Opera Fusion is excited to bring together a world class production team for our 2019 Renee Greenberg Emerging Artists program! Together they will provide invaluable leadership, guidance, mentoring, and experience that our very talented singers can take with them as they develop their careers. Let’s meet the team!
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Greg Ritchey
A versatile musician on the podium and at the keyboard, Greg Ritchey has held positions with prestigious companies in the US and internationally, including the Wexford Opera Festival, Palm Beach Opera, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, GulfShore Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Recent productions he conducted have included Ariadne auf Naxos, Così fan tutte, Turn of the Screw, Gianni Schicchi, and Rigoletto. A graduate of the Julliard School of Music, Mr. Ritchey is Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster at Palm Beach Opera. He has previously held music staﬀ positions, including the Dallas Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Opera, Virginia Opera and Sarasota Opera.
STAGE DIRECTOR: Martha Collins
Martha Collins returns to Opera Fusion’s Emerging Artists Project as stage director and acting coach. Her work has been praised as “world-class, magical staging”, “mastery of zany, comic fun”, and for “her direction of insightful character portrayals”. Recent projects have included Dialogues of the Carmelites for Sarasota Opera, where she has been heavily involved in their youth opera program. For New York University, Collins directed The Magic Flute, Orpheus in the Underworld, and L’enfant et les sortilèges. Her other productions include Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci and Faust at Tri-Cities Opera, Side by Side by Sondheim at New England Conservatory, Il Tabarro and Amahl and the Night Visitors with Opera North, Susannah and The Elixir of Love for Opera Mozart in New Jersey, and Dido and Aeneas at Brevard Music Center.
PRINCIPAL VOCAL COACH: Ben Malensek
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, Ben Malensek has established himself as one of the leading opera coaches in the country. He has served as Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, head of musical staff for the Dallas Opera, principal coach for Opera Theater of St. Louis for the past 32 seasons, vocal coach for the Santa Fe Opera, and vocal coach/assistant conductor for the Canadian Opera Company. Mr. Malensek has also worked on productions for the New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, and the Zurich Opera. In his own words: “I am a musician who’s goal is to get to the truth of every piece of music I work on- – to get OFF the page – – and to use my imagination in the composer’s way of thinking.”
PRODUCER: Birgit Djupedal Fioravante
Executive Director of Opera Fusion Birgit Djupedal Fioravante made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York singing Fricka in scenes from Wagner’s Ring Cycle before moving to Florida to raise her two daughters. She has continued to perform in opera, concerts and recitals, appearing on radio and television. She has been a guest soloist with symphony orchestras and opera companies including Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand Opera and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. Utilizing her education and experience Birgit has turned her passion toward teaching with an active vocal studio for over twenty years. Many of her students have gone on to build vocal studios and performing arts ensembles of their own; to grace the stages of opera companies such as the Metropolitan Opera and venues worldwide, as far as Moscow and Japan; and to garner Tony nominations in Broadway productions. Inspired by her experiences encountered on her musical journey, Birgit created the three-woman show Duelling Divas, a hilarious tribute to the art and personality of the opera diva that has toured the country since 2006.