Born in Dublin and raised in Aberdeen, Julia began piano lessons at the age of four, studying with Denis Matthews and David Parkhouse at the North East Scotland Music School. In 1982, Julia won a scholarship to study piano at the RSAMD in Glasgow with Laurence Glover. Whilst a student at the academy, she won all the available prizes for piano solo, accompaniment and chamber music. Having gained her BA and completed a year of postgraduate study, Julia joined the staff of the academy as vocal coach, a post she still holds. Julia is one of the busiest accompanists in the UK, appearing in recital with many distinguished artists. Concerts have taken her all over the world, with recitals in London, Tokyo and Geneva, as well as appearances at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival and Cardiff Singer of the World. She appears as orchestra pianist with the BBC SSO, the RSNO and SCO, and broadcasts and records regularly. Before becoming Head of Music at the New Generation Festival and Mascarade Opera Studio, Julia was music assistant to Eberhard Friedrich at the Bayreuther Festspiele in Germany.
Dr Ralph Strehle is the Director of the Mascarade Opera Studio and Head of Education for the Mascarade Opera Foundation. One of Ralph’s main research interest lies in peak-performance psychology. He was formerly the Associate Head of Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Ralph works frequently as a guest performance coach and lecturer at institutions across Europe, such as: the National Opera Studio, the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Hamburg International Opera Studio, the New Generation Festival, the Rostov State Rachmaninov Conservatoire. Ralph’s work has been the subject of articles in Opera Now, Classical Music Magazine and many other publications. Ralph’s experience and expertise in quality assurance and educational management, in particular implementing and monitoring strategies and structures for the artistic and professional development of singers, equips him with a wide and unique skill set. His areas of expertise include effective practice techniques, performance profiling, audition and competition preparation, the design of individual psychological skills training programmes for musicians and peak performance workshops. During his time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland he led the institution’s European Championship 2018 involvement, creating cultural and artistic collaborations between the UdK Berlin, the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the conservatoire. He is currently writing his second PhD in the field of music psychology measuring and comparing motivation of music students in a variety of performance contexts.
Carmen Santoro is one of the foremost vocal coaches of her generation working regularly as répétiteur in Europe’s leading opera houses such as Opernhaus in Zurich, Theater Bolshoi in Moscow, Theatre an der Wien, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Vlaamse Opera in Antwerpen, Lithuanian National Opera, Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, Teatro Regio in Parma, Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Fondazione Toscanini in Parma, Rossini Opera Festival di Pesaro, Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, Wexford Festival Opera, and Festival Donizetti in Bergamo.
A sought after teacher, she works at International Opera Studio at Opernhaus in Zurich, Royal College of Music in London, Young Artists Opera Program at Theater Bolshoi in Moscow, Centre di Perfeccionament Placido Domingo at Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Lunenburg Academy in Nova Scotia Canada, Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Scuola dell’Opera at Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Alberto Zedda’s Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro, Accademia del Belcanto “Paolo Grassi” in Martina Franca (Ta). Since 1999 she has also been a guest professor at Showa University in Tokyo.
She regularly collaborates with many singers, including: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Mariella Devia, Juan Diego Florez, Daniela Barcellona, John Osborn, Pretty Yende, Lawrence Brownlee, Javier Camarena, Saimir Pirgu, Krasimira Stoyanova, and Marlis Petersen.
Since 2012 she has been Chef du Chant for the new Italian opera productions and Musical Assistant of M. Fabio Luisi at Opernhaus in Zurich. She is also M. Fabio Luisi’s Musical Assistant at Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino in Florence and at Festival della Valle d’Itria where she is also Musical Supervisor of Operatic Productions. She is currently Direttore degli Studi Musicali and M. Fabio Luisi’s Assistant at Accademia del Belcanto “Paolo Grassi” in Martina Franca. In addition, since 1995 she has been a professor at “A. Boito” Conservatory of Music in Parma Italy. In 2018 she was appointed Artistic Director of the Belcanto Opera Festival in Tokyo, Japan.
Her future plans include Verdi’s Nabucco, Vespri Siciliani in Zurich Opernhaus and Bellini’s La Straniera in Florence’s Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as M. Fabio Luisi’s Assistant; Rossini’s Guillaume Tell in Opéra National de Lyon as M. Daniele Rustioni’s Assistant Conductor; and Verdi’s La Traviata in Grand Théâtre de Genève as M. Paolo Carignani’s Assistant Conductor.
Jonathan Papp is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto. He is greatly in demand as a coach and accompanist around the world, having shared recitals with Sir Thomas Allen, Cheryl Barker, Ian Bostridge, Sophie Daneman, Susan Gritton, Katarina Karneus, Christopher Maltman, Sergei Leiferkus, Marina Poplavskya, Aigul Akhmetshina, Moray Welsh, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, and Carmen Giannatasio, amongst others. Venues have ranged from London’s Wigmore Hall to the Sydney Opera House. He has made radio and television broadcasts here and abroad with such artists as Dame Kiri and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He worked as both coach and recital partner with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa for over seventeen years. Papp has given masterclasses at the Royal Opera House and abroad, including Japan, the USA and New Zealand.
Papp is a senior coach and member of the Vocal Faculty and the Opera School at the RAM, as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
Marie Lambert grew up in Paris and in England. She read literature in Paris and Bologna and trained at La Scala.
She staged a critically acclaimed production of Leoncavallo’s Zazà (Opera Holland Park). She was the associate director on Madama Butterfly (La Monnaie) and La Cenerentola (Paris). She revived La Traviata (WNO, Liceu, Madrid, Scottish Opera), La Clemenza di Tito (Toulouse, Marseille, Chicago), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Chicago, San Francisco), Carmen (Glyndebourne, Gothenburg) and Andrea Chénier (Liceu, ROH).
Marie translated Offenbach’s Vent du Soir into Italian for the Maggio Musicale. She is the dramaturg of the Entropy project (music by Dopplereffekt). She collaborated with artist Hee-Won Lee on her VR film Rain.
She directed Le bourgeois Gentilhomme (Teatro Litta, Milan) and La Voix humaine (Buxton Festival, nomination Manchester Theatre Awards).
She has collaborated extensively with Piero Faggioni and David McVicar, as well as having worked at the ROH, Glyndebourne, Châtelet, la Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Festival d’Aix, Opéra du Rhin, Lille, Dijon, Torino, Parma, Ravenna Festival, Bari, Naples, Palermo, Genoa, Bologna, Montepulciano, Tokyo).
In development: La Damnation de Faust, Der fliegende Holländer, a VR film on Donizetti; revivals of Carmen (Gothenburg), La Clemenza di Tito (Liceu), La Traviata (Seville, Liceu).
British bass James Platt was educated at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden from 2014-2016.
Highlights in his 2018/19 season include Sarastro Die Zauberflöte and the roles of Count Rostov, Tichon, Berthier, Ramballe & Beningsenn in Prokofiev’s War and Peace for the Welsh National Opera; Crespel Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Basilio Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and his debut for the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Oberlin in Wolfgang Rihm’s Jakob Lenz. He has recently performed at Teatro alla Scala, Dutch National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera and the Royal Opera House.
Highlights of his recent concert appearances include Bach’s Weihnachts-oratorium with Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski, Shostakovich’s Four Romances on Poems by Pushkin with the Hallé Orchestra/Sir Mark Elder, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Royal Northern Sinfonia/Lars Vogt, Handel’s Messiah with the Hallé Orchestra/Christian Curnyn, Verdi’s Requiem with the Orchestre National de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin, Dvorak’s Requiem with the BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jiri Belohlavek, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at the BBC Proms with the BBC Singers/David Hill and Nino’s Ghost in Rossini’s Semiramide also at the BBC Proms and a studio recording with the OAE/Sir Mark Elder.
James lectures in vocal pedagogy at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and at the Royal Northern College of Music. His company Classical Voice Training Ltd. offers regular multidisciplinary courses with a world class specialist team.
Costanza Cabras was born and raised in Florence, the city where she was trained and has carried out her profession so far.
She graduated in Music History at the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy in Florence, she is a passionate musician. Costanza subsequently specialized in Didactics of Italian as a Second Language and has been teaching Italian for more than 20 years.
Management and Foundation Development
Internationally recognised as one the the greatest interpreters of the belcanto repertoire of all time, soprano Mariella Devia has represented the first class female characters in the history of opera on the stages of the greatest theatres in the world. Hers is a rigorous repertoire, which has allowed her to perform the principle roles in the operas of Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Mozart and to express herself, with an elevated style, in the operas of Verdi, Bizet and other great authors, ending in Puccini, in the part of Liu in Turandot.More
Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. He has sung over fifty roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; in 2012 he celebrated his 40th anniversary of his debut with the company. An acclaimed recitalist, he is equally renowned on the concert platform and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.More