Steffano De Peppo
Bass-baritone was born in Italy and made his professional debut in London in 1990. He has sung at major Opera Houses in Italy, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Israel, England, Finland, France. In the USA he sang at Los Angeles Opera, Washington Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, Carnegie Hall in NYC, Opera Naples, Sarasota Opera, and other venues. He resides in New York City. He is a specialist of the buffo roles of the Italian repertory of 19th century and known for the richness of his voice and as a talented singing-actor. He is also known for his crisp diction and sense of phrasing in all operatic roles he has sung, and because of this, he is often invited for Masterclasses or private classes on Italian diction and Italian repertory for young and advanced singers. He recently performed the 2 roles of Bartolo both in “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Barber of Seville” at Colorado Opera, the Stepfather in Rossini’s “Cinderella” at Miami Lyric Opera and Don Pasquale at Bellas Artes Opera in Mexico City.
Sherrill Milnes is universally acclaimed as the foremost operatic baritone of his generation. With his powerful voice, commanding stage presence and rugged handsomeness, he received the kind of adulation that is usually reserved for tenors. He sang over 650 performances at the Met, where he was honored with sixteen new productions, seven opening nights, and ten national telecasts. As a leading artist in all of the world’s great opera houses, Mr. Milnes performed and recorded with the likes of Domingo, Pavarotti, Sutherland, Sills, Horne, Price, and Tebaldi. He is the winner of three Grammy Awards, and the most recorded American singer of his time. In 2008 he received the Opera News Award for Distinguished Achievement. Born on January 10, 1935 in Downers Grove, Illinois, Sherrill Milnes made his critically acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera on December 22, 1965 as Valentin in Faust, an auspicious night that also featured the Met debut of Montserrat Caballé. He was launched to stardom, however, in 1968, when his riveting performance as Miller in Verdi’s Luisa Miller literally stopped the show at the Met and immediately made him the dominant baritone of his time. Throughout his remarkable career, Mr. Milnes showed an affinity for Verdi, whose works formed the cornerstone of a repertoire of some 70 roles. His autobiography, American Aria: Encore, is available from Amadeus Press. Driven by his dedication to make the vocal arts vibrant, vital and entertaining in today’s world, Mr. Milnes continues to give masterclasses, judge competitions, and mentor new generations of singers. With his wife, Maria Zouves, he co-founded and runs the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs: VOICExperience Foundation and the Savannah VOICE Festival, which provide training and performance opportunities for aspiring young artists while fostering new audiences for the arts.
Pianist Alexandra Naumenko is a highly sought-after artist and opera collaborator who enjoys an exciting career as a pianist and vocal coach. She has served on the music staff of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera and has taught at festivals and summer programs including International Vocal Arts Institute, Miami Summer Music Festival, Opera Naples Academy, amongst others. From 2014 to 2017 Ms. Naumenko was a faculty member of the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Ms. Naumenko’s students have been finalists and winners of major vocal competitions such as Metropolitan Opera National Finals, Belvedere Singing Competition, Queen Sonja International Music Competition, as well as members of young artist programs such as Santa Fe, Merola, Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, and Chicago Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center. As a 2013 The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program graduate, Ms. Naumenko worked under the baton of Maestro James Levine and also accompanied for master classes and workshops led by artists such as Maestro Fabio Luisi, Sir Thomas Allen, Ramon Vargas, Gerald Finley, Carol Vaness, Renata Scotto, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Eric Owens, Luca Pisaroni, Dwayne Croft, Matthew Polenzani, John Fisher and Stephen Wadsworth. In 2008 Naumenko was the head coach for the Bolshoi’s production of Eugene Onegin that opened the season at the Opera Garnier de Paris. Widely acclaimed as a recitalist, she has performed in numerous recitals and concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Israel and Japan.Ms. Naumenko holds degrees from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance.
A consummate and in-demand voice teacher, Perez has discovered, nurtured and presented many of the top vocal talents emerging today. Singers from the Manny Perez vocal studio have graced many of the world’s greatest stages including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florida Grand Opera, as well the Teatro Solis in Uruguay, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico, La Scala, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, The Royal Opera House, Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires, Ópera de Oviedo,Opera Royal de Wallonie-Liege and Teatro Comunale di Bologna, to name a few. His students pursue and enjoy national and international opera careers and have included Eglise Gutierrez, Elizabeth Caballero, Mabel Ledo, Susana Diaz, Megan Moore, Maria Brea, Matthew Maness, Elaine Alvarez, Sandra Lopez, Clayton Matthews, Eduardo Aladren, Armando Naranjo, Betsy Diaz, Martin Nusspaumer, Maria Antunez, Maria Aleida Rodriguez, Nathalie Avila, Jennifer Zamorano, Carolina Castells, Megan Barrera, Gerardo Ortega, Sandra Marante, Ray Gonzalez, Hector Mir, Evelyn Saavedra, Peter Rivera, Katiuska Rodriguez and Marinel Cruz. Students from the Perez vocal studio have been accepted in the 2018/2019 season to The Juilliard School artist diploma program, CCM artist diploma program, the Song Fest Professional Fellow, Chicago Opera Theater professional diploma program, Oberlin, The University of Miami and New England Conservatory and in past seasons to the Academy of Vocal Arts, The San Francisco Conservatory and the Mannes School of Music. Perez has served as Director of Vocal Studies for the Miami Summer Classical Music Festival since 2014 and was guest Faculty at the May/2019 Sherril Milnes Voice Experience program, The Opera Naples Academy since 2017, Washington National Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Barry University and the Audition Preparation Program held in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He has taught voice in Paris; Oviedo, Spain; Rome; Mexico; Verona; Leipzig; and Puerto Rico and with the advent of technology Skype, Facetime and Whats App are ways to work with students globally. Students from the Manny Perez Vocal Studio have been featured at The Adrienne Arsht Center’s production of Zarzuela Tonight!, Miami Symphony Orchestra’s (MiSO) A Night at the Opera, The Symphony of the Americas, The Doral Cultural Affairs Council Opera Evenings, The St. Hugh-Steinway Concert Series, Sunday Afternoons of Music, Orchestra Miami, The Florida Chamber Orchestra, Opera Naples, Vero Beach Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Pensacola Opera and St Petersburg Opera.OperaOpera, Florida Grand Opera, Tampa Opera and most recently with the temple Beth Am Alhambra Orchestra “Opera with Orchestra concert. Of the Miami Symphony Orchestra’s “A Night at the Opera” collaboration, South Florida Classical Review’s Dorothy Hindman remarked “the singers in Manny Perez’s studio demonstrate polished maturity. Anyone of them could go directly to a career with great success, and most have already made their professional debuts… Perez… has a knack for spotting talent. His coaching style was evident in every performance, in clear diction, seamless range, exceptional projection, and emotional characterizations.” Perez also occupied a prestigious seat on the Board of Directors of the Florida Grand Opera for over 10 years and has been a vocal instructor in the Jewish cantor community. Perez has been invited to teach Master classes in both the American Conference of Cantors and the Cantors Assembly Convention. Cantors in his studio include Alberto Mizrahi, Rachelle Nelson, Zach Mondrow, Ben Matis and Lisa Segal amongst others. A successful interpreter of opera, and Spanish music in his own singing career, Perez released two albums. In a review of Perez’ vocals, Evelio Taillacq wrote in the Spanish press “we are dealing with an interpreter with a beautiful timbre, with just measure and magnificent phrasing.”Perez continues to live and teach in his hometown of Miami. A graduate of Coral Gables Senior High School, Perez’s early years saw him as an active and varied student musician, playing tuba and conducting in the marching band, singing in the chorus and performing in musicals. Perez began his studies at Lamar University on a tuba scholarship, later completing his degree in Music Education from the University of Miami, as a scholarship student of voice. With dreams of becoming an opera singer, he joined the opera chorus of the Greater Miami Opera (now Florida Grand Opera) as a student in 1981, where he performed alongside idols including Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Perez later moved to New York continuing his vocal studies with acclaimed voice teacher Bill Schuman.
RAMÓN TEBAR is considered one of the leading Spanish conductors of his generation. Recently appointed new Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Valencia Symphony Orchestra in Spain for a first period of four years, he holds other positions in both America and Europe such as: Opera Naples (Artistic Director, 2014-…), Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia (Principal Guest Conductor, 2015-…); Florida Grand Opera (Music Director and Principal Conductor, 2010-…, being the first Spanish conductor to be appointed Music Director of an American opera company); Palm Beach Symphony (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, 2007-…); Santo Domingo Music Festival (2009-2015). Acclaimed for his musical versatility, compelling interpretations and orchestra building skills, conductor Ramón Tebar’s international reputation in both the opera and orchestral arenas continues to expand. Among the orchestras and opera companies he has conducted and will conduct are: Philharmonia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, St. Petersburg Symphony, Moscow State Symphony, Malasyan Philharmonic, Orchestre de Rouen, Het Gelders Orkest, Bulgarian National Radio Symphony, Munich Radio Symphony, Prague Philharmonia, Spanish National Orchestra (OCNE), Spanish Radio Television Orchestra (ORTVE), Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC), Galicia Symphony Orchestra (OSG), Valencia Orchestra,…Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro Regio di Parma, Cincinnati Opera, Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Kremlin Palace, Royal Festival Hall, Kölner Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Staatsoper,… Ramón Tebar has been recognized with various honors and awards, including the Henry C. Clark Conductor of the Year Award by Florida Grand Opera in 2010 and 2013, The Miami Herald as “Top 20 under 40” and “100 españoles by Marca España”. In 2014, he was bestowed the Cross of Officer of the Order of Mérito Civil in recognition of his cultural accomplishments by His Majesty, the King of Spain Felipe VI. Tebar has recorded for UNIVERSAL MUSIC, UNITEL CLASSICA and DECCA.
Discovered and guided in her beginnings by Renata Scotto, Verónica Villarroel received true praises from the specialized critics worldwide. Her career has developed in the most important venues in the world, such as Metropolitan Opera House, Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, Royal Albert Hall, Teatro Colónin Buenos Aires, New National Theater , Chatelete de Paris, to name a few. She has shared stages with artists such as Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, José Cura, Montserrat Caballé, Victoria from Los Angeles, Olga Borodina and many more. And renowned directors such as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Eduardo Miller, and on stage was directed by some like Bob Wilson, Franco Zefirelli, Emilio Sagi. Today she runs her own singing academy and a foundation that bears her name, through which she teaches and delivers her knowledge to the next generations.
MARIA ZOUVES is an educator, director, producer, and writer. She is Executive Director of the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs − VOIC Experience Foundation and the Savannah VOICE Festival – which she co-founded with her husband, Sherrill Milnes, to provide training for aspiring young artists and foster new audiences for the vocal arts. The Greek American soprano has sung leading roles in the regional U.S., made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1997, and has recorded under the VAI label. While Maria directs most of the concerts in the VOICE Programs and co-directed the new SVF opera commission, Ching’s Alice Ryley, a Savannah ghost story, she most recently directed Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, where the work first premiered and co-directed Le Nozze de Figaro with Sherrill Milnes this summer in Prague and Salzburg with Prague Summer Nights. She was recently seen in the title role of the premiere of Ching’s Anna Hunter: The Spirit of Savannah.Ms. Zouves has directed, taught, and produced events all around the world, having worked with the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI) in Montreal and Puerto Rico, the International Institute of Vocal Arts (IIVA) in Chiari, Italy, and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland. From 2007 to 2011, she served as Vice President and Associate General Director of Opera Tampa, the resident opera company of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. She has taught workshops at Southern Illinois University, Drake University and served as an interim opera director at Northwestern University. A sought-after clinician, particularly in career development, she has also aided young singers as a career liaison through her former feature, “A Conversation With…” in Classical Singer magazine.Ms. Zouves has sung leading roles with the Baltimore Opera, Florentine Opera, Memphis Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Orlando Opera, and the Pittsburgh Opera. The Stuttgarter Zeitung praised her “beautiful, lyric voice” and “a not to be surpassed ‘piano’ in the high register.” Opera News has described her voice as “creamy.” This Greek-American soprano shows great versatility in opera, on concert stages, and in crossover repertoire, with a specialty in classical and popular Greek music.
Opera Naples Academy
2020 - 2021 Opera Naples Academy
May 18-27, 2021
Voice Teachers: Manny Perez, Verónica Villarroel
Coaches: Alexandra Naumenko
Faculty: Sherrill Milnes, Ramón Tebar, Maria Zouves,
Steffano De Peppo
Program fee: $850.00
Partial and full scholarships are available to assist with the program fee as well as housing and travel to and from Naples, FL.
Sponsorship Opportunities Available.