the Artistic Director of the OBIE-award winning Salt Theater, based in NYC. Highlights with Salt include Stage Door (FringeNYC Excellence Award as Best Director), The Cherry Orchard, Scenes from a Marriage and Conquest of the Universe. She has theater credits at many regional theaters including Perseverance Theater, Geva Theater Center, Syracuse Stage, Southern Rep, Actor’s Express, Virginia Stage, Williamstown Theater Festival. Currently, she is developing The Three Christs, a new work by composer Corey Dargel for the NEWSPEAK ensemble; and Joan Crawford, a new work composed by Phil Kline. Other upcoming work includes a new production of La Fancuilla del West at Opera Colorado. In 2014, she joined the faculty of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati as the Professor of Opera Stage Direction.