Tier I Judge
Michael Colbruno is a partner in the Milo Group of California, a public affairs firm focused on the new economy. He is founder of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Corporate Counsel and is currently a board member of the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, the UC Theatre and the Opera Parallèle Advisory Board. He recently commissioned two new works by composer Clint Borzoni for string quartet and baritone that were premiered by Musica Marin. He also produced Beer & Baroque, BooM BooM Baroque, the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's opera Green Sneakers and a concert of living American composers.
Tier I Judge
An alumna of San Francisco Opera Center’s Adler Fellowship program, Nicolle Foland sang many roles with San Francisco Opera, including Musetta in La bohème and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. She has sung the role of Violetta in La traviata with Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and has performed with Los Angeles Opera, Opera Bilbao in Spain, and Seattle Opera as Musetta. She has debuted other leading roles with New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Santa Fe Opera. Orchestral appearances include the San Francisco Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is also an avid recitalist, appearing on performing arts series throughout the U.S. Ms. Foland received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Iowa.
Tier I & II Judge
Renowned operatic soprano Patricia Craig serves on both the faculty of the New England Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory. Her performing career spanned three decades in leading opera houses around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut in 1978 and returned in a variety of leading roles. Craig teaches at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Austria, The Chautauqua Institute, and The Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI). She serves on the board of both Opera Boston and AIMS.
Tier II Judge
Zachary Gordin is renowned for bringing masterful singing and strong physicality to a wide variety of roles: from baroque heroes to contemporary works written specifically for him. Recent operatic highlights include Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Dayton Opera and Shreveport Opera, Silvio in I Pagliacci with Sacramento Opera, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas and Germont in La traviata with West Bay Opera, and Escamillo in Carmen with Diablo Symphony. Concert performances include: “Deck the Hall” with San Francisco Symphony, Monteverdi’s Magnificat with Michael Tilson Thomas and SFS to open SoundBox, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, Fauré’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with the Oakland Symphony, Bach’s Cantata #82 with the Sacramento Philharmonic, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with orchestras and choruses across the US. In addition to having an active private vocal studio, Gordin is on the voice faculty at Sonoma State University and serves as artistic consultant to several performing arts organizations.
Tier I Judge
An alumnus of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Mr. Katsman received his M.M. from St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory and his B.M. cum laude from Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia. Alexander Katsman is the Artistic and Music Director for Livermore Valley Opera and also serves on the coaching staff at the San Francisco Conservatory. Conducting and coaching credits include over 60 opera, operetta, and musical theater productions in numerous companies such as Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera, Martinez Opera, Bayshore Lyric Opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera, Oakland Lyric Opera, Solo Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Opera Academy of California, Peninsula Teen Opera, Diablo Light Opera, Town Hall Theater, and also at Cal State University East Bay and Diablo Valley College. Recently Alexander was rehearsal conductor for Castleton Festival’s Berkeley performances of Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia. He was also Artistic Director for the Alexander Vocal Series, premier vocal recital series in Piedmont, California.
Tier I Judge
Michael Morgan is music director and conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and serves as artistic director of Oakland Youth Orchestra, conductor emeritus at Sacramento Philharmonic, artistic advisor to the Peoria Symphony and teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a guest conductor, Morgan has appeared with most of America's major orchestras as well as the New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater and Washington National Opera. He makes many appearances in schools throughout the year and is highly regarded as a champion of arts education and minority access to the arts.
Tier II Judge
César Ulloa is an internationally recognized teacher whose students perform regularly at major operatic and concert stages of the world. He is full time professor of voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he received in 2014 the Sarlo Family Award for Excellence in Teaching. For the past ten years he has held the position of master teacher at the renowned Adler and Merola opera programs of the San Francisco Opera. His students appear in virtually every major young artist program including, Merola, Santa Fe, Glimmerglass, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia, Minnesota, Domingo-Thornton, MET Lindemann, Wolftrap and Domingo-Cafritz. His students have been First Prize winners at the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Operalia, Montseratt Caballé, Loren Zachary, George London, Iturbi, Veronica Dunne, Richard Tucker and finalists in Cardiff Singer of the World.
After an international opera and concert career that spans over 15 years and with more than 50 roles in his repertoire, his singing career brought him to the NY City Opera, Washington Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera, L'Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony and Cleveland Symphony, among numerous others. He studied voice with Thomas Hayward and Franco Corelli.
Ofer dal Lal
Tier II Judge
Ofer dal Lal is Artistic Director of the International Award Winning Cantabella Children's Chorus, an organization that provides high-level musical education to over 200 children in the Tri-Valley area. He first came into prominence as the musical director and conductor of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir – an organization of five choirs consisting of 150 singers and one of Israel’s leading non-professional choirs. He relocated to California after completing a master's degree magna cum laude in conducting at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel-Aviv.
Among the choirs he has conducted are the world renowned Berlin Radio Choir (Germany), Salt Lake Vocal Artists (Utah, USA), Israel Philharmonic Choir (Israel), Voces Nordicae (Sweden), Studium Canticum (Cagliari, Italy) and Manado State University Choir (Indonesia).
In August 2013 he was selected as one of 12 conductors from all over the world to take part in a special project entitled "Conducting 21C: Musical Leadership for a New Century", part of the Music and Humanity Symposium in Stockholm. Mr. dal Lal has participated in prestigious masterclasses with celebrated conductors and has been granted excellence scholarships by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation since 2009.