What Alumni Say

I Will Never Forget The Wonderful Experiences

I enjoyed very much the performance experiences at the Rome Festival Opera,
Being in Rome was fantastic itself!

I will never forget the wonderful experiences, my beautiful colleages whom I met in Rome, and the people with whom I worked in rehearsals and performances.

Rome Festival Opera, thank you very much!

Sincerely, Eun-Jung Auh ejauh76@gmail.com soprano, South Korea

A Lot of Quality Music

I had an absolutely amazing time performing with the Rome Festival Opera. I learned a lot, was provided a lot of room to be creative (especially in regards to staging), and as a whole the group performed a lot of quality music. The musicians were all very friendly, and the Maestro and Maestra were very warm and welcoming to me and my musical thoughts/interpretation.

All the runs of Cosi went very well. All the singers sang in the style of Mozart and had fun making the audience laugh at Mozart's best farce.

Rome itself...well there isn't much to say except WOW. I had never been to the ancient city, and I am so excited that I got to spend over three weeks there. The sights, sounds, food, and lifestyle were certainly intoxicating.

Joseph Rinaldi jwrinald@syr.edu baritone, USA

Have Become A More Confident Performer

The repertoire was wonderful as well as challenging,Ive learned alot from my experience and have become a more confident performer.

All of the people who took us on our excursions were simply lovely people.

I wish the Rome Festival much success

Mit freundlichen Gren,

Pamela Coats pccoats@hotmail.com clarinet, Germany

An Experience To Remember

I really did thoroughly enjoy my time in Rome and everything that I learned. This really was a "you get what you make of it" experience. I got many things that will help my future career and studying.

I enjoyed performing for the Rome Opera Festival. It was truly an experience to remember and something that I have never experienced before.

I learned some lovely stage-crafting skills that will tremendously benefit me in the future. Many things were enhanced and developed from this experience.

The coaching classes were good, They helped me put the characters of the roles into my voice.

The Master class with Maestra Anderws was amazing. She truly helped me with a few of my issues. Her suggestions benefited me greatly. Maestro Colacicchi was good as well. He helped me with the sound that I was going for.

The diction coaching was awesome. Maestra Premi was AMAZING!!! she really helped with my German. I finally got a few words that i could never say. She helped a lot, the diction classes were perfect.

I enjoyed living in the campo. That was an awesome place for artists to stay, to get good food, and to meet good people.

Jordan Holland jorholla@yahoo.com tenor, USA

Our Experience In The Rome Festival Was Wonderful

We really wanted to thank you for inviting us to be part of the Festival and for giving us so many opportunities to perform.

Thank you for the honor.

Our experience in the Rome Festival was wonderful

Our best wishes for the future. Affectionately,

Adriana Portales adrianaportales@yahoo.com mezzo soprano Venezuela
Hector Bivero hbivero@gmail.com volunteer actor, Venezuela

Absolutely Wonderful Time At The Festival

I had an absolutely wonderful time at the Rome Festival. I think about it all the time. It was wonderful meeting everyone from the States, Italy, and the other countries. Everyone was extremely nice and wonderful and talented. It was truly a privilege getting to play with so many wonderful people.

I enjoyed the repertoire very much and the challenging works.

I cannot stress enough how wonderful everyone was and how much I truly enjoyed everyone.

Thank you for a wonderful, wonderful summer.

Rome and you all are wonderful and beautiful. I miss both.

Tracy Hagen tracy_hagen72@yahoo.com violoncello, USA

Professional Performance

About my experience at the Rome Festival I say THANK YOU. I appreciate the hard work of coaches, conductors, administrators and all those involved to make the Festival happen and to make my performance a better one, a polished and profesional one.


Lydia Cepeda lydia.cepeda@yahoo.com soprano, Mexico/USA


Rome and the Rome Festival were great! Thanks for the opportunity of being able to perform Rome Festival Orchestra.

Dr. Deb Loftus deblofty9@comcast.net oboe, USA

Amazed And Inspired

I had an absolutely terrific time singing with the Rome Festival Opera! Maestro Maraffi is a fantastic musician, conductor, and stage director. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him. In fact, I would very much like to sing with Rome Festival Opera again in the future, and I hope that opportunity arises.

As for Rome itself, I was amazed and inspired. I do not know how anyone can go to Rome and not come away a changed person. I am now absolutely in love with Caravaggio and Bernini! Seeing their work in person gave me an entirely new perspective.

Professor Bonnie Bridget Cutsforth-Huber bbc10@psu.edu mezzosoprano, USA

Life Changing

My experience in the Rome Festival Orchestra was a life changing event. I learned that I can play well under the pressure of a professional level orchestra schedule. I learned how Rome was very important to the development of the arts and music.

The change in cultures was refreshing. It was like going from a pronounced non-appreciation of music and the arts to a very sincere enthusiastic people who support the arts dramatically. It made me appreciate the work I do as a musician.

Celeste Gates celestegates@yahoo.com clarinet, USA

One Of The Highlights Of My Life

I want to sincerely thank the Rome Festival for providing the opportunity for me to sing the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, getting to sing on four concerts, getting to see wonderful sights in Rome and interact with Italians and getting to meet all sorts of wonderful people. I had a fabulous time and learned a tremendous amount. It was certainly one of the highlights of my life.

Please, send my thanks especially to Maestro Maraffi and Maestra Ferrell. I grew a tremendous amount from their coaching and getting to interact with them.

Lynnette Owens lynnetteowens@comcast.net soprano, USA

Very Glad That I Participated

I really enjoyed the Rome Festival and am very glad that I participated! I don't think I could trade the experience for anything. I enjoyed the people involved, the WONDERFUL repertoire, and Rome itself.

I learned a lot from the "crunch" to prepare such difficult literature. With so much repertoire preparation times were condensed as professional groups are accustomed to doing.

I am so incredibly glad that I was able to participate and share my experiences with all who were involved.

Ciao and thanks,

Rosalind Buda rosalind-buda@uiowa.edu bassoon, USA

Great Repertoire

I enjoyed playing with the Rome Festival Orchestra, all of the repertoire, and the nice mixture of simpler pieces and larger works. I played a lot of great repertoire in a short period of time. I am a significantly better orchestral player now than when I started with the Festival.

I enjoyed living in the center of Rome, and thought the location was great.


Brandy Blakely brandyblakely@gmail.com flute, USA

My memories of the Rome Festival : Beautiful and Rewarding

I have been a twice participant in The Rome Festival Opera Summer Institute. Living each time for almost a month in the center of Rome, I count as one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences so far in my life. The life experiences that I derived from living in the center of Rome made the trips to Rome worthwhile all by themselves.

I had already done some professional soloist and opera work before coming to Rome. I can say that the environment I encountered while rehearsing our Boheme with the Rome Festival Opera was very similar to most of them. I had a wonderful time performing such beloved operas with all the rewards, fun, camaraderie, and also the stress that can happen from working to fix the little uncertainties that arise during any creative process, especially theatrical productions.

In the end I left with the satisfaction of a job well done and with many true new friendships that last me to this day from so many different places.

Performing the opera roles of Countess Almaviva and Mimi in full productions of the Rome Festival Opera made GREAT additions to my resume!

I would recommend to any musician and especially to singers thinking about taking advantage of this unique opportunity to get there as prepared as you would be for a first rehearsal of a professional gig in order to be excellent in your performance and to really enjoy and profit from the staging and ensemble work process and life in Rome.

And YES, I would go back! Prospective participants could get in touch with me with questions at mapitar@yahoo.com

Maria del Pilar Rivera

The Repertoire Was Exactly What I Was Looking For In A Summer Festival

I made it home safely, and I miss Italy every single day. It helps that i have kept in touch with some of these folks from the festival, but it's not the same.

My experience with the Rome Festival was simply amazing. The repertoire was exactly what i was looking for in a summer festival. It was so exciting to play such great music with some of the most talented musicians I have every performed with.

Being in Rome, playing great music, and meeting great people was more than inspiring. I would not trade the experience for anything!

I hope all is well with you, and do take care!

Casey Maltese casey806@yahoo.com French horn, Florida, USA

Rome was the Greatest

I enjoyed very much performing with the Rome Festival Orchestra, A lot of big symphonic and operatic repertoire!

Rome was the greatest!

For a long time after the Festival, not a day passed by that I did not regret leaving Rome.

Thanks, Josh Margheim green_note@hotmail.com trumpet


The Rome Festival has been one my life's greatest adventures. It was transformational in many ways.

The playing was thrilling and challenging and I thrived on its challenges. I think I gained important orchestral skills from playing with the oboe and bassoon players who were superb and very nice guys which made all the difference in the world.

The festival provided an insular environment of intense concentration where tremendous growth could manifest in a short period of time. I feel more confident in general in my musical abilities.

Rome was powerfully majestic. The historical and artistic treasures were inspiring. I was most in awe of the marble sculptures. I know more insights will emerge as time passes.

Thank you.

Deb Saidel djsaidel@yahoo.com flute, USA

A Fabulous Time In Rome

I had a fabulous time in Rome and anticipate going back sometime, hopefully in the near future. I felt very comfortable during my stay in Rome. It was wonderful to play such great music with so many other talented musicians. Thank you for this opportunity.

Dana Williams danastefany@hotmail.com French Horn, USA

The Musicians Were Fantastic

I had a great time in Rome.

The music was very good (I loved the repertoire). The musicians were fantastic, not only at their respective instruments, but also as people. We had a very strong group which was pretty amazing, I only wish we could have been together longer.

Thank you so much


JT Womack bigrag82@yahoo.com trombone, USA

Enjoyed Making Music

I enjoyed making music with the Rome Festival Orchestra and living in the heart of Rome for the month.

Aaron Williams Aaron.Williams@oberlin.edu percussion, USA

I Value What I Learned

The experience was really good.

I really enjoyed the repertoire that was chosen. We are really lucky to play music of that level.

The cultural trips were great.

It was very cool to be immersed in the Italian culture for a few weeks.

I value what I learned at the Rome Festival, and I hope it continues in the future!

Good luck with everything and I hope to see Rome again!! Ciao!

Hayley Boyse hboyse@gmail.com flute, USA

Such A Nice Blend Of Music And Exploring The Culture

I enjoyed the Rome Festival. It is such a nice blend of music and exploring the culture of Rome.

The repertoire was great! We got through a lot of important repertoire that I'm glad I was able to perform!

I also really enjoyed our concerts with the choral works and having the opportunity to play for the opera. It was fun to collaborate with the vocalists.

I liked where we lived. Having Campo di Fiori so close by was really nice, plus all of the other restaurants and grocery stores.

The cultural trips were all enjoyable and the social activities were fun. The beach party with the volleyball game was probably one of my favorites!

I had a great time, I am so thankful for the opportunity!

Jill Staudt jill-staudt@uiowa.edu oboe, USA

A Splendid Time

We had a splendid time performing with the Rome Festival Opera! Everyone was very nice and I grew tremendously as an artist by performing in this production. It was very exciting to me to live in the center of ancient Rome and we certainly only scratched the surface in seeing the sites, etc. I really miss Roma and the opera and hope I could do it again.

Stephanie Don Carlos soprano, USA
William Don Carlos william@wdoncarlos.com tenor, USA

A Truly Unique And Educational Opportunity

The Rome Festival was a truly unique and educational opportunity. Playing Verdi and Puccini in Italy is really a spiritual experience. I am happy to have participated.

Thanks very much,

Amy Morris amymorris7@yahoo.com flute, USA

I Learned So Much

I had a wonderful time in Rome! I had an opportunity to work with some very talented people. I absolutely fell in love with the city. I learned so much while I was in Rome, musically, culturally, and historically... Thank you for the opportunity.

All the best

Julie Schumacher Detweiler juliedetweiler@yahoo.com clarinet, USA

I Am Thankful For All The Help That The Maestri Gave

I greatly enjoyed performing in the Rome Festival.

I am thankful for all the help that the Maestri gave, as well as for all the experience that I gained from the professional Italian singers and other singers.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to perform as part of the Rome Festival Opera and for all your help to make this opportunity come true!

Crystal Buck-Riese crystaleriese@gmail.com soprano, USA

Thank You

I really enjoyed being in Rome and performing in the concerts.

Thank you,

Suzanne Saba ss2457@columbia.edu violoncello, USA

Living And Making Music in Historic Rome Was A Unique Opportunity

I had a wonderful time at the Rome Festival!

Living and making music in Historic Rome was a unique opportunity for which I am very grateful. The Rome Festival selected great repertoire for us to perform and I learned a lot from my experience in the orchestra.

I loved meeting fellow American musicians as well as playing with Italians. Also, I loved our tour guide Sergio.

I had a wonderful experience and I am grateful to have had such an opportunity!

Thank you,

Theodosia Roussos pvroussos@hotmail.com oboe, USA

Learned A TON!

Thanks so much for the wonderful experience!! I had a great time, and I certainly learned a TON!

I absolutely loved my three weeks in Rome, and would certainly do it again in a heartbeat! I can hardly believe that it actually happened. I will cherish the memories that I made while working with such fantastic musicians.

Thanks so much for all of your hard work,

Kate Caverno kdc5016@psu.edu soprano, chorus, USA


The experience was fantastic!!! I had the time of my life. The orchestra and featured singers were very professional, and I loved being the rehearsel pianist for "La Boheme". Also, I loved the experience of playing the Brahms Piano Trio, as well as the Bach Magnificat, and the Vivaldi Gloria. My son, Yuri, who sang in the chorus of the second act of the opera, had a ball. Great trip!!!

Thank you so much

Biba Benjamin bibatoo@yahoo.com pianoforte, USA

Rome Is So Beautiful

I thought the Rome Festival was an amazing experience.

As we all know, the rehearsal process toward high standards can be a little nerve-wracking, but the final product was well worth our big effort.

Rome is so beautiful. Its people were so friendly to me.

It was great to be in the cultural center of Rome and see so many beautiful sights nearby. I don't think I will ever forget waking up to the sight of Saint Peters!

I especially loved that the Festival organized tours to the various landmarks. Possibly my favorite aspect of being in Rome for the whole time was the sense of comfort I gained from being immersed in the culture. By the end of the Festival, I knew I would be leaving a part of my heart behind.

Another highlight of the Festival was the people involved. Everyone was so talented in the staff, cast, chorus, ballet, and orchestra making it an honor to work together!

Thank you for all of the work that you do to make the Rome Festival a success. I hope that it continues to grow in the coming years.

Take care until next time. I wish you the best,

Jennifer Witt smrosecat@cox.net soprano, USA

Absolutely AMAZING

I had an absolutely AMAZING time in Rome and at the Rome Festival. Thank you so much for everything you did to help.

Kathryn McManus singergal17@hotmail.com soprano, Young Artist in Rome Program

So Many Wonderful Things About The Rome Festival

I loved spending a month in Rome. The city was more than I expected it to be and the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture and language of Italy was exactly what I needed!

There are so many wonderful things about the Rome Festival and I am very honored that I was asked to be a part of it.

Thank you very much!

Julia Benzinger j_m_beninger@yahoo.com mezzosoprano, USA

Would Like To Return

I enjoyed the Rome Festival Orchestra and would like to return.

Jamie Schneider jamie-schneider@hotmail.com oboe, USA

It Was Amazing!

I enjoyed performing with the Rome Festival Chorus and being a part of the Rome Festival Opera.

The two things I enjoyed most were the quality of the music and living in the heart of Rome.

It was a growing experience. It was amazing! I still can't believe that I actually did it (700 pictures later!).

Thanks for all of your hard work,

Amanda Brazda abrazda@mail.unomaha.edu mezzosoprano, chorus, USA

I Hope To Work With The Rome Festival Opera Again

I enjoyed my time in Rome, especially performing Susanna. The people were great and the whole experience was well worth the time and the trip. I hope to work with the Rome Festival Opera again.

Olga Saad arabqueen2@hotmail.com soprano, USA

Learned So Much

I really did enjoy working with the Rome Festival Opera Company. I learned some very valuable information that I am sure I will carry with me for all of my life.

For me the Festival was more than a musical experience. The Festival helped me learn a great deal about myself as well.

At first it was a little daunting I mean I was the youngest person there with a "main" role. I was the baby. But I learned so much from being around those who were more experienced.. I picked up all sorts of helpful tips and tricks, and made great friendships that I hope last a lifetime.

Living in Rome was awesome! Our hotel was literally in the middle of everything. It was very easy to go walking around just to see what you could see and then come back and relax without wasting time and energy commuting from the edge of the city.

I just hope that on my next visit I have more Italian mastered.

Thank you again for everything. :)

Ciao e mille grazie!

Rebecca Clement becky.clement@gmail.com soprano, USA

Great Learning Experience

I had an excellent time and a great learning experience.at the Rome Festival.

Thank you.

Emma Drossman emmasleepsinadrawer@yahoo.com soprano, USA

So Exciting

I had a wonderful time in Rome. Performing with the Rome Festival Opera was so exciting! The Opera went over really well and the orchestra sounded great!

I met a lot of wonderful people.

Being in Rome was very inspiring. My hotel was in a great location! Thank you!

Katherine Henninger ehenning925@cs.com soprano, USA

So Many Talented And Wonderful People

Thank you for inviting me to the Rome Festival, It was great experience! I'm extremely happy that I went.

I loved working with so many talented and wonderful people for a summer in my (temporary) "hometown", Rome. The location was perfect.

Thank you again! Good luck in the future!

Ember Lanuti elanuti@uark.edu soprano, Young Artists In Rome Program, USA

Great Performers

Thank you very much for the opportunity of a life time.

I will always remember my time in Rome as a learning experience which will help me in my future. I worked with great performers and loved performing the opera not just once but three different times.

Victoria Chas Miningham vcm123@aol.com soprano, USA

Learned A Lot About Professionalism

I learned a lot about professionalism and different work ethics from my experience with the Rome Festival. I understand what it takes to get an opera off the ground, and how the situations can differ for different people.

The Rome Festival was the most diverse group I've ever performed with and it was amazing to be on stage with some of the people I now consider friends. It was an experience I'll never forget and I'm grateful that I got the opportunities that I did!

Thanks for everything,

Marina Johnson mgj5009@psu.edu soprano, chorus, USA

Glad I Had The Opportunity

Rome Festival was good. Living in Rome was amazing, I'm really glad I had the opportunity

Jen Augello musicallfty13@aol.com clarinet, USA