2015 Vocal Arts Festival Faculty
Martile Rowland, Artistic Director and Founder Martile Rowland was catapulted into the international opera scene with her unexpected debut (6 hours notice!) as Queen Elizabeth in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with Opera Orchestra of New York in Carnegie Hall. In the reviews that followed, Martile was praised for her agility, legato line, and high pianissimo by the New York Times and was compared to Monserrat Caballe, Joan Sutherland, and Maria Callas by Peter G. Davis of New York Magazine. Four months later, Martile made an equally harrowing Metropolitan Opera debut to assume the treacherous role of Elvira for Act II of Bellini’s I Puritani. Martin Bookspan’s review hailed her as the successor to Dame Joan Sutherland. During the years that followed, Martile sang in the world’s leading opera houses to rave reviews including returns to the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Opera de Nice, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico for four seasons, Rio de Janeiro’s National Theatre, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Paris’ Bastille, Frankfurt Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Guadalajara, and numerous seasons in leading European and American opera houses to include Atlanta Opera, San Diego Opera, Baltimore Opera, Minnesota Opera, Detroit Opera, Miami Opera and seven seasons with her home company, the Colorado Opera Festival. She also returned to Carnegie Hall as leading heroines in seven other productions. For the New York premier of Donizetti’s Poliuto in which Martile sang Paolina, Dame Joan Sutherland was in the audience and Martile was greeted personally backstage by her heroine, Dame Joan, and Maestro Bonynge. In Colorado Springs, Martile dedicates her energies to her private voice studio, whose high standards and stunning results earned her Classical Singer Magazine’s Teacher of the Year 2006. Her efforts as Founder/Artistic Director and Producer of Opera Theatre of the Rockies afford her the opportunity to focus on the award-winning Opera Theatre Goes to School, the Pikes Peak Opera League, and the training of young artists. Martile is also Artist in Residence at Colorado College. She makes her home in Colorado Springs with her husband of 38 years, James.
Steven LaCosse, Stage Director With a repertory that spans Le nozze di Figaro to The Fantasticks, Steven LaCosse has directed over 60 productions. He directed the southeastern premier of Ned Rorem’s Our Town as well as the American premiere of Pergolesi’s Lo frate ‘nnamorato. Of his recent production of Così fan tutte Classical Voice North Carolina said: “UNCSA’s Stage Director Steven LaCosse’s up-dating of Così, from the composer’s Europe in the 18th century to the United States in 1968, at the height of the countercultural revolution, will join my very short favorable list of such creative license re-stagings.” Anthony Tomassini, music critic for the New York Times praised his productions of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “An imaginative production of this opera, directed by Steven LaCosse, opened Saturday night at the Matthews Theater in the McCarter Theater Center on the Princeton University campus … Mr. LaCosse’s production, … demonstrated what can be achieved on a limited budget. Images of lush woods and starry nighttime skies were projected onto simple scrims and drops.” and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with: “ …So, all credit to the Princeton Festival for presenting a strong performance with an appealing cast in an imaginative, if traditional, production.” Recent productions include Porgy and Bess for the Princeton Festival, Der fliegende Hollander for Piedmont Opera, and Les contes d’Hoffmann and La finta giardiniera for the Fletcher Institute. Upcoming projects include Into the Woods, Die Fledermaus and The Consul. A committed educator, he has been resident opera stage director for the UNC School of the Arts for 15 years, and was awarded the University of North Carolina Board of Governor’s Teaching Award in 2011. Dr. LaCosse holds a bachelor in voice from Indiana University at South Bend, a master’s degree in voice from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree in opera stage direction from Indiana University, and a doctoral degree in voice from Indiana University.
James Allbritten, Conductor James Allbritten is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of both the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and Piedmont Opera. Recent productions include Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera The Crucible, which was sadly the last time the composer saw his work. Allbritten helped celebrate composer Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday this year with a production of Owen Wingrave for the Fletcher Opera institute. He looks forward to his first encounter with the music of Richard Wagner in the fall as Piedmont Opera produces The Flying Dutchman. James is originally from Louisville, KY, and he began his operatic career with Kentucky Opera. While a student in Louisville, he was invited to participate as one of the youngest artists in the San Antonio Arts Festival, where he was apprenticed to Boris Goldovsky. His conducting studies began at Indiana University under Jan Harrington, Robert Porco, and Thomas Dunn. While there he also worked with Glyndebourne Festival Opera conductor Bryan Balkwill, and MET stage directors, Fritz Busch and James Lucas. He moved to North Carolina in 1993 to join the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where his duties include Artistic Director of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, conductor of the Cantata Singers and The UNCSA Symphony Orchestra. He has led performances of works from Pergolesi’s Lo frate ‘nnamorato through Rorem’s Our Town. He has also led performances for Opera Theatre of the Rockies, including the award-winning production of The Marriage of Figaro, Opera Carolina, the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Carolina Chamber Orchestra. Allbritten spent four seasons as Music Director for NCSA’s Illuminations Festival on the Outer Banks, and led the UNCSA Festival Orchestra at Côte Vermeille and for the Flâneries Musicales d’Ete de Reims in France. A veteran of so many happy summers at VAS and last year’s VAF, he is happy to be back in the Springs. Maestro Allbritten has received numerous prestigious awards for his role as a musician and educator and has recently been named General Manager of the Piedmont Opera.
Daniel Brink, Music Director & Pianist Daniel served on the artistic staff of the Colorado Opera Festival from 1984 until its closure in 2000 and is currently Principal Coach/Accompanist and Music Director for Opera Theatre of the Rockies. Mr. Brink has been a member of the music faculty at Colorado College since 1987. Mr. Brink has been with the Colorado Springs Chorale since 1985 and was appointed Assistant Conductor in 1997. Daniel serves as a collaborative pianist with many of the area’s finest vocalists, and is Music Director for Colorado College Music Department’s opera and music theatre productions. Mr. Brink is considered one of the finest musicians and piano/vocal coaches in the region, and is greatly revered by all who have had the privilege to work with him. Mr. Brink has been named as Conductor of the Colorado Springs Chorale for the 2014-15 season.
Zetta Alderman, Choreographer Zetta began her training in Houston, Texas at the age of 8! She performed in theater, dance, television, film, print work and radio for the first 23 years of her career and spent the past 21 years mentoring young artists. Her background is filled with diversity from Classical Ballet training with Robert Joffrey, Tap with Maurice and Gregory Hines, Jazz with Luigi, Frank Hatchett, Robert Fosse and Gus Giordano and her primary dance training with Patsy Swayze (Houston Jazz Ballet Co.), James Clouser (Houston Ballet), and dramatic training with Chris Wilson. She landed her first national television commercial role for Ranch Style Chili at the age of 8! She also performed with the famed Theatre under the Stars before moving to NYC to accept a contract with Luigi’s Jazz Dance Company at the age of 16. While under contract with Theatre Under the Stars, she worked as assistant choreographer under Bill Hastings and performed in over 25 professional productions. Her favorite performance credits include the first international touring company of A Chorus Line and the film Urban Cowboy with Debra Winger and John Travolta. More recently she portrayed the role of Velma Kelly in Chicago for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. She founded the Colorado Jazz Dance Company in 1991 and has mentored hundreds of young artists, numbers of whom are professional performers. Zetta is also a licensed massage therapist. Alderman was also a member of the staff of the renowned Broadway Theatre Project last summer as Dance Faculty and Choreographer.