Opera superstars Mignon Dunn, Ruth Falcon and Sherrill Milnes are confirmed to be the master vocalists at the Vocal Arts and Music Festival, which will be presented by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, June 18-July 1. The Vocal Arts and Music Festival, formerly known as Viva Virginia, is in its second year at Virginia Tech.

Vocal masters Mignon Dunn, mezzo-soprano; Ruth Falcon, soprano; and Sherrill Milnes, baritone, have performed for a collective 90 plus years on the world’s most celebrated stages, from the San Francisco Opera in California and the Metropolitan Opera in New York to the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, the Paris Opera, Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, and more. Milnes has won three Grammy Awards and was nominated a total of five times. Today Dunn, Falcon, and Milnes are in high demand as vocal faculty, artistic directors, and advisors. 

The Vocal Arts and Music Festival at Virginia Tech features the voices of the opera world’s rising stars, who audition to participate in the festival and are selected by International Vocal Arts Institute founders Joan Dornemann and Paul Nadler of the Metropolitan Opera. The Vocal Arts and Music Festival is one of three that Dornemann and Nadler partner with across the globe; the other two are in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Montreal, Canada. The Vocal Arts and Music Festival puts Blacksburg on the map as the only location in the United States where this group of rising stars and internationally recognized opera legends, coaches, and instrumentalists will gather. The festival is another example of how the university is enhancing the presence and practice of the arts on campus, and stressing the importance of educating the whole person.

Joining the vocal masters in shaping the developing singers’ voices and stage presence, as well as staging performances, is a team of coaches. The coaches will include:

  • Ranier Armbrust, conductor and vocal coach, Hannover Opera, Germany;
  • Steven Blier, artistic director, New York Festival of Song/faculty, Juilliard School;
  • Joan Dornemann, assistant conductor, Metropolitan Opera/co-founder, International Vocal Arts Institute;
  • Hemdi Kfir, language coach, Metropolitan Opera;
  • Rosemarie Landry, faculty, l'Universite de Montreal;
  • Gerald Martin Moore, vocal consultant, record labels Decca and Opera Rara;
  • Paul Nadler, conductor, Metropolitan Opera/co-founder, International Vocal Arts Institute;
  • David Paul, stage director, opera and theatre stages worldwide;
  • Claude Webster, head coach, l'Atelier Lyrique de l'Opera de Montreal/chorus master and pianist-coach, l'Opera de Montreal;
  • Steven White, opera conductor, Metropolitan Opera/artistic director, Opera Roanoke;
  • Maria Zouves, soprano/vice president and associate general director, Opera Tampa/founder and director, V.O.I.C. Experience; and
  • Tomer Zvulun, stage director, Metropolitan Opera.

The piano accompanists at the festival will include:

  • Allan Armstrong, staff pianist, St. Petersburg Opera Company/faculty, V.O.I.C. Experience, Tampa, Fla.;
  • Logan Brown, staff, Pinellas County Center for the Arts, St. Petersburg, Fla.;
  • Christopher Cano, staff coach, Manhattan School of Music;
  • Pei Wen Chen, faculty, Mannes College, New York;
  • Alan Hamilton, pianist, New York Philharmonic and others; and
  • Jeremie Pelletier, young artist, l'Atelier Lyrique de l'Opera de Montreal.

Coming soon

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the internationally acclaimed instrumental faculty joining the vocal masters and coaches, as well as the singers who will be selected to participate in the festival, the schedule, and how to get tickets.

Media sponsors for the Vocal Arts and Music Festival are WDBJ7 and Virginia Living Magazine.