In this episode I will visit with my dear friends, Julie Wyma and Anastasia Nikolov, founders of Opera Programs Berlin.
Both Julie and Anastasia went through traditional conservatory training, and were both taken aback by the insistence that there’s only one prescribed path to success in opera. Their answer to filling the gaps in vocal education was to create Opera Programs Berlin, an online and in-person opera academy which has grown exponentially over the last year in the online space.
As an educator, Julie’s passion lies in helping singers make the transition from student to professional, and in guiding talented people to the places where they are needed. She has served as a vocal coach, preparing singers for auditions and talent competitions, as well as an audition panelist and advisor. With organizations such as Opera Programs Berlin, Dramatic Voices Program Berlin, Irrational Entertainment, Midwest Early Opera Works, Voci Inglesi, Berlin Wagner Gruppe and Berliner Opernverein, she has facilitated performance opportunities for singers seeking additional stage experience and the chance to hone their craft in a supportive, professional environment.
As a professional operatic soprano she has performed more than 25 roles, including die Königin der Nacht and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Rosina in I barbiere di Siviglia, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Gilda in Rigoletto, Marie in Die verkaufte Braut, Musetta in La Bohème, Sophie in Werther, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, the Waldvogel in Siegfried, and Norina in Don Pasquale. Of her Norina, the Kansas City Metropolis said: “soprano Julie Wyma sparkled with a self-confident air and a strong, beautiful voice.”
An active concert performer and recitalist, her recent appearances include concerts at the US Consul General in Düsseldorf and the Residence of the US Ambassador to Germany in Berlin; a song recital at the University of Pittsburg at Greensburg; Lovers’ Quarrels, a concert of operatic duets and arias in Concord, New Hampshire and Niemegk, Germany; Three Tenors and a Soprano concerts in Cornish and New London, New Hampshire; and Viva Divas!, a concert of operatic arias, duets, and trios in Cornish, New Hampshire, Phoenix, Arizona and Berlin, Germany.
Soprano Anastasia Nikolov started her musical training at the age of 5, studying piano. She was a member of the Bulgarian National Theater Youth Ensemble, where she was cast in numerous main stage and touring productions. Her training at the National Theatre included acting, improvisation, Latin and folk dance. Other musical studies also included percussion and classical guitar.
Ms. Nikolov is a champion of new music. She has premiered works by prominent American and British composers such as Vartan Aghababian, Michael Djupstrom, Victoria Ellis, Heather Gilligan and Eric Sawyer; some of these works were written and dedicated to her. In addition to numerous song cycles and solo concert works with orchestra, she also created the role of Anna von Mildenburg in the new piece Geboren Alma Schindler (Berliner Opern Verein); the role of Member of the Chamber in the premiere performance of Eric Sawyer's Our American Cousin (Composers in Red Sneakers); and the title role in the world premiere of Victoria Ellis' opera Darling (One of Us Foundation).
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Music credit: Our Block Party by Reaktor Productions
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