American baritone, Ralph Cato has travelled the world extensively, telling stories in song with his warm, clarion baritone voice.
Early in his career, he toured extensively as a member of the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers and the Los Angeles Jazz Choir as a featured soloist. His operatic performances include the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Amonasro in Aida, Renato in Ballo in Maschera, Sonora in Fanciulla del West, Germont in LaTraviata, Scarpia in Tosca, and many others. He performed his first Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff with the National Symphony in Tallinn, Estonia. He has since performed the solos in in this work numerous times to critical acclaim, and will give his twentieth performance of the work in the spring of 2022.
Cato also toured Europe, China, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the US as the primary singer in the sensational Irish dance show, Riverdance. He has been featured as soloist with the Long Beach Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Bangor (Maine), The Pacific Chorale, The L.A. Master Chorale, and The Santa Barbara Choral Society. His performances with orches-tra include The Pacific Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, as well as the San Bernardino, Folsom, Stockton, and Auburn Symphonies, the Silicon Valley Sym-phony and The Southeast Symphony of Los Angeles.
Ralph is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and a Master of Music degree in Vocal performance respectively.
Dr. Cato has always been a champion of music education and performance. When he is not performing, he teaches applied voice, and diction for singers at the University of California, Riverside.
Tenor, Benjamin Brecher has performed over fifty operatic roles with many of the world’s most prestigious opera companies, specializing in the high lying lyric tenor repertoire. He has performed 16 roles with New York City Opera alone. Career highlights include performances with Opera Orchestra of New York, L’Opera de Nice, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, L’Opera de Montreal, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, among many others. His orchestral solo repertoire includes Mozart, Handel, Orff, Bach, Haydn, as well as many performances of Britten. In 2000 he began performing the great Irish Tenor songs in a concert produced for him entitled A Celtic Celebration, Twenty years later, the show has become a North American hit with performances with 45 Symphonies in North America. Ben continues his discography having added his twelfth recording in 2016 Forgotten Liszt, with pianist Robert Koenig, and will record a new release in 2022 entitled “Three Centuries of Thomas Moore” including the music of Britten, Berlioz, and Sarah Gibson on MSR Classics. He is a Professor of Voice at University of California Santa Barbara, where he has served as the Head of Voice.
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Born and raised in Southern California, April Amante is a versatile soprano with expertise and facility in repertoire spanning from early music to contemporary musical theater.
April made her LA Opera debut as the Solo Soprano Voice and Chorus Soloist in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” in January 2020. She was the Soprano Soloist for Handel’s “Messiah” with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2019, and for the Messiah Sing Along the previous year, both performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall. April played the role of Mrs. Sinclair in the world premiere of Eric Whitacre’s mini-opera “The Gift of the Magi” at Walt Disney Concert Hall at the 2019 Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Festival of Carols concert. Most recently she sang the role of Donna Anna in UC Santa Barbara’s virtual production of Don Giovanni in 2021 and will be singing First Lady in their English version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in February 2022. She has performed and covered mainstage roles with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Opera San Luis Obispo, Pacific Opera Project, and the Los Angeles Opera Outreach Program. Favorite roles performed include Laurey (Oklahoma), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Frasquita (Carmen), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), and Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica). She has been a featured soloist with the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra in concert at the Vina Robles Amphitheater and Opera San Luis Obispo’s Broadway by the Sea. She has been on the roster of the Los Angeles Master Chorale since 2017.
In addition to her performance credits, April is currently a Semifinalist in the Music International Grand Prix Competition. She was also a semi-finalist in the Camerata Bardi International Vocal Competition, the Loren L. Zachary Opera Competition, the Lyra New York Mozart Vocal Competition 2018 (Opera Category), the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition 2018, and in the 29th International Nuits Lyriques de Marmande Competition 2017 in Marmande, France. She was the winner of the 42nd Annual American Educators of Italian Origin United (AEIOU) Opera Competition in 2012, a finalist in the 36th Annual Carmel Music Society Vocal Competition, and a national finalist in the NATS National Musical Theater Competition in 2014. April received a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) magna cum laude in Vocal Performance from California State University-Northridge and a Master of Music (M.M.) from the University of Arizona. She currently studies with Isabel Bayrakdarian while obtaining her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Tracy Van Fleet is pleased to return to the Santa Barbara Choral Society. As a soloist, she has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Lüneburg Symphony in Germany, Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río in Mexico, Pasadena Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Los Angeles Bach Festival, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Philharmonic, USC Symphony and Chorus, and others. She has had many appearances with the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Opera Pacific, San Diego Opera and Opera Colorado.
In 2017 Tracy was the alto soloist for 6 different productions of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony spanning across Germany, Mexico and the US. With SBCS Tracy was the featured mezzo soloist on the 2016 tour of Italy singing the Mozart Requiem at many UNESCO sites. She has toured with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Europe and the U.S. singing the oratorio by John Adams The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Tracy earned a Master and Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California, where she graduated cum laude.
Tracy is proud to continue building her online voice academy: The Ageless Singer. She is committed to creating a supportive environment, for women over 50, where we work constructively together on this joyful journey of loving our voice for a lifetime! Please visit the website: www.agelessinger.com