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FACULTY

Jesus Leon | General Director

Jesus Leon | General Director

Our Founder and General Director of the Vienna Opera Academy and Festival is from Hermosillo, Mexico. He studied in the United States at the UCLA Opera Studio, the Boston Opera Institute and was a member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera. In Italy he studied at the Solti Accademia di bel Canto, and for two years under the guidance of the soprano Mirella Freni at her Modena Academy with a Nicolai Ghiaurov scholarship. He specializes in bel canto roles and has sung the lead tenor roles at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Opéra de Nice, Opera de Toulon, Opera Comique, Maggio Musicale Florentine in Florence, Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Opera di Firenze, Teatro Regio in Parma, Teatro Luciano Pavarotti in Modena, Korea National Opera Seoul, Daegu Opera House, Theatre du Châtelet, Scottish Opera, Garsington Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Atlanta Opera and has just returned from singing Alfredo at Minnesota Opera. He currently lives in Vienna.

Toby Purser | Music Director

Toby Purser | Music Director

Winning universal critical praise, Toby Purser’s work this season was nominated for an Olivier Award and an International Opera Award. Appointed Music Director of New Sussex Opera last year, he has recently worked with companies including English National Opera (also as holder of an ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellowship), Lyric Opera Ireland, Grange Park Opera, Opéra National de Paris, and Opera della Luna. For ENO he conducted Turn of the Screw, The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata, and was Assistant Conductor on Lulu, the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s Winter’s Tale, and Julian Anderson’s Thebans. He was Assistant Conductor at the Opèra National de Paris on Eugene Onegin, and on Tristan und Isolde at Longborough Festival. He is conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Jesús León’s CD Bel Canto.

Helen Lepalaan - Casting Director from Estonian National Opera

Helen Lepalaan - Casting Director from Estonian National Opera

Member of Association of Estonian Professional Musicians

Mezzo-soprano Helen Lepalaan graduated in singing from Estonian Academy of Music with Ludmilla Issakova in 2000. She continued her singing studies in 2000/2001 with Udo Reinemann at Amsterdam Conservatory and in 2001–2004 under the guidance of Mya Besselink at Maastricht Academy of Music. She has improved privately her skills with Monika Hauswalter and Charlotte Margiono. Her present singing couch is Snezaana Stamenkovic.

Helen Lepalaan works as an International Relations and Casting Manager of Estonian National Opera and since 2013 as a lecturer of Voice Department of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

In 2006–2008, Helen Lepalaan was contracted for two seasons at Opera Zuid in Netherlands where she performed leading roles in George Bizet’s Carmen, Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon (Prince) and Gioachino Rossini’s Barbier of Seville (Rosina). For these performances, which were also performed at the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, she received high critical acclaim in the national and international press.

Since 2008, Lepalaan is a freelance singer and performs in different opera theatres. She has participated in productions of Belgian opera company Idée Fixe, Royal Opera of Wallony, Rotterdam, Theatre of Koblenz, Heidelheim Opera Festival, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Estonian National Opera.

Her opera roles also include Pastuchina (Leoš Janáček’s Jenůfa, Opera Zuid), Blanche (Sergei Prokofiev’s The Gambler), Carmela (Manuel de Falla’s La vida breve), Cherubino (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro), 2nd Lady (Mozart’s The Magic Flute), Kate Pinkerton and Suzuki (Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Idée Fixe, Belgium), Polina (Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame, Estonian National Opera), Olga (Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin), Volpino (Joseph Haydn’s The Apothecary), Valet (Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka), Clarice (Rossini’s La pietra del paragone), Maddalena (Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, Royal Opera of Wallony), Frugola (Il tabarro), Abtiss (Sour Angelica) and La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi) from Giacomo Puccini’s Il trittico (Zuidi Ooper), mezzo roles in Maurice Ravel’s opera L'enfant et les sortilèges (Rotterdam, Holland) and solo part in Claude Debussy’s Le Martyre de saint Sébastien, Carmen (Bizet’s Carmen, Theatre of Koblenz, Heidelheim Opera Festival, Estonian National Opera), Orlofsky (Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Welsh National Opera), Dorabella (Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Welsh National Opera), Sesto (Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, Opera North), Julius Caesar (Georg Friedrich Händel’s Julius Caesar, Estonian National Opera), Armida (Händel’s Rinaldo, Estonian National Opera), The Daughter (Hindemith's Cardillac, Estonian National Opera). In June 2018, Helen Lepalaan participated in the performance of Rudolf Tobias’s oratorio „Jonah“, the premiere of the author’s Estonian language version and original orchestration in Estonia.

Vito Cristofaro | Conductor / Music Coaching

Vito Cristofaro | Conductor / Music Coaching

Vito Cristofaro is 1st Kapellmeister and deputy General Music Director at the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater in Oldenburg . From 2010 to 2014 he was Kapellmeister at the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck. He was the music director of the 3. and 4. Lech International Music Festival in Lech am Arlberg and of the “Sommertraum” Festival in Semmering. As an assistant conductor, he worked in several festivals including Opernair Gars, Spoleto’s “50t h Festival dei due Mondi” and OperKlosterneuburg. After graduating as a pianist and violinist in Italy, he graduated in orchestral conducting with Mark Stringer at the University of Music in Vienna. He conducted orchestras such as the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Varna State Opera Orchestra and performed moreover at Musikverein in Vienna, Theater Augsburg, Konzert Theater Bern, Komische Oper in Berlin.

Alessandro Pagliazzi | Conductor & Vocal coach

Alessandro Pagliazzi | Conductor & Vocal coach

M ° Alessandro Pagliazzi (conductor / piano) - Born in Florence, Alessandro Pagliazzi, son of a family of opera singers, first studied piano at the "G. Frescobaldi" Conservatory in Ferrara, graduated with honors and made a name for himself as an opera accompanist at numerous concerts.

He studied choir conducting with M ° R.Gabbiani and conducting at the "Conservatory of the City of Vienna" with GMD Prof. R.Schwarz and Prof. G.Mark. He graduated in 1999 "cum laude". Master classes with Prof. Ervin Acél, V. Fedosejev and Gianfranco Rivoli.

His artistic career began at the "Nico Malan Opera Theater" in Cape Town in "Carmen" and "Aida". Since then, Alessandro Pagliazzi has directed numerous concerts and opera productions. One of the highlights of his artistic career was his engagement at the “Bolshoi Theater” in Moscow, where he was the choir conductor and assistant to the chief conductor. There he conducted Puccini's “Turandot” and “Falstaff” with great success. He worked as an opera conductor in Austria, as 2nd Kapellmeister at the Baden stage, in St. Margarethen, Gars am Kamp, Bratislava, Kosice, Neuchatel (Switzerland) and also in Norway, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania and Greece.

He was often invited as a juror at international competitions, and led singing master classes in Switzerland, Norway and Lithuania. He also works as a voice coach in Vienna, working with artists of the KS. Peter Dvorsky and KS. Neil Shicoff worked together.

Viktoria Loukianetz | Soprano / Vocal Coach

Viktoria Loukianetz | Soprano / Vocal Coach

Victoria Loukianetz was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev and started her musical education at the early age of five with piano lessons. She began to study voice at the age of 14 and went on to complete her degree in vocal performance at the Kiev Conservatory of Music in 1989. In the same year she began her professional career at the Kiev National Opera, making her debut as Marfa in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride*. She made her debut in the same role at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1993. In 1990 she won first prize at the "Min-On' International singer competition in Tokyo and at the international "Mozart Competition" in Vienna. In 1991 she was awarded first prize at the international "Maria Callas - Competition" in Athens. Debuts in Italy, France, Portugal, Japan and Greece followed.

Victoria Loukianetz first attracted international recognition for her debut performance of Violetta in the new production of "La Traviata" conducted by Riccardo Muti at the Salzburg Music Festival.

Noe Colin | Bass-baritone / Vocal Coach

Noe Colin | Bass-baritone / Vocal Coach

Noé Colín, Mexican-Austrian bass-baritone, has sung at numerous known Opera Houses around the world and has worked with famous singers and conductors including Placido Domingo, Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, Christoph Eschenbach, Pier Giorgio Morandi, Marcello Viotti, Edoardo Müller and Riccardo Chailly. Noe Colin embodies comic and serious characters (Falstaff-Verdi, Leporello-Mozart, Barak-Strauss, Amfortas-Wagner with a total of 65 roles) with great acting skills and has sung with much success in Opera Houses like the Volksoper in Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam,   National Opera Finnland, Zurich Opera House , Tchaikovsky Concert Hall – Moscow, National Opera of Mexico, among others.

Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis | Coaching Stage Performance (MTR)

Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis | Coaching Stage Performance (MTR)

Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis is a collaborative pianist, educator and scholar who performs regularly in both the U.S. and Europe. He is Senior Lecturer at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (Department of Voice/Opera) and also teaches at Vienna Konservatorium. He served as an Assistant Professor in Residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and in  2012 he was a Martin Luther King, Jr.-César Chávez-Rosa Parks Visiting Professor of Music at the University of Michigan. Dr. Polychronidis was on the Collaborative Piano Faculty of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria and often performs at the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, of which he is an alumnus.

Combining the best elements of the European and American musical traditions, he is equally at home in the art song and the operatic repertoire as well as in chamber music. He has been in demand as a collaborative pianist and coach, and has performed in Austria, Germany, Greece, Holland, Slovakia, Belgium, England and the U.S.  Polychronidis is one of the official Pianists for the Hilda Zadek International Voice Competition, the Belvedere Voice Competition and the Johannes Brahms International Competition in Poertschach, Austria. He received his Bachelor in Musical Studies from the University of Athens with emphasis on ethnomusicology and historical musicology. He obtained his M.A. in Solo Piano and Collaborative Piano from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. Next, he studied with Martin Katz at the University of Michigan where he was awarded his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in Collaborative Piano. While at Michigan he accompanied the studio classes of George Shirley and the late Shirley Verrett. During his U.S. studies Dr. Polychronidis was supported by a Fulbright and an Onassis scholarship. He has completed two Postdoctoral Programs at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, in Lied accompanying and Chamber music, with Charles Spencer and Roswitha Heintze respectively.

Jeremy Cooke | Pianist Repetiteur

Jeremy Cooke | Pianist Repetiteur

Jeremy Cooke was born in Colchester, Essex in 1970. After reading music at New College, Oxford he spent two years on the piano accompaniment course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with the assistance of the Countess of Munster Trust. His teachers there included Graham Johnson, Nelly Ben-Or and Gordon Back, and he played for masterclasses given by Elisabeth Soderstrom and Kurt Equiluz as well as participating in an exchange with the Paris Conservatoire. Jeremy has performed widely accompanying for many recitals, competitions and concerts with soloists such
as David Wilson-Johnson and the cellist Michael Evans. He has also worked as a repetiteur for European Chamber Opera, Garsington Opera, Pimlico Opera, Grange Park Opera and the Royal Opera House.

Karin Hofer | Head of Operations & Arts Management

Karin Hofer | Head of Operations & Arts Management

Karin Hofer is a classically trained Italian pianist, piano pedagogue and opera chorus singer with German as her mother tongue and Italian as a second language. At the Wiener Festspiele she holds a leading position in Communication and Performing Arts Management.

As part of her previous artistic activities in the opera choir, she has worked at the Salzburger Festspiele, Easter and Whitsun Festival in the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden (D), Oper im Steinbruch St. Margarethen, Bregenzer Festspiele, Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck, Grand Theater de Luxembourg, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Konzerthaus, Musikverein Wien, Berliner Philharmonie, deSingel Antwerpen, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Styriarte and in the Gustav Mahler Choir of the Vienna State Opera.

In addition to her artistic studies of piano, singing and music pedagogy at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, as well as Italian at the University of Vienna, she acquired her third bilingual (English, Italian) Master’s degree in Performing Arts Management at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala di Milano in June 2020. In autumn 2021 she also completed the academical specialication for Music Theater Mediation at the Mozarteum Salzburg, the Komische Oper Berlin and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin with honors.

Mona Lands | Executive Assistant

Mona Lands | Executive Assistant

Pianist Mona Lands is a graduate of Mills College and received her Masters Degree in Accompanying at USC. She has been an accompanist and coach at California State Northridge, California State L.A., the Aspen Opera Theater Center, Opera Pacific’s Overture Company, the Ezio Pinza Council (EPCASO) summer program, Guild Opera, and for the Metropolitan Opera Palm Springs Showcase Concerts. Ms. Lands was also the accompanist for the Angeles Chorale and the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition.

She has been the accompanist and Music Director for the Palm Springs Opera Guild, and for the Opera Buffs Inc., and Artistic Director for the José Iturbi International Music Competition. As a member of UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, she worked as a vocal coach and as Coordinator of Opera and Accompanying until her recent retirement from UCLA.

Aliopera Management

Aliopera Management

Audition / Consultation.

Agency based in Milano and Berlin. Worldwide management for opera singers, conductors and stage directors.
aliopera was established in 1985. It's an agency for opera singers, conductors, directors and opera professionals of all types. It is based in Milan and provides world wide service in the field of opera. Our contacts with the best theatres around the world guarantee a complete service from promotion to finalising the contract.

aliopera has chosen to represent a limited and select number of clients, affording each individual maximum attention. The agency provides both a professional and caring service to every client throughout his or her career.

James Black Management

James Black Management

Consultation / Feedback
James Black will be sharing his expertise with audition advice and feedback, a Presentation / Q & A session, and individual consultations.
Following thirteen years as a professional singer, highlights including Francisco Negrin’s production of Giulio Cesare at the Royal Danish Opera and the premiere of Knaifel’s Alice in Wonderland at the Dutch National Opera, James Black established James Black Management for the international management of singers and conductors in opera and concert as a full time concern in 2006. He also values his work with young singers, undertaking sessions with, among others, students at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Fabbrica of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and the Studio at The Israeli Opera.

Helmut Fisher Management

Helmut Fisher Management

Audition / Consultation

Helmut Fischer Artists International provides personal management to acclaimed opera stars as well as young, emerging artists. Founded in 2006 Helmut Fischer and Simone Lauterbour carefully develop the careers or their artists, establishing them at the most prestigious opera houses, concert venues and festivals worldwide.