Voice students of Thomas Harper, Kari Ragan, and Cyndia Sieden perform arts songs and arias from Germany, France, Italy, and beyond.
Thomas Harper is Associate Professor of Voice and Director of the Opera Theater at the University of Washington. In addition to voice instruction and direction of opera productions, he holds classes in Diction, Vocal Pedagogy, and Art-Song Repertoire.
He has performed for three decades in opera houses and concert halls in Europe and the Americas, including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Grand Théâtre de Genève, RAI Torino, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, Téatro Municipal de Santiago, Chile, and many others. He has amassed a wide and varied repertoire of over fifty roles including the “Duke” in Rigoletto, “Rodolfo” in La Bohème, “Radames” in Aida, “Canio” in I Pagliacci, “Eléazar” in La Juive, “Florestan” in Fidelio, “Erik” in Der Fliegende Holländer, “Parsifal” in Parsifal, “Alwa” in Alban Berg’s Lulu, “Gregor” in Leoš Janá?ek’s Makropoulos Affair and “Mime” in Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which he also recorded on the Arte Nova label. He has won enthusiastic praise for the role of “Fritz” on the Naxos recording of Franz Schreker’s opera Der Ferne Klang and for his definitive interpretation of “Mime” in Der Ring des Nibelungen in numerous European and American opera houses. He may also be heard on the Naxos label singing Famous Tenor Arias from the Italian repertoire as well as Gustav Mahler’s Lied von der Erde with the Irish National Orchestra.
Soprano Kari Ragan holds degrees from Indiana University (BM, MM) and the University of Washington (DMA). Her dissertation, “The Ballad of Baby Doe: Historical Accuracy and Gender Ideology in the Characterization of August and Baby Doe,” focused on feminist perspective of Douglas Moore’s 1956 opera.
In 2012, Dr. Ragan was the recipient of the Van L. Lawrence Fellowship, a prestigious award presented jointly by The Voice Foundation and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Her research topic for this fellowship is “The Parameters and Utility of Vocal Cool Down Exercises.” In 2011, she earned the Wicklund Singing Voice Specialist Certificate and in 2010 the New York Singing Teachers (NYSTA) Association’s Distinguished Voice Professional Certificate. Dr. Ragan was selected to present at the 51st NATS National Conference on Voice Disorders and the Multidisciplinary Team. In 2009, she was the recipient of the NATS Pedagogy Award. Dr. Ragan’s article “Intubation Considerations for Singers” was published in the NYSTA’s VOICEPrints in 2010 and the augmented article co-written with anesthesiologist Dr. Kunal Gangopadhyay, will be published in the Journal of Singing in the fall of 2012. Additionally, her article entitled “The Connected Voice Studio” was published in the Journal of Singing in September 2010.
Dr. Ragan joined the University of Washington voice faculty in the fall of 2010 where she teaches graduates and undergraduates applied voice, vocal pedagogy, Italian diction, and French art song literature. Additionally, she has developed and maintained a thriving and collaborative independent voice studio for over twenty-five years.
Although her primary training, performing, and teaching is in the classical genre, she has also specialized in Contemporary Musical Theater (CMT) pedagogy and as a Singing Voice Specialist (SVS)—a voice teacher with specialized training in helping the injured voice. Her work in this area is in association with a team including Laryngologists and Speech Language Pathologists (SLP). As a result of her three specialties (classical pedagogy, CMT pedagogy and an SVS) she is frequently sought after as a clinician and adjudicator for workshops and masterclasses throughout the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Ragan is a member of NYSTA, an organizing member of the Northwest Chapter of the Voice Foundation (NWCVF), has served on the board of the Puget Sound Chapter of NATS, and is a member of Northwest Artists.
As an active performer she has sung with such companies as Seattle Opera, Spokane Opera, Fort Collins Symphony, Helena Symphony, Washington East Opera, Spokane Symphony, Lyric Opera Northwest, and Opera Idaho, among others. In addition, she is a frequent recitalist, having recently presented a series of recitals, throughout the Northwest, with Maestro Dean Williamson at the piano. She has been recognized as the Regional finalist for the Metropolitan National Council Competition and the MacCallister Competition.
American soprano Cyndia Sieden moves easily among the Baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary repertoires to worldwide acclaim. In addition, her performances and recordings of his works affirm her status as one of the sovereign Mozart interpreters of the present day.
Highlights of 2011 included performances in Morton Feldman's monodrama Neither for New York City Opera, Ariadne in Wolfgang Rihm's Dionysos at the Netherlands Opera and Soprano I in Luigi Nono's Prometeo at the Salzburg and Berlin Festivals. In contrast to these knotty modern works, she returned to Blondchen in Mozart's Abduction with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and on tour throughout Holland.
Sieden has starred at most of the world's great opera houses, including the Munich Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Met, Paris's Opéra Bastille, the Wiener Staatsoper, Barcelona's Gran Teatre de Liceu, Brussels's La Monnaie, and London's Covent Garden and English National, as well as in Beijing and Australia. Her highly-praised Metropolitan Opera debut was as Berg's Lulu, and her success quickly led to reengagement in 2008 for Die Zauberflöte's Queen of the Night, one of her signature roles.
She is a brilliantly idiomatic interpreter of the works of Richard Strauss. She frequently performs Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (Munich, Japan, Vienna), as well as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier (Paris Châtelet) and Aminta in Die schweigsame Frau (Palermo and Munich).
Her performances in the high-flying role of Ariel in the premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, ignited rave reviews and an astonished public. She has garnered equal enthusiasm and devotion for her Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, all over the world. Other specialties are Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, and the operas of Handel.
Sieden is much in demand for Orff's Carmina Burana, the oratorios and masses of Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, and works of Bach, Strauss and Mahler. She has sung with many of the most renowned symphony orchestras in the world, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival. In addition, her Lieder recitals are always highly-anticipated events.
Cyndia Sieden was born in California, USA, and received her first vocal instruction there. The significant milestone in her studies was work with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in master classes in Carmel Valley, CA in 1982. Schwarzkopf then invited Sieden to become her private student, and also to work with her in master classes at the 1983 Salzburg Mozarteum. Sieden sang in the culminating concert/competition and won first place, the springboard for her first professional engagements.
In 1984, Cyndia Sieden made her European debut in Il Barbiere at the Bavarian State Opera; her American debut also took place in 1984, in La Fille du Regiment, in Tampa, Florida.