ISABELLA LUCHI, Soprano: Brazilian soprano Isa Luchi made her debut stepping into a production of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona in São Paulo. Since then, Isa has performed in major cities in Brazil, United States, Austria and Mexico. Luchi holds a MM - Vocal Performance from Azusa Pacific University, studio of Angela Blasi, and is currently a Professional Studies Diploma Candidate at the Cleveland Institute of Music, under the guidance of Dr. Mary Schiller.
In 2020, Luchi started teaching Yoga & Voice lessons for singers in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Russia, United States, among others, seeking to explore how yoga can support the development of vocal technique and performance. She founded SattVoice, a platform to promote well-being for performers - a project which was recently awarded at the 1st CIM2 Pitch Night Competition. Performance highlights include a concert at Carnegie Hall with Angels Vocal Art, featuring excerpts from Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore. In Cleveland, Luchi has been performing with the organization M.U.S.i.C - Stars in the Classics, and CIM opera productions. Past roles include the coloratura Miss Titmouse (Penhorwood’s Too Many Sopranos), Una Conversa (Suor Angelica), Susan (Berkeley’s A dinner engagement), Despina (Così fan tutte), and Berta (Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia). www.isaluchi.com
THERESA KESSER, Mezzo-Soprano: Mezzo-soprano Theresa Kesser finds herself equally at home in the traditional repertoire as she does in performing new works. In collaboration with Yale Opera and Houston Grand Opera, she participated in the workshop of The Snowy Day. While studying in completion of the Master of Musical Arts at the Yale School of Music, she performed Paula (Florencia en el Amazonas), Larina (Eugene Onegin), and Miss Todd (The Old Maid and the Thief). She has been a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera for two seasons. While there, she performed as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra. Other recent roles include der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), and Meg (Falstaff) among others. Kesser holds additional degrees from Indiana University and the University of Denver. She has received awards from the Musical Merit Foundation of San Diego as well as from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at both the district and region level.
BENJAMIN WERLEY, praised as having a “gleaming, flexible tenor” (Opera News)—was first bitten by the opera bug while attending a performance of Puccini’s Tosca. He has been pursuing an operatic career ever since.
A graduate of the Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University, Werley was one of twenty singers nationwide selected to sing in the semi-finals of the 2012-2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York City. He has since participated in many prestigious young artist programs, including the Merola Opera Program, Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance. During that time, he sang Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni (Merola), Farmer in the world premiere of The Scarlet Letter by Lori Laitman (Opera Colorado), Courier in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West and Deiner 3 in Strauss's Capriccio (Santa Fe Opera), Don José in Carmen (Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance), Arturo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and Narraboth in Strauss’s Salome (Florida Grand Opera). He has also been a soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, The Western Piedmont Symphony, and the Queens Symphony Orchestra.
In 2018, Werley returned to Virginia Opera in their first ever production of Kurt Weil’s Street Scene, singing Lippo Fiorentino. He then made his Cleveland Opera Theater and role debut as Alfredo in La traviata, and made his Central City Opera debut as Red Whiskers in their production of Britten’s Billy Budd, also covering Captain Vere. 2019 marked his role and company debut as Canio for Salt Marsh Opera's Pagliacci, a return to Dayton Opera for a New Year's Eve Gala, and role and company debuts with St. Pete Opera as il Duca (Rigoletto).
Upcoming engagements include Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Dayton Opera, and a return to Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Indianapolis Opera. www.benjaminwerley.com
YOUNG-KWANG YOO, Praised by Opera News for "Vocal dexterity and outstanding Italian diction.", "Mr. Yoo showcased a rich, reverberant baritone."
Baritone Young-Kwang, native of South Korea, is a graduate of the College of Music, Seoul National University. He received his Master of music degree from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mark Oswald. Mr. Yoo also holds with Certificate from the Opera Institute at Boston University.
His awards the 1st place winner in Osaka International Competition hosted in Japan and 2nd place in the Manhattan International Music Competition. He also has been awarded the Grand Prize of Opera Division in the 2019 Metropolitan International Vocal Competition.
Previous credits include Rigoletto (Rigoletto) with Seoul National University, La Bohème(Marcello), Lakmé (Frederic) and Luisa Miller(Miller) with Manhattan School of Music, The Telephone(Ben) with Te Art Ro Production, Emmeline(Mr. Maguire), Le Nozze di Figaro(Il Conte), The War Reporter(Paul Watson) and Pelléas et Mélisande(Pelléas) with Opera institute, La Tragedie de Carmen(Escamillo) with the City Lyric Opera in NYC and L'enfant prodigue(Siméon) with Camerata New Jersey Foundation. He did Don Pasquale(Malatesta) and Madama Butterfly(Sharpless) with Martina Arroyo Foundation. He performed three operas with the Cleveland Opera Theater, Madama Butterfly(Sharpless), La Bohème(Marcello) and Il Barbiere di Siviglia(Figaro) which was hailed by the Cleveland Classical for "Baritone Young Kwang Yoo brought an ultimate suavity, and a special combination of tone and power to Figaro."
The New York Times wrote for his portrayal of Sharpless, “His solid baritone voice and stolid bearing suited Sharpless.” Opera News stated “He provided sturdy, empathetic presence.”
Also, the Operawire hailed his role, Escamillo, for “The stand-out performance of the evening came from baritone Young-Kwang Yoo.” and the ConcertoNet wrote “Escamillo could be the least attractive of the quartet, but Young-Kwang has such a magnificent voice that his toreador is terrific.”
Mr. Yoo portrayed Le Monstre Cathos in the U.S. premiere of Ibert’s Persée et Andromède directed by James Robinson and under the baton of Maestro Pierre Vallet at the Manhattan School of Music. The New York Times selected this Persée et Andromède as one of the ten best classical performances in New York in 2016.
Mr. Yoo’s oratorio work includes appearances at the Symphony hall in Boston as Adam in Haydn’s Creation. He also performed as a baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Alice Tully hall in Lincoln Center in New York City and at the concert hall in Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Faure’s Requiem with the Goyang Civic Choir in Korea. He has sung Handel’sMessiah every year.
This season, Young Kwang will work with the Salt Marsh Opera for Rossini’s La Cenerentola(Alidoro) and will perform Faure’s Requiem with the Suberban Symphony Orchestra. He will also give Opera Gala Concerts with the Cleveland Opera Theater and the River City Opera. www.youngkwangyoo.com
BEN MALKEVITCH, is in demand as music director, vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and organist in Northeast Ohio. Since he moved back to Cleveland two years ago, he has conducted Resonanz Opera’s production Dialogues of the Carmelites and played for its production of L’enfant et les sortilèges. He has collaborated with Opera Western Reserve in Youngstown on productions of Lucia di Lammermoor and Carmen. Ben also recently played in the pit for the national touring productions of Wicked and The Sound of Music. Ben is the choir director and organist at Lakewood Congregational Church, as well playing services at Temple Emanu El. He is the accompanist for the Master Singers Chorale of Northeast Ohio and has music directed shows at the Beck Center for the Arts, Near West Theatre, and TrueNorth Cultural Arts.
From 2010-2015, Ben did a similar variety of work in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was co-founder and music director of Waffle Opera, choir director at First Congregational Church of San Francisco, as well as collaborations with Livermore Valley Opera, West Edge Opera, Cinnabar Theater, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, American Conservatory Theater, Throckmorton Theatre, and SFArtsED.
Ben has a special affinity for new music, American composers, the art song repertoire, and the fine art of designing supertitles for operatic performances. He is also an occasional composer, arranger, and baritone. He holds Master’s of Music in Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Virginia Weckstrom. malkevitch.com