Russian Opera Workshop Brings Tchaikovsky to Philadelphia

Russian Opera Workshop Brings Tchaikovsky to Philadelphia

Russian Opera Workshop has announced its Fourth summer season, spanning two months and two major Tchaikovsky in-concert productions. The Maid of Orleans, a Philadelphia premiere, is presented June 24-26, and timeless Eugene Onegin takes stage July 29-31. Both operas are preceded by Monday concerts of Russian Romances (June 23 and July 28), introducing the operatic singers and offering a foreword on the upcoming opera series. Performances are sung in Russian with English supertitles, with Founder & Music Director Ghenady Meirson at the piano. All shows start at 7:30 pm at the Helen Corning Warden Theater, the Academy of Vocal Arts (1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103), and are free to public.

This summer, Russian Opera Workshop's participating artists arrive to Philadelphia from across the United States, Mexico and Croatia to master their skills in many facets of opera performance and Russian diction. In its fourth year, the summer workshop offers two intensive month-long sessions to study Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans in June (this opera has never been heard in Philadelphia) and the beloved Eugene Onegin in July. At the end of each monthly session, the aspiring singers give public performances to Philadelphia audiences who have been traditionally filling the intimate space of the Academy of Vocal Arts to capacity.

The Philadelphia premiere performance of The Maid of Orleans includes a chorus comprised of singers from the local choral groups: Philadelphia Singers, Choral Arts Philadelphia and Mendelssohn Club, with Tim Ribchester as the chorus master.

In addition to its Founder and Music Director Ghenady Meirson, the 2014 Workshop faculty includes: Dr. Sharon Bain (Lecturer in Russian at Bryn Mawr College) Russian language class;

Benita Valente** (AVA faculty), a distinguished American soprano, Thor Eckert** (AVA faculty), professional development coach, William Stone** (AVA faculty), baritone, Michael Eberhard**, artistic administrator of Opera Philadelphia, Daren Hagen, an American composer;

Prof. Ilya Vinitsky, chair of Slavic languages at University of Pennsylvania. The faculty also includes opera/voice coaches: José Meléndez (AVA master coach), Michele Scanlon (AVA),

Tim Ribchester (AVA) and Reese Revak (Curtis Institute of Music).

During the course of each month, the faculty members (marked with **) also offer a series of vocal and audition/professional development Master Classes, which will be open to public at no charge.

"Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans is based on the story of Joan of Arc and is very rarely performed. We are excited to bring it to Philadelphia for the first time," said Meirson.

"Historically, Tchaikovsky composed the role of Joan of Arc for soprano, and later versions of the opera were transposed for a mezzo-soprano. We will be presenting the original version."


Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA.

No tickets/reservations required, open seating.

More information at


Lecture and Concert of Russian Romances

Monday, June 23 at 7:30 PM

Monday, July 28 at 7:30 PM

Introducing Russian Opera Workshop artists. Foreword to The Maid of Orleans by Prof. Ilya Vinitsky (June 23) and to Eugene Onegin by American composer Daron Hagen (July 28).

Tchaikovsky: The Maid of Orleans, in concert

Tuesday - Thursday, June 24, 25, 26 at 7:30 PM

Ghenady Meirson, Music Director and Pianist

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin, in concert

Tuesday - Thursday, July 29, 30, 31 at 7:30 PM

Ghenady Meirson, Music Director and Pianist


Thursday & Friday, June 5 and 6 at 1:00 PM

Thor Eckert, AVA faculty: Auditioning for competitions, agents and opera companies. A professional development class.

Thursday & Friday, June 12 and 13 at 1:00 PM

Benita Valente, a distinguished American soprano (AVA faculty): Vocal master class on standard opera repertoire, any language. Two groups of singers on consecutive days.

Thursday & Friday, July 10 and 11 at 1:00 PM

Michael Eberhard, Artistic Administrator at Opera Philadelphia: Auditioning, a professional development class. Two groups of singers on consecutive days.

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, July 16, 17 and 18 at 1:00 PM

William Stone, Baritone (AVA faculty): Vocal master class on standard opera repertoire, any language. Two groups of singers on consecutive days.

Russian Opera Workshop Alumni Success:

As of April, 2014: Six opera companies nationwide hired Russian Opera Workshop artists in the roles they learned here.

Bass Nicholas Masters ('12) wins The Dallas Opera Guild's Vocal Competition; in 2015 Nicholas will sing the role of Gremin in Eugene Onegin with Arizona Opera.

Baritone Efraín Solís ('11) was a Grand Finalist of 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Mezzos Cynthia Cook ('11) and Raehann Bryce-Davis ('12) were accepted in Florida Grand Opera Young Artist Program.

Pianist Geoffrey Loff ('12) was accepted in Minnesota Opera Young Artists program.

Sopranos Shelley Jackson ('11) and Youna Jang ('11) were accepted to the Academy of Vocal Arts.

Baritone Jeff Williams ('12 & 14') was accepted to Nashville Opera Young Artists Program. He also has been appointed as full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor of Voice at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN starting in the fall of 2014! In June 2014, Jeff returns to Russian Opera Workshop to sing Lionel and Dunois in the Philadelphia Premiere of Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans.

About Russian Opera Workshop:

Russian Opera Workshop is an independent summer training program for aspiring and professional opera singers. The program was founded in 2011 by Ghenady Meirson, faculty member at both the Academy of Vocal Arts and Curtis Institute of Music. The workshop offers an intensive one-month long Russian language immersion and vocal training program followed by free public performances. For more information: Ghenady Meirson 267.475.6500 or

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