Faculty for Acting for Singers Intensive Training


SusanGundunas2016Headshot copy

Susan Gundunas is a critically acclaimed, award winning singer and actor who has performed leading roles in operas, plays, musicals and recitals in Germany and across the United States. When not performing, Susan teaches acting workshops and voice privately in San Francisco and at UC Berkeley.  In 2012 she founded the Complete Package Performer workshops, master classes and boot camps in order to give singers a practical chance to hone their craft in a supportive, uplifting but rigorous setting. For more information please visit her website at www.susangundunas.com

jeffrey sykesPianist Jeffrey Sykes has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, and Chile. For the last eighteen years, Mr. Sykes served as the Music Director of Opera for the Young, a preeminent producer and presenter of opera for children that has introduced more than two million children to opera.  He works extensively as a vocal coach throughout the US and teaches at the University of California at Berkeley.  He also joined the faculty of California State University-East Bay in the fall of 2008 where he directs the piano accompanying and vocal coaching programs. Together with violinist Axel Strauss and cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Sykes is a founding member of the San Francisco Piano Trio.  He is the founder and artistic director of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society of Wisconsin, a highly-acclaimed and innovative chamber music festival now in its twenty-third season, and is a regular guest artist in the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio, Texas and Music in the Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. He has recorded for the Albany, CRI, Mandala, Centaur, and Cactus Pear record labels.

Past Faculty for Summer Boot Camps 2013, 2014, 2016

jane randolph

Jane Randolph’s 25 years of experience teaching voice to students has led her across North AmericaHer students have sung in major national and international opera companies and have been winners of countless prestigious competitions, such as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the San Francisco Opera Auditions and the Operalia-Domingo Competition. After completing her studies at the University of California–Santa Barbara, the University of California–Los Angeles and the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, she enjoyed an extensive career in opera, recital and oratorio in the United States, Europe and Australia. Jane starts young singers on the right track and keeps seasoned professionals vocally healthy during a lengthy career. For the past 16 years, Jane has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She also works privately at her studio.

Jose Maria CondemiJose Maria Condemi’s directorial work, which has been presented by companies in North America and abroad, encompasses an eclectic range of styles and repertoire and has been consistently praised for its creatively theatrical and innovative approach.

Notable engagements include Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Tosca, Così fan tutte, Un Ballo in Maschera, The Elixir of Love for Families and the world premiere of The Secret Garden (San Francisco Opera), Ernani, Tristan und Isolde and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Families (Lyric Opera Chicago), Aida (Houston Grand Opera), Luisa Miller (Canadian Opera Company), Orphee et Eurydice, La Bohème, Tosca and Il Trovatore (Seattle Opera), Frida (Michigan Opera Theater), Ainadamar, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Maria de Buenos Aires (Cincinnati Opera), A Streetcar Named Desire (Kentucky Opera), Don Giovanni (Portland Opera), Cosi fan tutte and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Atlanta Opera), Cendrillon (New Orleans Opera), The Elixir of Love (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis), Maria Padilla (Minnesota Opera), Florencia en el Amazonas (Opera Colorado and Utah Opera), Simone Boccanegra (Teatro Colon/Buenos Aires), Il Trovatore (Austin Lyric Opera), Tosca and Maria de Buenos Aires (Florida Grand Opera), La Traviata (Wolftrap Opera), Falstaff, Die Zauberflöte, L’elisir d’amore, La Rondine, Don Pasquale and La Traviata (Opera San Jose), Susannah and Roméo and Juliette (Festival Opera) and the San Francisco Opera Western Opera Theater’s national tours of Die Fledermaus and Don Giovanni. As Associate Director, he has worked on The Ring Cycle and Les Troyens (San Francisco Opera), Così Fan Tutte (Lyric Opera Chicago) Ballo in Maschera (Canadian Opera Company) and Falstaff (Houston Grand Opera.) Collaborations with contemporary composers include directing the world premieres of Hector Armienta’s River of Women and The Weeping Woman and the workshop performance of the San Francisco Opera commissioned piece Earthrise by 2000 Pulitzer Prize Lewis Spratlan.

His theater directing credits include Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest, Dürrenmatt’s The Physicists, Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba.

Mr. Condemi is also in high demand as a trainer of young artists and has been a guest lecturer, master teacher and stage director for the San Francisco Opera Center, Seattle Opera Young Artists Program, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Houston Grand Opera Studio, University of Cincinnati/CCM, University of Houston Moores School, Opera Theater of Lucca and the New National Theater Young Artists Programme in Tokyo. Highlights of his educational directing assignments include new productions of Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Bohème and La Cenerentola for the Merola Opera Program and Così fan Tutte for the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program.

Originally from Argentina, Mr. Condemi received an undergraduate degree in Opera Stage Direction at the Teatro Colón/Buenos Aires and completed a Master of Fine Arts in Directing at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He was also a first-time Adler Fellow in Stage Direction at the San Francisco Opera and a Fulbright Fellow

Upcoming directing engagements include new productions Tosca (Cincinnati Opera) as well as Carmen (Lyric Opera of Kansas City) and Don Giovanni (Arizona Opera.)

Condemi is currently the Director of Opera of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara from 2010 until 2015 where he oversaw artistic planning and the Studio Artists Program.

Visual portfolio, review excerpts and calendar at http://www.josemariacondemi.com


raeeka Raeeka Yaghmai is an expert empowerment coach for professional creatives, voice teacher & opera singer. Her transformational coaching program “Successful Musician Mindset” (SMM) helps musicians at all levels in group or private settings to get rid of the self-doubt & the infamous ”starving artist” mentality, by building, empowering & sustaining their core confidence and mindset, so that they can perform at their optimal level, rock their auditions & performances, & create a prosperous, successful & happy life on and off stage. Her coaching program also helps successful and established creatives to preserve, promote and increase their potential. She has been invited to work with the students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, The Complete Package Performer Summer Intensive Program as well as BASOTI (Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute) and share her coaching program.  In 2014 she will be a guest speaker for the prestigious San Francisco Design Center and her Coaching company “Creating with Confidence” will be offering individual and group classes.  For information you can visit www.raeeka.com and www.creatingwithconfidence.com.

_DSC9330.jpegKristina Driskill has been involved in the training of performing artists since 1997, first as a voice instructor and additionally for the past decade as a performance technique and marketing instructor. She has served as a faculty member for universities and summer programs, as a programs administrator and managing director, and has produced and directed shows. She has also been a speaker/presenter for music organizations, universities, and opera companies.
An instrumentalist for 8 years and an opera singer for 20 years, Kristina is well-versed in the common (and not-so-common) issues faced by performers and understands the demands of the industry. She has worked one-on-one in a mentoring capacity with over 1,000 singers and holds certifications in Social Emotional Arts and social media, as well as a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree. She currently works remotely as a consultant for performing artists at all levels, focusing on marketing, mindset, networking, and organizational management.www.kristinadriskill.com

Photo by Betsy Kershner, 2014.  www.betsykershner.comStephen Guggenheim is an accomplished opera singer having sung leading operatic roles throughout the world. His career highlights include singing the roles of Tito in La Clemenza di Tito and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with the San Francisco Opera, Don Jose in Carmen with L’Opera de Lyon and on tour to Guam and Japan with the San Francisco Opera.

Stephen originated the title role in Thea Musgrave’s Simon Bolívar with Virginia Opera and later singing selections from Simon Bolívar during the annual BBC Promenade Concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall with the Scottish National Symphony. Stephen was a participant in the Merola Opera Program with the San Francisco Opera where he was awarded an Adler Fellowship. He sang Rodolfo in La Boheme in Japan with the San Francisco Opera and the role of Achilles in the North American premiere of Sir Michael Tippett’s King Priam under the baton of Donald Runnicles. Stephen is also an accomplished Cantor having served Temple Beth Jacob in Redwood City, California and Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, California.

In late 2016, he will return to New York to perform the role of Mayor Gronam Schmegegi in the Off-Broadway premiere of The MeshugaNutcracker!, an original musical he co-wrote and co-produced.

jonathan khunerSince 1985 Jonathan Khuner, has been Musical Director of (Berkeley) West Edge Opera. He is prompter and assistant conductor at San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera of New York, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Last November he conducted Tannhäuser at the National Theater in Tirana, Albania – that country’s first ever production of any Wagner opera, and Das Ringchen at Minnesota Concert Opera. Khuner has taught at many workshops, including Opera Academy of California, California Opera Association (Fresno) and BASOTI. He inaugurated and led an opera scenes program at UC Berkeley for four years. This summer at West Edge Khuner is conducting full productions of La Bohème and Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair.  He very frequently gives classes and lectures for San Francisco Opera.

image_galleryAmerican mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook has excelled in a wide range of roles with leading companies throughout the United States. The Cincinnati Post wrote that she “more than once recalled the great mezzo Marilyn Horne: her luxurious voice showed remarkable flexibility.” Her exciting characterizations garner acclaim as well. Following recent performances of La Cenerentola, the San Francisco Chronicle exclaimed, “As Tisbe, the younger of the two stepsisters, mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook continued her seemingly endless streak as one of the company’s great underused treasures, combining forceful singing and sly comic charm into an irresistible package.”

She has performed more than 45 roles to date with the company, including Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro and La Frugola in Il tabarro. Cook is a graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she was the winner of the Norman Triegle Award in opera and the same year was a Metropolitan National Council Winner. Cook’s students have been winners in many vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and are chosen to participate in many apprentice programs throughout the country. In addition to maintaining a full voice studio, she holds annual audition workshops in the Bay Area and teaches Audition Workshop for Singers at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Catherine Cook can be contacted at ccook@sfcm.edu

marla volonaBoth opera director and mezzo-soprano Marla Volovna made her operatic debut in Besancon, France as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma and went on to sing leading operatic roles all over France. Ms. Volovna co-founded and acted as main stage director for the Apollo Opera Company, from 1989 to 2003 directing such operas as “Madame Butterfly”, “Carmen” and “Rigoletto” which received enormous acclaim. Currently Stage Director for Marin Baroque, Ms Volovna directed Handel’s, “Acis and Galatea”,last Spring and upcoming, Blow’s “Venus and Adonis”. Ms. Volovna has taught  at the University level for thirteen years as well as master classes in vocal technique, “Acting for Singers” and “Acting the Aria” at the renowned Opera Institute of the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires.  For more information, refer to: www.volovnavocalstudio.com

To read Marla’s blog, please visit MARLAVOLOVNA.WORDPRESS.COM