Andrew Whitfield, voice and co-director
Baritone Andrew D. Whitfield enjoys a vibrant career as a performer, teacher, and stage director. In addition to appearances with Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Southwest, and Pensacola Opera, Andrew has also been a resident artist with Portland Opera Works. His most recent performance highlights include engagements with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and the Peoria Bach Festival. Also, his recording of Brooke Joyce’s Three Iowa Ballads, recently released on the Innova label, has received notable praise.
Originally from Shelbyville, Indiana, Andrew received the Bachelor of Music degree from Butler University, the Master of Music degree from Wichita State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Music (voice, opera) at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. During the summer Andrew enjoys teaching and performing at Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, a four-week residential training program for talented high school musicians.
With his colleague Jessica Paul, Andrew performed Schubert’s Winterreise in Colorado, Iowa, and Wisconsin during February and March of 2011. In April 2011 he was the baritone soloist in the Brahms Requiem at Grinnell College. As part of Luther College's sesquicentennial celebration, Andrew also sang the baritone solos in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, both at Luther and in Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, on April 16 and 17, 2011.
To see and hear excerpts of Andrew's performances, or for further information, please visit his website: andrewdwhitfield.com
Laura Antonaz, voice
Laura Antonaz, Soprano, obtained her diploma in singing at the Trieste Conservatory while studying literature at the University. She then devoted herself mostly to baroque and chamber music: her teachers include Jessica Cash, Serge Wilfart, Alan Curtis, Nigel Rogers, Joshua Rifkin; Ada and Erik Werba and Christa Ludwig as far as the Lieder repertoire is concerned.
She attended several times the International Summer Academy of Early Music in Innsbruck and the Handel-Akademie in Karlsruhe.
She was awarded the ‘International Lieder Competition’ prize in Bardolino- Italy , the Pergolesi prize in Rome and ‘La Società dell’Opera Buffa’ prize in Milan.
She has performed in Italy and abroad with several ensembles, such as I Barocchisti (RSI-CH), La Risonanza, Concerto Italiano, Accademia Bizantina, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale-RAI, Ensemble La Fenice (F), Les Nations, Odhecaton.
In 1993 she made her operatic debut in Mozart's Zauberflöte, followed by Cavalli [first performance in modern times of 'Orione'], Paisiello, Jommelli, Weber, Offenbach, Gluck, and the role of Poppea in Haendel’s Agrippina in Buenos Aires [first performance in South America]. She has often sang on radio and television in Italy, Swizerland, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, France, Belgium, Israel.
She has been guest of important festivals, such as Festival van Vlanderen in Bruges, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Festival de Beaune, MiTo, Musica en Canarias, Budapest, Birmingham Early Music Festival, Music for the Stage in London, Rio de Janeiro, 'Mostly Mozart' at New York Lincoln Centre, Graz Styriarte.
She has recorded more than 30 cds for severals labels, including Stradivarius, Tactus, Amadeus, La Bottega Discantica, Nuova Era, Rivo Alto.
Jessica Paul, collaborative piano and vocal coaching
Jessica Paul, a native of Chicago, holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Northwestern University, where she studied with pianist and vocal coach Laurence Davis. Ms. Paul went on to the University of Illinois as a student of John Wustman, eventually earning the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in vocal coaching and accompanying, her secondary areas of study conducting, under the tutelage of Tonu Kalam and Paul Vermel, harpsichord with William Heiles, and piano with Ian Hobson.
A coach and collaborative pianist in the Chicago area for many years, she performed chamber music under the direction of Chicago Symphony players such as Ray Still, Edgar Muenzer, Dale Clevenger, Vincent Cichowicz, Fred Hemke, with Robert Marcellus, and reknowned cellists Raya Garbousova and Dudley Powers. She worked extensively in the voice studios of Norman Gulbrandsen, Richard Alderson, Allen Stone, Ryan Edwards, and Patricia O'Neill, and in master classes with Sherrill Milnes, Kurt Adler, and Elly Ameling, Rudolf Jansen, Jorg Demus at the International Institute for Chamber Music Studies in Munich. She has also served as site pianist for the regional auditions of the national Metropolitan Opera auditions.
Equally at home in chamber music and vocal repertoire, among her many recital collaborators are violinist Sherban Lupu, cellist David Sanders, and sopranos Beverly Thiele, Caroline Worra, and Christine Seitz, and, recently, baritone Andrew Whitfield, on tour with Franz Schubert's masterpiece, Die Winterreise.
She has held positions with opera companies such as the Chicago Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Illinois, National Opera Company, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera Association, Lake George Opera Festival, Cedar Rapids Opera, and Pine Mountain Music Festival and has conducted at the Pine Mountain Music Festival and City Opera of the Quad Cities. She is the former Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dorian Opera Theatre of Northeast Iowa where she is currently Professor at Luther College, where she hosts a successful, informal concert series, Art SONG JAM-boree, a product of her on-going research of the vocal works of women composers, specifically twentieth century American composers. Additional projects include the exploration of the language and art music of Lithuania.