Meet the voices

Alan Cline

Alan Cline is a Dramatic Baritone currently living and working in the greater Pittsburgh area. He has appeared on stages across the country and in Europe in opera, theater, concert, and recital. Some of his recent credits include performances of Carmen with Opera Naples, Tosca and La Traviata with Finger Lakes Opera, Gianni Schicchi and Rigoletto with Si parla, si canta, and Cosi fan tutte with Midsummer Night’s Opera. Frequently seen on the competition stage, Cline is the recent winner of the Irma Cooper prize at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards in New York City and a former national Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Competition (now Laffont) twice winning the Pittsburgh District and the Great Lakes Region. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree from West Liberty University, and a Master’s of Music from the Eastman School of Music, and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at West Virginia University where he studies with Robert Chafin and teaches as a Graduate Assistant. In the coming months Alan will present Schubert’s Winterreise in concert at multiple venues and schools in the Pittsburgh area with pianist Lucas Barkley. The two will also present a concert in the fall as co-winners of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions.

Megan Cumming

Megan Cumming An advocate of the cathartic and healing power of music, American soprano Megan Cumming aspires to use her singing to help alleviate pain and suffering. Distinguishing herself through passions for both music and medicine, Megan actively seeks to integrate her interests into a comprehensive and meaningful career path. A newly inducted member of Pittsburgh-founded Musicians with a Mission, Megan is excited to continue to share concerts with local nursing homes and facilities. In January of 2021, while covering Mrs. Fiorentino in Weill’s Street Scene (Opera McGill), Megan was thrilled to go on at the last minute for performances at Le Monument-National Theater in Montreal, QC. Other notable performance credits include the First Spirit in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Opera McGill), Margot in Dauvergene’s Les Troquers (Opera McGill), and Laurey in Rodger & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (The Hanover Theater). Most recently heard as Cendrillon in Viardot’s Cendrillon (CMU Opera), Laetitia in Menotti’s The Old Maid & the Thief, and the fairy godmother in Rodger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Opera McGill), Megan was grateful to share these comedic performances with audiences isolated by the Covid-19 pandemic. A graduate of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, Megan earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance under the tutelage of Joanne Kolomyjec, Patrick Hansen, Stephen Hargreaves, and Dana Nigrim. She was thrilled to graduate with Distinction and Outstanding Achievement in Voice, and was also placed on the Dean’s Honour List and awarded the Dixie Ross Neill Scholarship. A Massachusetts native, Megan currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is pursuing her Masters of Music at Carnegie Mellon University with renowned soprano, Maria Spacagna. She looks forward to portraying Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosí fan Tutte next semester with CMU Opera. She is honored to perform as a Leslie Fleischner Young Artist this summer with Pittsburgh Festival Opera.

Kaya Giroux

Kaya Giroux is a lyric soprano based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she continues to study with world-renowned soprano, Professor Maria Spacagna. Most recently, Kaya won first place in the 2022 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition. This past year she also performed Sandrina in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and La bergére, Une Pastorelle, La Chouette, and Le chauve-souris in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, as well as scenes as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Alice Ford in Falstaff with the Carnegie Mellon Opera. While at Carnegie Mellon University, Kaya has also performed roles such as Béatrice in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, Rusalka in The Pastiche Project, and Martha in On Our Street with Compōs-it Opera Festival. In 2021, Kaya won top prize in the first-ever Schmidt Undergraduate Competition. She also received the Sylvie Derdeyn Scholarship in Voice from Carnegie Mellon, placed third in the 2021 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, and participated in the 2021 Milnes VOICE Studio. She is also a grant recipient from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier through The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.

Randy Ho

Randy Ho Complimented on his “affectionate vibrato” (OperaWire), tenor, Randy Ho will be joining this year’s Pittsburgh Festival Young Artist program. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Ho recently received his Master’s degree from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Ho will be showcased in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s scenes program singing excerpts from Faust, La Traviata, and Carmen. Previously, Mr. Ho has been featured as a studio artist at Carnegie Hall’s Song Studio led by world-renowned Soprano Renee Fleming, Peabody Opera Theater productions of La scala di seta (Dorvil), Hin und Zurück (Robert). Lamont Opera Theater’s Productions of Il trittico (Rinuiccio), as a soloist with The National Repertory Orchestra, Denver Opera Collective, and The Denver Spirituals Project. Mr. Ho will also be featured In the Pensacola Opera’s Artist in Residence program in the upcoming season and is looking forward to sharing opera with more communities here in Pittsburgh this summer.

Nicholas Hudak

Nicholas Hudak, tenor, has appeared in opera and musical theater productions with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Michigan State University, and Sarasota Opera and is currently a young artist at Pittsburgh Festival Opera. He has had the pleasure of being cast as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods, Mr. Fiorentino in Street Scene, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, Alfredo in Die Fledermaus, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, and most recently Tito in La clemenza di Tito. A native of Pennsylvania, he has received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an MMA and DMA in vocal performance from Michigan State University.

Nathan Jensen

Nathan Jensen from Hastings, Nebraska,  has sung on stage in several states nationally and performed internationally in Germany, Holland, and Belgium. Previous roles include “Colline” in Puccini’s La Bohème, “Superintendent Budd” in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, and “Grumio” in the world premiere of The Taming, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Described as a “yummy bass” with a “formidable stage presence” and a “large voice of considerable range and flexibility,” Nathan completed his Master’s degree in Voice Performance at the University of Northern Colorado in 2020. Nathan received his undergraduate degrees from Hastings College, where he studied Voice Performance and Music Education. Currently residing in Denver, Colorado, Nathan most recently performed the role of “Sprecher” in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Fort Collins, “Melisso” in Alcina with Chicago Summer Opera, and the bass lead role of the “Father” in a new online ballad opera, Droplet, written by Viktoria Vizin.

(Jason) Xiaojie Ji

(Jason) Xiaojie Ji is pursuing a DMA at Michigan state University. He holds a Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree from the China Conservatory of Music. He was the Met Opera Competition Washington encouragement winner in 2021. Roles performed have included Basilio from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart, Mercury from Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach, Bai from Savage Land by Xiang Jin, and Gesang from Red Valley by Weidong Meng. Scene works include Duke from Rigoletto by Verdi, Don José from Carmen by Bizet, Tamino from Die Zauberflöte by Mozart, Monsieur Vogelsang from Der Schauspieldirektor by Mozart; and Alfredo Germont from La Traviata by Verdi.

Hyeseong Kim

Hyeseong Kim Soprano Hyeseong Kim is a second-year Master’s student studying with Shirley Close at the Manhattan School of Music. She was a winner of The Music Education News Competition, and received awards at the Korea Gaecheon Arts Festival, the 2nd of the Italian Art Song Competition, and the 1st at the Handeut Music Competition. Ms. Kim is a cover of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro in main stage opera at th eManhattan School of Music in 2022. The past year, Ms. Kim performed the roles of Elvira in I Puitani, Anna in Anna Salena, Rosina in II Barbiere di Siviglia, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette and Silberklang in Der Schauspieldirector.

Julia Swan Laird

Julia Swan Laird is a young and promising artist who graduated from Arizona State University with a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance. Since receiving her Master’s, Julia has sung mainstage roles with companies across the United States such as Opera West!, Piedmont Opera, OperaDelaware, Opera Baltimore, and Tulsa Opera, and was a member of the North Carolina Opera chorus. Julia will join Toledo Opera as their soprano resident artist for the 2022-2023 season, performing roles in Suor Angelica, Cavalleria Rusticana, and The Merry Widow, as well as touring as “Mabel” in The Pirates of Penzance.

Equally at home in the concert hall, Julia was a featured soloist for the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria and performed excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier and Rigoletto with the AIMS Festival Orchestra. She was awarded the 2018 Warren Hoffer Art Song Scholarship at ASU, for which she performed a recital comprised of Libby Larsen compositions on the theme of the female perspective. Winterthur Museum featured Julia’s recital as the opening event for its 2020 Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration. Julia has been a Resident Artist with the Mount Desert Summer Chorale in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a soloist with the St. Joseph on the Brandywine Choir and Chamber Ensemble in Delaware and the Choral Society of Durham and Pro Cantores Orchestra in North Carolina. Julia placed fourth in the 2019 AIMS Meistersinger Competition and third in the 2019 American International Czech and Slovak Competition. She has been a finalist with the Saltworks Opera Competition, Pittsburgh Festival Opera Mildred Miller Competition, and MIOpera Competition, and the first place winner at Arizona NATS, Cal-Western Regional NATS, and North Carolina NATS.

Cornelia Lotito

Cornelia Lotito Praised for her “rich sound” and “remark-able agility” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle), mezzo-soprano Cornelia Lotito most recently spent the 2021-2022 season as a resident artist with Indianapolis Opera. During her time in Indianapolis, she covered the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Nettie in Carousel, and starred in a double bill of Lori Laitman’s Holocaust oratorio Vedem and the Cat in Brundibár. This season, she also premiered the role of Janis in Marc Hoffeditz’s virtual opera U-Hauling with Black Sheep Contemporary Ensemble. From 2019-2021, she was a part of Knoxville Opera’s studio program, where she performed the role of Stephano in their 2020 production of Roméo et Juliette, and performed with the company in several outreach shows. Currently based in New Jersey, Ms. Lotito has performed with several NJ companies. In 2019, she performed the role of Dorabella in a concert production of Così fan tutte with Light Opera New Jersey. She also performed the role of Angelina in La Cenerentola, Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Theatre of Montclair, and Berta in The Barber of Seville with Light Opera New Jersey. A frequent vocal competitor, Ms. Lotito won the Indiana District of the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Previously, she won an Encouragement Award from the 2021 Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She was named a finalist in the 2021 Camerata Bardi International Vocal Competition, the 2021 SAS Performing Arts Vocal Competition, and the 2021 Camille Coloratura Awards, as well as a Contract Winner in Piccola Opera’s 2021 Opera Idol Competition.

Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller is an up and coming new voice who received his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Colorado, and recently graduated with his Master’s in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University. His grace and nuance within his craft have allowed him to sing many differing roles within a range of different genres. This includes roles from musical theater and opera alike, such as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, The Mayor in Albert Herring, Laurie in Little Women, and many others. His presence and passion whilst performing have always captured the attention of all theatergoers and he has already seen success in his professional career, with his next debut as Tamino this coming October with Lynchburg Opera. He has always had a deep and profound love for performance, and has proudly never strayed from this path, wanting to share his passion with countless people from around the world.

Bryan Murray

Bryan Murray, baritone, recently performed as the priest and fisherman in Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains at The Biennale in Venice, as well as the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. Prior to the shutdown, Bryan had a one-year contract with Deutsche Oper Berlin, performing comprimario roles in 12 productions for the 2018/19 season including: Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia , Moralès in Carmen, and Marullo in Rigoletto.

Bryan obtained a Master of Musical Arts degree in opera performance from Yale University’s School of Music under the tutelage of Richard Cross and Doris Yarick-Cross. He received an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Stony Brook University.

This year, Bryan has won the third prize in art song at the Councours de Montreal competition, first place at the Mildred Miller International Voice competition, as well as the Joanne Spellun Award at the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio competition. In December 2019, Bryan won the first prize in the Talents of the World competition in New York, and a few days later took first prize in the Premiere Opera Foundation and NIYOP 2019 International Vocal Competition. He is also the grand prize winner of Heida Hermann’s International Voice Competition, the third prize winner in Mirjam Helin’s International Singing Competition, the winner of the “Sachi Liebergesell” award from the Opera Index Competition, and a finalist in the Eastern Region of the Met Council auditions.

On the concert stage, Bryan recently jumped in at the last minute to perform selections from Franchetti’s Cristoforo Colombo as the title role with Teatro Grattacielo in Manhattan, NY. Bryan has also been the baritone soloist of John Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra, the baritone soloist in Bernstein’s Opening Prayer with Marin Alsop conducting the Yale Philharmonia, baritone soloist in the Fauré Requiem with the Jacksonville symphony, bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the New Haven Symphony, baritone soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Yale Symphony, and the baritone soloist in the world premiere of Transfiguration by Robert Kyr with the Yale Camerata.

Virginia Sheffield

Virginia Sheffield is a soprano, hailed for her “vocal glamour” (Voix des Arts) and “beautifully pure [voice], with a clear, crystalline quality” (CVNC). She is thrilled to be a 2022 Hans and Leslie Fleischner Young Artist with Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Known for her love of diverse repertoire, Sheffield has performed roles spanning early music to world premieres. As a fellow with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Sheffield sang the titular role in Pierne’s Sophie Arnould, Lisinga (García’s Le Inglesi), Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito), and Madame Lisette Raquin (Thérèse Raquin). With Eastman Opera Theater, Sheffield performed the roles of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Signora Naccarelli (The Light in the Piazza). Other favorite roles include Arabella (Arabella), Elvira (Ernani), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Diana (La Calisto), and the titular role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. Sheffield debuted the role of Florence in The Women on the Wall, a two-woman opera produced in a special collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh Opera. Sheffield was awarded District Winner and Regional Encouragement Winner in the 2021 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Sheffield also received the 2019 Mitzi Koo Award, traveling to Vancouver to make her Canadian debut. As a soloist, she has appeared with Piedmont Opera, the Mozart Club of Winston Salem, the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Trombone Choir, and the Carnegie Mellon University Choir. Sheffield received her MM in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and her BFA in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University.

Faith S. Snyderman

Faith S. Snyderman’s diverse skillsets have long served her well. A soprano, she enjoyed utilizing them this past April for her professional operatic debut as Mademoiselle Jouvenout in Adriana Lecouvreur with Baltimore Concert Opera (newly renamed Opera Baltimore). Since her role premiere of Margaret Johnson in Carnegie Mellon University’s 2020 production of The Light in the Piazza, she is excited to return to Pittsburgh as a 2022 Pittsburgh Festival Opera Fleischner Young Artist this summer. This season, Ms. Snyderman has been fortunate enough to have been a finalist in the National Opera Association’s Annual Carolyn Bailey Argento Competition (Artist Division) and Opera Mississippi’s John Alexander Competition (Young Professional Artist Division). Additionally, this season she has been awarded semi-finalist standings in the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition (Tier I), the Orpheus Vocal Competition (Young Artist Category), and the Opera Tampa D’Angelo Young Artist Competition.

Alexandria Zallo

Alexandria Zallo Mezzo-Soprano Alexandria Zallo hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ms. Zallo is an Encouragement Award Winner in the 2021 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition South Carolina District. She started the 2021-2022 season as Arminda in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera with Carnegie Mellon University Opera. While at Carnegie Mellon University, Alexandria discovered a passion for chamber music and has performed many works including George Crumb’s Madrigals Books 1 and 2. In 2022 she looks forward to continuing to explore chamber music, which includes a World Premiere of Strange Child with the Kamratōn Ensemble. The 2020-2021 season included Ms. Zallo’s debut as a young artist with Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s Hans and Leslie Fleischner Young Artist Program. In addition she also sang Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Juno in Handel’s Semele with Peabody Opera Theatre. The 2019-2020 season included her Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut in the semi-staged production of Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna under Marin Alsop and her debut with the Baltimore Concert Opera in its production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. Other notable roles include Suzy/Lolette in Puccini’s La Rondine with the Peabody Opera Theatre. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Ms. Zallo is currently pursuing a Master of Music from Carnegie Mellon University, studying under Marianne Cornetti.