Born into a family of singers, Maria Todaro has been surrounded by music and arts from a very young age. An artist and an art entrepreneur, this prominently established opera singer is also a stage director, librettist, choir director, and CEO of The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice.
A specialist in the baroque repertoire and in the works of Rossini, having performed in the latter’s La Cenerentola, La Donna del Lago, and of course as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Maria is also known for her Carmen and for roles in Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, and in contemporary works as well as for choral and symphonic works. She made her directorial debut in 2015 with Cavalleria Rusticana for the New Jersey Festival Orchestra under the baton of David Wroe, followed by a production of La Boheme in March, 2016, and by commitments to direct Cyrano de Bergerac, Don Giovanni, and two more productions of La Boheme in 2017-2018.
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Baritone Louis Otey, a major stage personality noted for his incisive and provocative interpretations, has performed in the major opera houses around the world in a career spanning 30 years, five continents, and more than 20 countries. His repertory is as varied as the geographies he has graced and includes signature performances in the great roles for his voice -- Scarpia in Tosca, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, the title roles in Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Rigoletto, and Der Fliegende Hollander, and the four villains in Les Contes D’Hoffmann. The Otey repertory also ranges as widely as from Grandier in Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudun to the title role in Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim.
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BarBara Mellon Kolb
An accomplished artist who has won awards for her imaginative mosaic creations, Barb Kolb also has broad business experience and has managed to combine the two worlds, bringing to the arts arena the practical skills hard-won in financial control and analysis roles for the Alpine Board of Education, Town of Woodstock, and Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild Ltd. She has put these skills to work first as the sole proprietor of Mellon Music Management, managing the performance career of her husband, pianist Justin Kolb, and today on behalf of the Festival of the Voice, where she serves as chief financial officer, organizer and chief steward of all ticket operations, and manager of the all-important Festival education programs.
Pianist, educator, and performing arts entrepreneur Justin Kolb has premiered compositions by Robert Starer, John Downey, Peter Schickele, Paul Alan Levi, William Ferris, and Robert Cucinotta in a performing career that has taken him from Budapest to Santa Barbara-- highlighted by solo turns with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Philharmonic, and Amernet String Quartet, and by a recording career with Albany Records.
He is also known as a lecturer and motivational speaker about music in education and about managing a musical career. Executive secretary of the American Liszt Society and a co-founder and director of the recently established Catskills Academy of Performing Arts, Kolb, an Army veteran, is a recipient of the Legion of Merit and Army Commendation Medal and of the Distinguished Alumni Award from DePaul University.