former General Director of San Francisco Opera, will join the judging panels for both Tier I and Tier II. Considered one of the major innovators of American opera, Gockley led San Francisco Opera from 2006 until his retirement last year, culminating a 44-year career as one of the most important opera impresarios in the world. Prior to San Francisco, he was General Director of Houston Grand Opera from 1972 to 2005.
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.
Ofer dal Lal
Ofer dal Lal is a conductor living in the Bay Area and working internationally. He was just named Artistic Director of WomenSing and recently joined the faculty of California State University East Bay, teaching choral conducting for graduate and undergraduate students. Mr. dal Lal 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 ensembles he has conducted are the world-renowned Stuttgart Chamber Choir and Classical Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany), Berlin Radio Choir (Germany), Oregon Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra (Oregon, USA), 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.
Ms. Fisher has performed to critical acclaim in such cities as Paris, Vienna, Prague, Hamburg, Chicago and Dallas. Press reviews remark on her "amazingly precise coloratura, melting diminuendi, splendid high notes and delightful musicality" (Opernwelt) and her "mature timbre and total self-assurance... an extremely exciting singer-actress" (Westdeutsche Zeitung). As a Fulbright Scholar and recipient of a Rotary Foundation grant, she completed graduate studies in voice at the University of Vienna. She sang under contract with the Wuppertal Opera for several years and was heard as a guest artist throughout Europe. Most recently, Ms. Fisher was featured in the solo cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen at the Bravo Bach! festival at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Sacramento. She appeared as Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Sacramento Opera (February 2009), and as Pamina in The Magic Flute with Townsend Opera Players (January 2009). At the Mondavi Center in Davis, she was the soprano soloist in Elijah with the U.C. Davis Symphony and Chorus (March 2009), a featured soloist in an all Bach concert with the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra (March 2009), and collaborated in a late-Renaissance program with Sex Chordae Consort of Viols (March 2009). Ms. Fisher edited The Selected Writings of John Duke, published in 2007 by Scarecrow Press, and prepared a new edition of the 3-volume work, American Art Song & American Poetry in 2011, with a foreword by Thomas Hampson. She is currently Professor of Voice at Sacramento State University.
Known for her soaring voice and richly nuanced characters, soprano Carrie Hennessey is consistently thrilling audiences and critics in opera and concert appearances around the world. Ms. Hennessey’s much awaited debut in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire “gave us a Blanche that let us burrow into her character’s soul, even into the darkest crevices…Hennessey, using a one-two punch of music and drama, made it resonate in a way that equaled the finest stage performances of the part I’ve seen.” Recent engagements include her debut with the Houston Symphony, NYC debut in Poulenc’s French melodrama La Voix Humane as well as European appearances at Reduta Hall in Bratislava, Rudolfinum Hall in Prague, the International Mahler Festival in Jihlava, Czech Republic, Concertgebouw in Bruges, Ypres, Belgium and at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Germany.
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.
This year’s teacher for the Tier II master class on June 23 will be mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski. We are excited to welcome Clara back after her wonderful performances at With a Song in My Heart, our February fundraising dinner concert at C’era Una Volta restaurant in Alameda. Based in Minneapolis, Clara is an active soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. Last month, she became the first ever American prize winner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff’s International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germany. A passionate advocate of art song, Clara serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Source Song Festival, a week-long art song festival in Minneapolis. Now in its fourth season, this festival strives to create and perform new art songs, and cultivate an educational environment for students of song, including composers, vocalists, and collaborative pianists. For more information on this wonderful artist, please visit www.claraosowski.com. There you will also find links to performances, including the Das Lied finals with pianist Tyler Wottrich, who will accompany her master class and this year’s Tier II competition finals.
Mark Streshinsky has created many productions for West Edge Opera, starting in 2003 with Eugene Onigin and continuing with productions of Legend of the Ring, Xerxes, Ariadne auf Naxos and many others. Nationally, Mark has been on the staging staffs of several large companies including San Francisco Opera, The Dallas Opera, Los Angeles Opera and New York City Opera. He has directed his own productions for Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Seattle Opera, Dallas Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Boston Baroque, Cincinnati Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. For the Reina Sofia Opera House in Valencia, Spain he directed Massenet’s Manon. Mark has worked with students at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Yale Graduate School of Opera and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Outside of the opera world, Mark has an association with The Crucible center for industrial art where he has created several fire performances, most recently “Machine” -- a fire opera for which he wrote the libretto and directed and produced the huge fiery production.
Andrew Whitfield, Resident Conductor and Chorus Master is Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master for Puccini's La bohème. Mr Whitfield joined the music staff of Opera San Jose in 2011 and has since worked on 21 productions. He made his conducting debut at Opera San José in a double bill of La voix humaine and Pagliacci, and has subsequently returned to the podium for The Pearl Fishers, Il trovatore, Hansel and Gretel, Rigoletto, L’Italiana in Algeri, Die Zauberflöte, Tosca, Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen as well as Falstaff and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for which he served as principal conductor. In 2012 Mr. Whitfield joined the music staff of the San Francisco Opera for their production of Lohengrin and returned this fall as prompter for the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber. In addition to his work with Opera San Jose and San Francisco Opera, Whitfield has also worked with the Freemont Symphony, Magik*Magik Orchestra, Festival Opera and Monterey Opera and is the assistant director of the Concert Choir at the San Francisco Boys Chorus.