Pittsburgh Opera proudly announces our inaugural Summer opera camp - Bravo Academy.
If you are an aspiring young singer, have a talent for creating the magic of the backstage world, or are a budding opera aficionado, this is the program for you! Focusing on musical theater, opera, and art song favorites, Bravo Academy ensures that all participants will have a chance to shine in the limelight.
Held in Pittsburgh Opera’s headquarters and professional performance space, Bravo Academy is a two-week day-camp program where participants receive invaluable hands-on experience with leading industry professionals and performers. Each instructor is a specialist in their field, selected specifically to offer participants a broad and accurate view of the world of opera. All participants will take a number of fun and engaging classes, participate in exclusive workshops with Pittsburgh Opera staff, engage in master classes with industry luminaries and master teachers, and so much more. Your two weeks in Bravo Academy will conclude with a professional showcase performance in Pittsburgh Opera’s iconic George R. White Opera Studio which hosts Pittsburgh Opera season productions.
Date: July 10 to July 21, 2023 - weekdays only
Times: 9:00am-5:00pm • participants bring their own lunch daily
Location: Bitz Opera Factory, 2425 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15234
Final Showcase: Friday, July 21st at 7 pm - George R. White Opera Studio
Program Director: Rebekah Diaz, Director of IDEA Initiatives and Community Engagement
For more information contact Rebekah Diaz via email or by phone at 412-281-0912 x256.
This program is supported, in part, by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council through its Allegheny Arts Revival Grant.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
OPERA FAN FICTION • You might be familiar with some of the most loved stories in opera—but what do you think was really going on between those famous opera characters? Let your imagination run wild as you delve into the tales of beloved operas and take the story to the next level. In Opera Fan Fiction, you become the librettist as you twist the plot in whichever way you like! Learn the plots of operas, create backstories, invent side stories, and devise alternate endings in this fun group that encourages your creativity—the more outrageous the better!
OPERA IN MOTION • All singers know that our bodies are our instruments. In Opera in Motion, we realize exactly how important the physical aspects are in influencing our singing. In this interactive class, you’ll get on your feet as you practice yoga, stretching, and body awareness to ensure that you are ready for the stage. Choreography for Singers will round out this class and ensure that you will be a versatile and well-versed performer.
OPERA CULTURE • Much more than an opera appreciation class, Opera in Infamy gives you an insider’s perspective on exactly why so many people love opera. As you learn about the styles of singing, music, stories, and eras that categorize each opera, you will also get a glimpse into the drama that was happening behind the scenes. Stories of famous opera singers, tragic and hilarious tales of backstage mishaps, and finding the truths behind popular opera mythology will make you look at your favorite operas in a way you never had before.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN • What it takes to put an opera together is nothing short of magical. This class explores all the magic that takes place Behind the Curtain. Each session features a guest speaker/teacher who will share their expertise in a variety of behind-the-scenes occupations – production, costuming, directing, administration, leadership, and so on. You will participate in exclusive experiences that will have you interacting with professionals at the top of the field in hands-on activities and candid discussions.
OPERA ACHIEVEMENT • Why do we call our Vocal Forum class Opera Achievement? Because this class focuses on helping you realize your full potential and builds the confidence you need to achieve your performance dreams. This class is 50% master class, 50% group voice lesson, and 100% about making you feel comfortable and confident singing in front of an audience. Bring that piece you’ve been afraid to try out anywhere else—this venue is a safe and nurturing space where you can leave your fears behind and test the vocal waters in a welcoming environment.
IMPROV ACTING • Our improvisation and acting class not only offers a fun way for you to explore your acting abilities—you will also be trained using well-known acting techniques through specially tailored exercises that reinforce dramatic technique for performers. This highly collaborative, interactive, and fun class will give you everything you need to be comfortable on the stage and will give you the tools to bring your characters to life!
OPERA SCENES • All participants will take part in an opera scenes program where you’ll combine all of the skills you’ve learned during your time at Bravo Academy and put them into practice by performing with fellow attendees. Your scenes will be assigned to you on day one and each afternoon will be spent in rehearsals preparing your scenes. Bravo Academy will conclude with a performance of these opera scenes, fully staged, where you can show off for your friends, family, and Pittsburgh Opera patrons.
Carlton Ford (Lead Teaching Artist)
Carlton Ford, acclaimed by The New York Times as a “robust baritone with a vibrant stage presence,” is a graduate of both The Juilliard School and Rice University. Carlton performed on many of the world's most renowned stages, including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Royal Albert Hall, and the Berlin Philharmonic. He holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Rice University and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious YoungArts award (2006) and being named one of Miami's 40 Under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow by Legacy Magazine (2016).
Angela McKinzie (Administrative Counselor)
Angela McKinzie is the camp administrative counselor who assists the BRAVO director Rebekah Diaz with organizing the program. She believes that having a program like BRAVO academy not only provides a sneak peak into the opera world, but also allows young artists to nurture their gifts in a welcoming setting. Angela is currently a sophomore at Northwestern University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Theatre. Prior to joining the BRAVO team, she was the stage manager for Opera Projects for Undergraduate Singers (OPUS) at Northwestern and has several years of stage experience throughout her time at Oakland Catholic Highschool.
Danielle Pastin (Lead Teaching Artist)
Praised by Opera News as having “one of the most sheerly beautiful voices on the scene today,” American soprano Danielle Pastin continues to earn critical acclaim for her engagements across the country. Pastin made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Masha in The Queen of Spades in 2011, and recently performed as Nedda in their production of Pagliacci. She was also featured as Frasquita in the Met’s production of Carmen in 2012 and 2013. Pastin’s recent engagements have included Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera and Knoxville Opera; Masha in Enemies, A Love Story with Kentucky Opera; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Palm Beach Opera; and appearances at Four Arts in Palm Beach, including as soloist with cellist Amit Peled’s Cello Gang and in recital., the world premiere of Robert Paterson’s Three Way with both Nashville Opera and the Brooklyn Academy of Music; as well as Turandot (Liu) with Nashville Opera and Virginia Opera; Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio San) with Northern Lights Music Festival; Cosi fan Tutte (Fiordiligi), La traviata (Violetta), and Le Nozze di Figaro (Countess Almaviva) with Pittsburgh Opera; Leila in Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers with Toledo Opera; Die Fledermaus (Rosalinda) with Opera Naples; La bohème (Mimì) with Syracuse Opera; Otello (Desdemona) with Dayton Opera; The Merry Widow (Hanna) with Pensacola Opera; and Le nozze di Figaro (Countess Almaviva) with Opera Main. She was also recently the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, in Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, and in Verdi’s Requiem with The Dayton Opera and with Distinguished Concerts International New York in Barcelona.
Mark Trawka (Lead Coach)
Mark Trawka, pianist/coach/conductor, joined Pittsburgh Opera as Director of Musical Studies for the prestigious Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Training Program in the 2003-04 season. In the 2006-07 season, he also took on the position of Chorus Master. Mr. Trawka coaches and performs with the Resident Artists and has also accompanied renowned mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti in her Pittsburgh recital appearances. Educated at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, Mr. Trawka began his operatic career in the Houston Opera Studio and in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program.He has worked as a member of the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, and the Dallas Opera At Portland Opera (Oregon), he was principal pianist and assistant chorus master. Mr. Trawka served as coach/accompanist at Chautauqua Opera and at Glimmerglass Opera for many summer seasons. He has been a member of the coaching faculty at Songfest (formerly in Los Angeles) since 2015. In addition to regularly conducting and leading chorus rehearsals, Mark has conducted several Resident Artist shows including Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 , Douglas Cuomo’s Savage Winter, and David T. Little’s Soldier Songs.
Mark Trawka’s faculty position at Pittsburgh Opera is generously sponsored by Eileen and John Olmsted and co-sponsored by the Hollinshead Family in memory of Sylvia Hollinshead and the glorious Pittsburgh Opera Chorus.