Natalie Joy (she/her)
Singer, Voice Teacher
Natalie Joy has competed in several competitions and placed second in the National Association of Negro Musicians Southwestern Region Competition and received a finalist award in the Houston Saengerbund Vocal Competition in 2019. She sang the title role in Pucinni’s Suor Angelica and Erste Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at The University of Texas at Austin in 2017. She recently played the Music Teacher in the feature film Apollo 10 1/2 set to premiere on Netflix and sang "the Sorceress" in Dido and Aeneas in early 2020. Natalie aspires to meld her acting and operatic career together by pursuing concert and mainstage work as well as film and TV roles. Connect with me on Instagram @natalietellsstories, on Facebook @NatalieJoy, Soprano or on my website, Nataliejoysoprano.com.
Michele Kennedy (she/her)
Singer, Voice Teacher
Soprano Michele Kennedy is a versatile specialist in early classical and new music. Praised by The Washington Post as “a fine young soprano with a lovely voice" possessing "a graceful tonal clarity that is a wonder to hear" (SF Chronicle), Michele's recent venues include Carnegie Hall, Davies Hall, Getty Museum, Lincoln Center, Powell Symphony Hall, and Washington National Cathedral.
Michele's been featured in the Bach Magnificat, St. John Passion, and Christmas Oratorio, Charpentier In Nativitatem, Handel Messiah & Dixit Dominus, Mozart C Minor Mass, Faure Requiem, and Smith Moore's Scenes from the Life of a Martyr in recent seasons. She's presented The Monteverdi Vespers with Dark Horse Consort & Voices of Ascension, Bach Cantatas with American Classical Orchestra, and works by Strozzi/Monteverdi with Folger Consort. Last season she debuted with Bach Society of Saint Louis (Poulenc Gloria), SF Choral Society (Christmas Oratorio), Trinity Wall Street Choir (Messiah), and SF Ballet in Mendelssohn's Midsummer. Michele's new music adventures include Aaron Siegel's I Will Tell You The Truth About This at NYC's Schomburg Center and songs by Florence Price and a world premiere by Dina Shilleh with Mimesis Ensemble at Carnegie Hall. Next season, Michele will debut with Lorelei Ensemble in the world premiere of Wolfe's Her Story with the Nashville, SF, Boston, Chicago, and National Symphony Orchestras.
A graduate of Yale University and NYU, Michele is committed to working toward greater equity and programmatic representation for BBI, LGBTQ, and female voices across the field. Please find more at www.michele-kennedy.com.
Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas (she/her)
Composer, Conductor/Music Director, Dramaturg, Librettist, Producer, Singer, Stage Director, Voice Teacher
Singer, actress, creator, and facilitator, Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas has been praised by critics worldwide for her visually, and vocally, compelling performances. From leading roles with many storied institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera and Sydney Opera House to sharing the stage with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis, she is also a force on the stage and screen as evidenced by her magnetic performances with Broadway in Chicago and on HBO.
With a strong belief in education, creation, and community as evidenced by her recent partnerships with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she also brings with her 15+ years of experience as a Master Vocal Technician, Coach, Songwriter, and Arranger with a focus on holistically integrating and freeing the Artist’s Mind, Body, and Spirit. As a burgeoning Arts Administrator and Visionary, she brings this same international artistic view to enhance ones clarity of purpose and application of expression.
A performer since the age of two, and counting music legends McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield and Tina Turner among her relations, she consistently propels her vision of uniting tradition with innovation in all she creates.
Ebony Marie Martin (she/her)
Singer, Voice Teacher
Soprano, Ebony Marie Martin is noted for her natural dramaticism and powerful voice. She has performed both in the US and Europe and has worked with renowned conductors such as Michael Rossi of the Washington National Opera. She made her professional debut as the role of Nedda in Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci with Voccalis International in 2016. Her other notable roles include Blanche, Mimi, Pamina, Fatime and La Ciesca. Concert performances include solos in Porgy and Bess with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Brahms Requiem and more. Ebony studied in Siena, Italy for 6 weeks during the Siena, Italy Music Festival where she sang for Mitchell Piper of Piper and Anselmi Management and performed in both Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Massenet’s Cendrillon. She was also accepted into the Utah Vocal Arts Academy’s notable Role Study program. In competition, Ebony has had wins in GHNATS district, Cal-Western NATS district and region and was an Encourage Award recipient of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Nevada District in 2015. Ebony has her B.M in Vocal Performance from Lamar University as well as her M.M in Vocal Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Aundi Marie Moore (she/her)
Singer, Voice Teacher
Metropolitan Opera Soprano, Aundi Marie Moore hailed by The Washington Post for possessing a voice of “Clarion Beauty” has captured the hearts of many audiences and critics alike with her rich warm expressive tones. Career Highlights include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with L'Opéra de Monte Carlo, Nedda in Pagliacci with Sarasota Opera, Soprano 2 in Facing Goya with the Spoleto Festival USA, Serena in Porgy and Bess with Atlanta Opera ,Young African American Soprano in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's Rappahannock County with Virginia Opera, and Odessa Clay in the World Premier of Approaching Ali with Washington National Opera. 2019/2020 season, The Metropolitan Opera House performing Strawberry Woman in Porgy and Bess and Maggie Porter in Tazewell Thompson’s World Premiere of Jubilee with Arena Stage, The Mother in Amahl and The Night Visitors with On Site Opera.
Melody Nicolette Pilotte (she/her)
Composer, Librettist, Singer, Voice Teacher, Recording artist and producer
San Francisco, CA
Film and theater composer, recording artist, coloratura soprano.
Valeria Rodriguez (she/her)
Singer, Voice Teacher
Evanston and Chicago, IL
I am a Soprano originally from Buenos Aires Aires, Argentina. I have been living between Chicago and Evanston for 4 years now. I am passionate about opera, new music and anything that implies collaborating in a project with other fellow artists. As any opera singer I can help in any part of an opera or play production (make up, hair, costumes, lights, supertitles, programs, etc). I graduated from my Master's in Voice and Opera Performance from Northwestern University ('20). I am participating next Spring 2021 as a Singer Young Artist for Opera Festival of Chicago.
Kamala Sankaram (she/her)
Composer, Singer, Co-Artistic Director - Experiments in Opera
Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times) and “new voice from whom we will surely be hearing more” (LA Times), Kamala Sankaram writes highly theatrical music that defies categorization. Recent commissions include the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Opera on Tap, among others. Awards, grants and residencies include: Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, the Civilians, HERE, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center. Known for her work with emerging technologies, her recent genre-defying hit Looking at You (with Rob Handel and Kristin Marting) featured live data mining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers. Sankaram, Handel, and Marting also created all decicions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom and featured on NBC and the BBC3. With librettist Jerre Dye and Opera on Tap, she created The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera (Samsung VR, Jaunt VR, Kennedy Center Reach Festival, “Best Virtual Reality Video” NY Independent Film Festival, Future of Storytelling, Salem Horror Festival and the Topanga Film Festival.) Also a performer, notable appearances include the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, and the PROTOTYPE Festival, among others. Kamala is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble (recipient of two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards). Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase.
Jonelle Sills (she/her)
Canadian Soprano Jonelle Sills has been praised for her “... warm, full, elastic tone” (Schmopera, Greg Finney).
Ms. Sills has recently been named as one of CBC Music’s classical “30 under 30” performers for 2020. Looking to the new year Jonelle will join the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program with Vancouver Opera.
In the fall of 2019, Ms. Sills made her role debut as Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème on tour with Against The Grain Theatre. Touring through dive bars from Banff, Alberta to Toronto, Ontario. Directly following, Jonelle sang PriaSoprano in A Million Billion Pieces by David James Brock, with music by Gareth Williams and directed by Philip Akin with Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre. Miss Sills is a 2019 Dora award winner for “Outstanding performance of an Ensemble” in Vivier’s Kopernikus with Against the Grain Theatre.
Recent highlights include her symphonic debut with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra singing Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. This past summer Jonelle was a Resident Artist with Against the Grain Theatre at the Banff Centre’s “Opera in the 21st Century” program. During her residence at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity she premiered the role of Esther in composer Paola Prestini’s and librettist Royce Vavreck’s Silent Light directed and designed by Thaddeus Strassberger.
Mithuna Sivaraman (she/her)
Coloratura soprano Mithuna Sivaraman is quickly getting noticed for the “clarity of her embellishments” (Voce di Meche, March 2019). She was a semi-finalist in Lyra New York’s 2020 International Vocal Competition, and in the past two years, has made role debuts in New York and New Jersey as Colleen in Scott Joiner’s Connection Lost (Modern Opera Company), Casilda in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (Ridgewood G&S Opera Company), Clizia in Handel’s Teseo (Cantanti Project), and Drusilla in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (New York Lyric Opera Theater); and covered the role of Savitri in New Camerata Opera’s double bill of Venus and Adonis/Savitri. She is a 2019 alumna of IVAI, and will cover the role of Argene in Rossini’s Il Vero Omaggio as a Studio Artist with Teatro Nuovo (formerly Bel Canto at Caramoor) in June 2021.
Mithuna is also an experienced choral artist. She sang with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus from 2014 to 2018, and is a member of Downtown Voices at Trinity Wall Street. Born and raised in Singapore, she is of Tamil descent, and is extensively trained in both Hindustani and Carnatic classical voice, with teachers including Ustad Vilayat Khan and D.K. Pattammal.
In her non-singing life, Mithuna is a seasoned transfer pricing specialist with the international tax practice at Ernst & Young LLP. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2008, and earned her juris doctor from Emory University School of Law in 2013. She has been a member of the California bar since 2013.
Melissa Sondhi (she/her)
San Francisco, CA
In the 2019-2020 season, Indian-American soprano Melissa Sondhi made her debut with Opera San Jose, covering the roles of Ida in Die Fledermaus and the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, and was planning on returning this past spring to cover the role of Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, but the production was rescheduled due to COVID-19. In the 2020-2021 season, she was also set to sing the role of Barbarina and cover the role of Susanna in their new production of Le nozze di Figaro, which will be set in colonial India during Victorian Imperial rule and has also been postponed. She also performed the roles of Le feu and Le rossignol in L’enfant et les sortilèges with Air Opera Collective this past February. In the 2018-2019 season, she was seen as Giannetta in The Elixir of Love with Pocket Opera, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, and Fiametta in The Gondoliers with Lamplighters Music Theatre.
In both 2014 and 2016, she was an Apprentice Artist with the Miami Music Festival where she was seen as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte and La princesse in L’enfant et les sortilèges. Other role engagements include the title role of Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Parasha in Mavra, Maria Bertram in the West Coast premiere of Mansfield Park, and Sister Catherine in Dead Man Walking. Melissa holds a BM from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (2015), and an MM from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (2017).