AVA 23.24 Season Press Release

July 11, 2023



AVA singers to also be heard with Opera Philadelphia, Ocean City Pops and in Milford, PA 

(July 11, 2023) Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia’s prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts announces their thrilling 2023/2024 opera season. The season, which is AVA’s 89th, kicks off with a stunning production of Gaetano Donizetti’s masterwork Anna Bolena, followed by Benjamin Britten’s hauntingly beautiful The Rape of Lucretia and ending with Gioachino Rossini’s beloved comic masterpiece, Il barbiere di Siviglia (“The Barber of Seville”). Also returning this season is the annual Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, New Artists Recital, Winter Recital, and Farewell Recital.  

“We are incredibly excited to present this remarkable lineup to our audiences,” said Scott Guzielek, President and Artistic Director. “The combination of Donizetti’s passionate tragedy, Britten’s deeply introspective work, and Rossini’s uproarious comedy offers a diverse and captivating experience for all.”

Prior to the official launch of the new season, AVA singers can also be heard in concert with several other organizations.

Ocean City Pops’ “Opera Superstars of Tomorrow” 

Join Maestro Vince Lee and the Ocean City Pops for a dazzling concert along the shoreline, featuring AVA singers Jenny Anne Flory and Angel Raii Gomez.

Opera! Pike! Park!

Live opera will once again fill the air in Milford, PA on August 27, 2023 in a free Opera! Pike! Park! concert on the lawn of the Ann Street Park in Milford Borough. Classic arias, Neapolitan songs, and Broadway tunes will be performed by AVA singers.

Opera Philadelphia’s O23 Festival 

AVA returns to Opera Philadelphia’s O23 Festival, with the “Afternoon at AVA” series. This year’s recitals will take place at AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater on: 

Singers and repertoire to be announced later this summer.

Located in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, AVA’s student body is intentionally small and admission is highly competitive. More than 200 singers from across the globe audition each year for the fewer than eight spots available in each class. The program is limited to fewer than 30 total Resident Artists, who are immersed in a uniquely intensive and highly personalized program where they learn from world-renowned faculty. They receive training in voice, vocal repertoire, acting, stage combat, opera history, several languages, and each year are presented in fully-staged opera productions accompanied by the professional AVA Opera Orchestra. They are cast in leading roles that they will in all likelihood continue to perform for the rest of their careers.

No other opera training program in the world rivals AVA’s success in developing individual artists whose extraordinary voices inspire millions on international stages. Numerous AVA alumni have won the Richard Tucker Award, five of the thirteen Beverly Sills Artist Awards presented by The Metropolitan Opera, and multiple alumni are Grammy Award winners.

AVA proudly counts among its alumni such distinguished international stars as Stephen Costello, Ellie Dehn, Joyce DiDonato, Joyce El-Khoury, Michael Fabiano, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Luis Ledesma, Angela Meade, Latonia Moore, James Morris, Corinne Winters, Stuart Neill, Ailyn Pérez, Ruth Ann Swenson, Taylor Stayton and Richard Troxell, and currently making their mark in the opera world, recent graduates Dominick Chenes, Scott Conner, Marina Costa-Jackson, André Courville, Othalie Graham, Alasdair Kent, Zachary Nelson, Musa Ngqungwana, Nicole Piccolomini, and Vanessa Vasquez.

Subscriptions to the 2023/24 season will be available to the general public soon, and single tickets will be available September 7, 2023 by phone and web.


Anna Bolena | Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

The six wives of Henry VIII have been a fascination around the world, prompting a plethora of factual and fictional accounts in a variety of mediums, including the popular Broadway musical Six! Anna Bolena, Gaetano Donizetti’s first opera to reach international acclaim, recounts the dying marriage and eventual execution of Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn in the glittering vocal brilliance that set Donizetti on his path to stardom.

Conductor: Steven White (AVA debut) 

Director: To be announced at a later time 

Unless otherwise noted, all performances start at 7:30 PM

This production is generously sponsored by Judith Broudy 

The Rape of Lucretia | Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Benjamin Britten’s controversial and bold chamber opera returns to the AVA stage for the first time since the 1997-98 Season. Britten’s retelling of the rape of the noblewoman Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinius is framed by the Male and Female Chorus describing the historical events and their viewpoint of the tragedy from a later era. Despite its small forces—employing only eight singers in its cast and an orchestra of thirteen players—The Rape of Lucretia has stunned audiences around the world with its evocative music since its premiere at Glydebourne in 1946.

Conductor: Christofer Macatsoris 

Director: Tara Faircloth (AVA debut) 

February 17, 20, 22, & 24, 2024 – All performances at AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater at 7:30 PM.

This production is generously sponsored by The Grey Charitable Trust.

Il barbiere di Siviglia | Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

Figaro, the titular barber of Seville, brings audiences along on his amusing adventure to outwit Doctor Bartolo from marrying the young and beautiful Rosina. Count Almaviva, who has come to Figaro for help, is truly in love with her, while Bartolo is only interested in her money. A battle of the wits ensues with many disguises and tricks, and in the end, both the Count and the Doctor get exactly what they want. Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is a timeless classic, with catchy tunes and endless laughs that will leave you humming and giggling long after the curtains close.

Conductor: To be announced at a later time 

Director: Jeffrey Buchman  

Choreographer/Assistant to the Director: Rosa Mercedes 

Unless otherwise noted, all performances start at 7:30 PM

Il barbiere di Siviglia will be sponsored by Victoria Eckert Zoellner


New Artists Recital – Free to all subscribers!

October 3, and 5, 2023 – AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater

Pianist and Music Director: José Meléndez 

Giargiari Bel Canto Competition

Let your voice be heard! An evening of vocal fireworks and beautifully sung arias awaits you! For over 40 years, this competition has showcased the brightest of up-and-coming opera stars. Join them for the annual favorite singing competition, where they’ll compete against each other in song. You’ll also have the opportunity to vote for your favorite singer!

October 13, 2023 – Perelman Theater, Kimmel Cultural Campus

Pianist and Music Director: Danielle Orlando

Generously sponsored by Walter and Alice Strine, Esqs.

Winter Recital 

We continue our exploration of art song, with an inventive performance in our intimate theater.

January 9 and 11, 2024 – AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater

Pianist and Music Director: Luke Housner 

Jubilate! A Concert of Sacred Music

Resident Artists will perform a selection of sacred music with Master Vocal Coach David Antony Lofton, conducting the AVA Opera Orchestra.

Music Director and Conductor: David Antony Lofton 

Farewell Recital – Free to all subscribers!

May 17, 2024 – Center City, The Church of The Holy Trinity

Pianist and Music Director: José Meléndez 

2023/24 RESIDENT ARTISTS (by voice type)



The mission of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is to be the world’s premier institution for training young artists as international opera soloists. Through rigorous instruction and coaching, and by presentations of Resident Artists from around the world in concerts, oratorios, public programs and fully staged professional opera productions, AVA will train artists with the high potential for career success while enriching lives in Philadelphia and beyond. Gifted singers come from throughout the world to seek the exceptional guidance and training that AVA offers. Admission is determined by competitive annual auditions. AVA is distinguished by its reputation for high quality performances that are acclaimed by critics locally, nationally and internationally. Each year AVA Resident Artists are presented in four or five fully-staged opera productions accompanied by orchestra. Resident Artists are cast in leading roles that they will in all likelihood continue to perform for the rest of their careers.

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