Valdis Jansons is an opera singer who performed more than 50 main roles in 70 theaters around the world, including Teatro alla Scala, Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, NCPA in Beijing, Lincoln Center in New York, Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Theater an der Wien in Austria and others. Currently, he is a third-year DMA student in Voice Performance in Dr Bayrakdarian’s studio.
Olivia Lyon Barker
Queen of the Night/Papagena
Southern California native, Olivia Lyon Barker is in her 1st year as a DMA student and TA in the Voice Program at UCSB. She holds a Master’s in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor’s in Vocal Arts from USC Thornton School of Music. Olivia studies under the tutelage of her wonderful teacher, Dr. Isabel Bayrakdarian.
Ariana Horner Sutherland
Hailing from Nome, Alaska, Soprano Ariana Horner Sutherland is a current DMA student and TA attending the University of California Santa Barbara. She graduated with her Bachelor of Music Education in 2019 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks studying with Dr. Jaunelle Celaire. In May of 2021, Ariana completed her Masters in Vocal Performance at Sam Houston State University under the instruction of Dr. Rebecca Renfro. Ariana currently studies with Professor Benjamin Brecher at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Tenor Pavel Suliandziga is a recent graduate from the Mannes College of Music. He received his Masters degree from the Russian Academy of Music in 2015. He is the recipient of many awards including the first place in 2013 and 2014 AADGT in New York, 3rd prize winner in the Bella Voce competition, a Finalist in Licia-Albenese competition, and has performed at various national and international venues, including Carnegie Hall, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Teatro Allegria (Spain), and House for the Performing Arts (Israel).
1st Lady/1st Spirit/Wisdom
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. In addition to her performance credits, April is currently a Semifinalist in the Music International Grand Prix Competition. She currently studies with Isabel Bayrakdarian while in her 2nd year of obtaining her Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
2nd Lady/2nd Spirit/Truth
Soohyun Ryu is a fourth-year undergraduate at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is earning a double major in a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Psychological and Brain Sciences. At UCSB, she studies under Dr. Isabel Bayrakdarian. Previously in the chorus of prior UCSB productions of Lehar’s The Mock Marriage and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Soohyun is excited to join this year’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
3rd Lady/3rd Spirit/Beauty
Marta Hovhannisyan is earning a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studies under Dr. Bayrakdarian. Prior to her studies at UCSB, Marta received her bachelor’s degree from California State University Northridge. Recently, she obtained a choral director job for Sing! at The Music Academy of the West. Her love for music and performing has grown throughout her studies and she is excited for what her future holds.
Italian pianist Alvise Pascucci has been defined as an outstanding young pianist who possesses a virtuoso technique as well as musicianship of a high order. His repertoire covers a wide range from Baroque to contemporary music. He is now a Teaching Assistant working towards his DMA with Paul Berkowitz at UC Santa Barbara, where he has been awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowship.
Queen of the Night (Dancer/Puppeteer)
Gianna Burright is a California-based dance artist who holds a BFA in Dance from UCSB and an MFA in Choreography from Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance. Gianna’s credits include; LA Contemporary Dance Company Movement Fellow, UCSB Dance Company, Selah Dance Collective, The Improv Sessions, A Truefitt Collective, Nebula Dance Lab, Motion Theatre Dance Company, Santa Barbara Museum of Art (dance education lesson plans), Devin Fulton Dance, assistant/rehearsal director to Danielle Agami of Ate9, Mashup Contemporary Dance Company, a part of LA Contemporary Dance Companies first ever choreography lab and has been a guest artist for the dance departments at UCSB, Irvine Valley College, Santa Barbara City College, Nordhoff High School, Thacher High School, Santa Barbara High School, San Marcos High School, and Ojai Valley School. Burright is the co-founder/co-artistic director of the international dance collective GBworks; which supports and produces work of female, female-identifying, and non-binary artists that have crossed the borders of the US, England, and Scotland with a desire to keep expanding.
Kelvin Yuen was born and raised in Hong Kong. He started to dance Hip Hop when he was 7 years old. After he graduated from high school, he decided to be a freelance dancer. He was a commercial dancer and a concert dancer for 2 years. In 2018, he decided to study in the United States at Santa Monica College as a dance major. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Santa Barbara and is going to graduate with a BA in dance in spring 2022. He is focusing on improving the techniques in Modern Dance and Ballet at school but also keeps in touch learning different styles of dances in his spare time.
Cheuk-kwan Adrian Kuang
Cheuk-kwan Adrian Kuang was born in Chinatown of Los Angeles in 1994 and grew up in Hong Kong. He is American Chinese and is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. When in Hong Kong, he learned and took part in various kinds of dance styles and showcases such as Hip Hop, Bboying, Popping, and Locking as well as Jazz, Musical and Contemporary Dance in different College annual performances. Also, he took part in The 5th Hong Kong Games TV show (2015) and a movie called From Vegas to Macau III (2015). After returning to the U.S. in 2015, he started to choreograph Hip Hop dance in Foothill College dance club, took part in Repertory Dance Company's annual Spring Concert in 2015-2017, and joined Mission College’s annual performance in 2017.
Milana Beck started her dance training at the age of 4 at The Studio School of Classical Ballet where she trained in pre-professional ballet. She has danced many major roles such as Raymonda, Snow Queen, Clara, and many other created roles. She now dances at UCSB as a dance major and hopes to continue to pursue her career in dance.
Gwendolyn Austin is currently a third-year UC Santa Barbara student studying dance and pharmacology. Born and raised in the Sacramento area, she began dancing at the Hawkins School of Performing Arts under the guidance of Erin Hogan and Deidre Hawkins. Previous roles she has enjoyed include Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Sorceress (Firebird), and Winter Fairy (Cinderella). Gwendolyn is excited to take part in this production of the Magic Flute as her first performance with UCSB.
1st Lady/1st Spirit/Wisdom (Dancer/Puppeteer)
Daisy Mohrman is a dancer, bodyworker, and aspiring performing arts physical therapist. Daisy hails from San Jose, CA, where she studied ballet and jazz and dabbled in choreography before earning her BA in Dance and Holistic Health at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She has since performed around the West Coast with Shieldwall Dance Company (LA), DVDance (San Jose), SBCC Dance Company (Santa Barbara), Nebula Dance Lab (SB), and selah dance collective (SB) and recently premiered her first dance film at Fuselage Dance Film Festival (Seattle, WA) in 2021. She is incredibly excited to have this unique performance opportunity with UCSB before transitioning away from dance to start her DPT program at SDSU in May 2022.
2nd Lady/2nd Spirit/Truth (Dancer/Puppeteer)
Amanda Keller is a current artist based out of Santa Barbara, California, and has jump-started her professional career with the help of Selah Dance Collective. After graduating magna cum laude in Exercise Science and Dance Performance from Grand Canyon University, she first began dancing with Sespe Dance Co. near her hometown in Ventura County, and now dances with both Selah Dance Collective and Nebula Dance Lab. She took on the lead role in Nebula’s most recent production Humanity and looks forward to the challenge of Selah’s upcoming work Rite of Spring. After choreographing work with GCU that was presented at the Herberger Festival of the Arts and performing in seven formal dance concerts with Ethington Dance Ensemble, Amanda is excited to have found her wings in Santa Barbara and looks forward to continuing both dancing and creating.
3rd Lady/3rd Spirit/Beauty (Dancer/Puppeteer)
Rachyl Pines began her dance training at the age of three with Temecula Dance Company in tap, jazz, and ballet. At age 12, she focused on ballet training at The Ballet Studio in Temecula, CA. She attended summer intensive programs with American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Walnut Hill School of the Arts to augment her training. Rachyl was a company member at City Ballet of San Diego for 3 seasons where she performed in George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, the company’s productions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliette, Firebird and Giselle. Rachyl recently completed her Ph.D. in Communication at UCSB. Rachyl is now a company member in her fourth season with Selah Dance Collective and Nebula Dance Lab.
Allie Mikalatos grew up in Portland, Oregon. A lover of art and performance, Allie studied acting, ballet, contemporary, and modern dance from a young age. Her studies took her to Ballet West Academy and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, where she furthered her classical ballet education. Allie is now a trainee at State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, CA. She is thrilled to be a part of the vibrant arts community of Santa Barbara.
Isabel Bayrakdarian ( Music Director, Stage Director, Producer )
Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is a Professor of Voice in the UCSB Department of Music. She serves as the Area Head of the Voice Program and is the Director of Opera Theatre and Opera Outreach Program. Dr. Bayrakdarian has sung with all the major opera houses and premiere orchestras worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, under the batons of eminent conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Her diverse repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the contemporary, including world premieres by William Bolcom and Jake Heggie, with Mozart being a specialty. She has recorded several critically acclaimed albums, including as the featured vocalist on the Grammy-award winning soundtrack of the blockbuster film The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, and on the soundtrack of Atom Egoyan’s Ararat. She is the winner of four consecutive Juno Awards for Best Classical Album and has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, the George London Foundation Award, Canada Council’s Virginia Parker Prize, and the Republic of Armenia’s highest cultural award. Dr. Bayrakdarian appeared in the BBC-produced short film HOLOCAUST – a Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz, and in her Gemini nominated film Long Journey Home, documenting her first visit to her ancestral homeland Armenia.
Christina McCarthy ( Choreography, Puppet Staging, Puppet, Mask, and Costume Design )
Christina McCarthy is a lecturer in the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance, a multi-disciplinary artist in dance, aerial circus arts, theater, puppetry, film, and visual art. McCarthy teaches contemporary dance technique, dance on film, choreography, solo performance generation, puppet making, and aerial dance. Her movement training background includes ballet with Lupe Serrano, Finis Jhung, Bob and Carol Hanlin, and Valerie Huston, modern training with Tonia Shimin, Alice Condodina, Nolan Dennet, and Christopher Pilafian, and aerial dance training with Ninette Paloma and Autumn Phillips. She danced with Nina Wiener Dance Company and was both a dancer and Assistant Director to Santa Barbara Dance Theater, as well as Vice-Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance. McCarthy has made site-specific work for the new UCSB Library and for Arts Walk 2019. She has directed departmental dance concerts and choreographed multiple musical theater productions in the Santa Barbara community. Her puppet work has appeared in numerous films, and she was the featured artist at the Santa Barbara International Puppet Palooza Festival in 2018.