Our goal is to bring the finest artists to the finest theaters world-wide, with careful attention given to establishing and maintaining professional careers. The Laifer roster consists of stars and emerging talents from many countries and diverse cultures.
We are pleased to present five new artists who have joined the roster:
1) Acclaimed conductor Dr. Everett McCorvey is artistic director of the National Chorale, which maintains an annual performance schedule at Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, professor at the University of Kentucky in voice, opera, and conducting, and an active tenor soloist. He is founder and music director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, director/executive producer of the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, and president of Global Creative Connections, a production/management company for musical and theatrical events. Most recently Dr. McCorvey made his Italian conducting debut leading the orchestra in the Gala Closing Night Concert of the Mythos Opera Festival where he will return next summer for their Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci;
2) Lyric soprano Anastassiya Kozhukharova has sung throughout her homeland of Kazakhstan and in Italy, Luxemburg, Austria, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, South Korea and Japan as Die Königin der Nacht, Donna Anna, Adina, Musetta, Lucia, and Violetta, for which she recently received rave reviews in Fondi, Italy, in the Mythos Opera Festival. She has been asked to reprise Violetta in the Festival’s upcoming tour in the Far East. This past fall she sang Adina and Nedda at the Kazakhstan National Theater and was featured in the Northern Nights Festival with the Yakutsk (Russia) Philharmonic with conductor Fabio Mastrangelo.
3) Although relatively new to the U.S., dramatic soprano Alla Perchikova is well-known in her native Russia and in Germany, her current residence, for interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s Tatiana, Maria, and Lisa, Wagner’s Elsa, Venus, Freia, Gerhilde, Rossweisse, and Adriano (Rienzi), Verdi’s Amelia, Leonora (Il Trovatore and La forza del destino), and Lucrezia (I due Foscari), Leonore (Fidelio), and the title role in Rusalka. She has distinguished herself at the Marinsky Theater in “Stars of the White Nights” conducted by Valery Gergiev, New Israel Opera, Helikon-Opera, and Alte Oper Frankfurt among others. Currently, she’s on hold for the role of Aida at the Mythos Opera Festival, 2019;
4) Italian lyric tenor Giovanni Formisano began vocal training in the U.S. where he was recognized for his sense of legato and interpretation of classic Neapolitan repertoire. Winner of Talents of the World Vocal Competition, he was featured alongside many internationally recognized singers in a tribute to world-renowned baritone Dimitri Hvorostovsky at Carnegie Hall, In the U.S. he has sung Alfredo, Rodolfo, Nemorino, Arturo, Cavardossi, Ruggero (La Rondine), and Camille (The Merry Widow) with several regional companies and has made multiple appearances as tenor soloist in the Verdi Requiem. He has participated in the Key West Symphony Young Artist Program with director Donna Roll and in New York Summer Opera Scenes directed by Joshua Greene, assistant director at the Metropolitan Opera;
5) Spinto-dramatic soprano Dilara Unsal, from Turkey and now in N.Y., is an exceptional rising star. Just this past year she received many accolades as finalist in the N.J. State Opera Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition, semi-finalist in Marcello Giordani’s International Vocal Competition, and semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Connell Competition for Dramatic Sopranos. In Turkey she has appeared many times with Istanbul State Opera and Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra and in the U.S. with N.Y. Lyric Opera at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan Opera Studio Summer Opera, and Chicago Summer Opera Festival. Her extensive repertoire includes Aida, Donna Anna, and the Countess, and soon she will add Wagner’s Sieglinde and Elizabeth. On stage she has been described as “mesmerizing” with her recent Tosca described as bringing “…all the passion and hot-blooded suspicion befitting the role…delivering a haunting rendition of “Vissi d’arte.”
Russian-born soprano Zoya Gramagin has been praised for her beautiful, vibrant voice characterized by warm Slavic colors and a very Italianate sound. The Petersburg-Concert (Russia) called her a “true Verdian soprano, [with] fascinating richness of voice and fiery musicality.” Last summer she appeared in recital at Re:Artiste in New York and in the annual Sergio Franchi Gala where she “wowed the crowd” with her interpretation of “Un bel di.” This season she performs Strauss’ “Vier Letze Lieder” and Mahler’s 8th Symphony, and will be Butterfly with St. Petersburg Opera (Florida) in spring 2019.
Russian-born mezzo-soprano Natasha Novitskaia specializes in dramatic mezzo roles of Verdi and in roles like Dalila, Santuzza, Carmen, and Lyubasha. She also has enjoyed great success in recitals and concerts in New York, Berlin, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. Following her appearance with the Mercury Orchestra in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, one reviewer wrote, “In the heart wrenching ‘The Field of the Dead’…her oboe-like voice reached out [to the audience].” In Summer-2018 she sang her first Amneris at the Mythos Opera Festival after winning their competition last January in Rome. She was featured in the festival’s Mascagni Gala and Closing Night Opera Gala and will return there next summer for Santuzza, which she also will perform with Connecticut Opera next season.
“German conductor Rudolf Piehlmayer…was cheered loudly and rightly so. He gave the orchestra a great clarity with a warm and enveloping sound. He propels his musicians with rigor and a sensitively balanced focus.” This review was for his Lohengrin in Rouen. In a career of more than 25 years he has conducted throughout the world, having made his opera debut in Regensburg conducting Hansel und Gretel in 1993. For 7 years he was the music director of Augsburg Philharmonic followed by his tenure as permanent guest conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra at Leipzig Opera. He has conducted at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Norske Opera, Musashimo Akademia Musicae Tokyo, and with many orchestras throughout Germany.
When Mexican tenor Cesar Sanchez, known for his rich, passionate voice and dramatic intensity, sang his first Cavaradossi, the Tampa Bay Times said, “Cesar Sanchez supplies everything you would want in a leading man.” He subsequently returned to Opera Tampa for Macduff. His Manrico at the Liederkranz Society in N.Y. was praised as “heroic.” Roles performed in Mexico, Europe, and the United States include Edgardo, Turiddu, Alfredo, Riccardo, and Calaf, which he sang at the Tijuana Opera Summer Festival before an audience of 14,000. During this coming season, Cesar will continue his solo recital tour in Mexico and the U.S. in which he performs rare Verdi scenes and songs.
Tenor Dongwon Shin has received international acclaim for his stentorian performances (“[Shin’s] voice is enormous and flows effortlessly at whatever volume he chooses, from caressing murmurs to all out heroics.”) as Radames (Covent Garden, Vienna), Calaf (New Zealand, Fort Worth), Manrico (Dresden, Montreal, Fort Worth), Samson (Trieste, Dayton), and Verdi’s Requiem (Trieste). Dongwon maintains a vigorous concert schedule in Korea and returned to the United States last May for Radames with Knoxville Opera, earning this review: “Shin possesses a vocal instrument of surprising power…mastering contrasts with ease and with a reasonably attractive clarity; his opening aria ‘Celeste Aida’ was nicely handled despite its difficulty, while his Act IV tomb scene with Aida was a careful study in vocal control.”
Russian-American bass-baritone Grigory Soloviov recently received the following review: “Grigory Soloviov’s deep booming bass is truly hypnotizing; it puts you into some kind of trance. It is chillingly beautiful.” An alumnus of Washington’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Grigory has performed at Washington Opera, Dallas Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Bolshoi Academic State Theatre, Helikon-Opera, La Fenice, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra de Tours, Opéra de Montréal, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Grange Festival. His repertoire includes Sarastro, Leporello and Masetto, Bartolo, Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Sparafucile and Monterone, Lodovico, Colline, Zuniga, and Frank (Die Fledermaus). Last summer, he was in Russia for the title role in Rachmaninov’s Aleko and in November will be Timur with the Jalisco Philharmonic in Guadalahara. This season he is at Helikon-Opera (his home base) reprising several roles previously performed there and will add The Priest in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to his ever-expanding repertoire.
This year we launched an exciting new venture: The Laifer Artists Development and Management Program. This initiative offers exceptionally talented emerging professionals the opportunity to reach their full artistic potential by enhancing their talents to elevate them to the next level of their careers. The first two artists in the program are lyric sopranos Beier Zhao and Katie Procell. Chinese-born Beier received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at University of Nevada. In addition to winning several competitions, she has performed Gilda, Micaëla, Violetta, Lauretta, and Suor Angelica. Katie is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and James Madison University. Her opera credits include Susanna, Rosina, Despina, and Valencienne. A lover of avant-garde and contemporary music, Katie has performed rarities including Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Messiaen’s Harawi, Vivier’s Hymnen an die Nacht, Kurtág’s, Attila József Fragments, and Ginastera’s String Quartet No. 3. Both of these emerging artists look forward to very special careers.