• Laurel Contributor

Bel Canto’s Incredible Talents

by Janet Grantham

In addition to the four singers on stage in Bel Canto we have two other people who are mainstays of each and every Bel Canto performance.

First, our “Orchestra,” the eminitely talented pianist, conductor, teacher and accompanist, Dr. Stephen Dubberly, and our Artistic Advisor, Stella Zambalis, who performs in some of the major opera companies (including the Metropolitan Opera in New York) and is voice coach to many of the young rising stars in the world of opera as well as a judge in some of the major voice competitions held every year across the United States.

Dr. Dubberly has recently retired as Associate Professor in the Division of Conducting and Ensembles at the University of North Texas where he served as Music Director of UNT Opera and taught opera conducting and opera repertoire. He made his conducting debut in 1993 in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ American-premiere production of Judith Weir’s “The Black Spider.”

Since then, he has conducted for the Knoxville Opera Company, American Bel Canto Opera, the Teatro Accademico in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, The Teatro Goldoni in Venice, and the University of Tennessee as well as a numerous other companies across the US and Europe.

Other endeavors by Dr. Dubberly include serving as Chorus Master and Principal Coach for various other opera companies. Critics have hailed him as “the perfect partner” and “the ideal accompanist.” Dr. Dubberly began his musical training in Montevideo, Uruguay, and received the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Yale University. He lectures frequently for the Dallas Opera. Stella Zambalis is a regular guest of leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, and numerous others across the United States and has also performed with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.

Ms. Zambalis has created several new roles, including Cherubino in “The Ghosts of Versailles” for the Metropolitan Opera; the Stepmother in Philip Glass’ and Robert Moran’s “The Juniper Tree;” The Woman in Robert Moran’s “Desert of Roses” for the Houston Grand Opera; and the title role in the world premiere of “Rachel” for the Knoxville Opera, with additional performances in Nashville with Nashville Opera.

Ms. Zambalis first captured the attention of the music world as a finalist in the San Francisco Opera Auditions and as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. A native of Cleveland who grew up in Florida, she was a 22-year-old student of the late renowned Elena Nikolaidi and currently resides in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.

Without the talents and expertise of these two people, Bel Canto could not exist at the level of excellence that our audience has come to expect. So put Sunday, September 8, 2019, on your calendar now and plan to attend the 27th Annual Bel Canto Recital! To contact Bel Canto and get on the mailing list, send your contact information to Bel Canto Recital, P.O. Box 2392, Highlands, NC 28741 or call The Bascom at (828) 787-2867.

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