James Hall, Associate Professor, Tenor, Area Coordinator
Tenor Dr. James Hall joined the voice faculty at the University of North Florida in 2011. A graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the Maryland Opera Studio, Hall enjoys an active and varied career that includes opera, oratorio, chamber music, and solo recital. A specialist in high tenor and haute-contre repertoire, Dr. Hall is frequently called upon as tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana. He has performed the work to rave reviews in some of the nation’s most prominent concert halls, including Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center, and Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Consistently praised for his soaring upper register and vocal beauty, Hall has performed operatic roles throughout the United States, including Brighella and Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos, Linfea in La Calisto, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, and Damon/Corydon in Handel’s masque Acis and Galatea. Equally at home in chamber music, Dr. Hall has made guest appearances with Mercury Baroque (Houston), St. Matthew’s Cathedral Singers of Washington, DC, and Jacksonville’s St. Mark’s Bach Ensemble. In 2012, he performed as tenor soloist with the UNF Chamber Singers in a concert tour throughout South Africa. Upcoming engagements include the role of Aenaes in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, tenor soloist in the Mozart Requiem with Valdosta Symphony, and tenor soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Coastal Symphony of Georgia.
Well-regarded as an accomplished vocal pedagogue, Dr. Hall has presented lectures at Iowa Music Educators Association Conference, Florida ACDA State Conference, Tennessee Music Educators Association Conference, and at the World Symposium on Choral Music (IFCM) in Seoul, South Korea. He has given guest master classes at universities across the United States and abroad and is frequently sought after as an adjudicator. In 2015, Dr. Hall joined the summer faculty at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, where he teaches voice and lyric diction.
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Dina Barone, Adjunct Professor, Contralto
Adjunct Professor, Dina Barone, Mezzo Soprano is a professional musician, performer & educator who has vast experience in Concert, Opera and Music Theatre. She has a Bachelor of Music in voice performance, a Bachelor of Music Literature both from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music in Opera – Voice from the Hartt School of Music, extensive post-graduate studies in New York City as a private student and associate teacher of internationally renowned, master teacher, David Jones.
A faculty member of the Grammy Award Winning Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, FL, for five years, many of her students were accepted into music and theatre programs at various colleges and
universities & have won talent scholarships & competitions such as The Grady Rayam Prize in Vocal Performance. Her professional students have performed at such venues as the prestigious internationally acclaimed Metropolitan Opera in New York City, The Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C, on Broadway and with regional opera and theatre companies throughout the United States.
Highlights from her professional singing career include performances at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY, Lincoln Center, New York, NY, The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, The
Caramoor International Muisc Festival in Katonah, NY & Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY as well as tours throughout North America, South America and Europe. Opera roles include Carmen & Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen, Rosina in Rossini’s, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Countess Almaviva, Cherubino & Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Bradamante, in Handel’s Alcina, Third Lady in
Mozart’s Die Zauberflȍte, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Meg Page in Verdi’s Falstaff & Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Music
Theatre & Operetta roles include Pitty Sing in The Mikado, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Iolanthe in Iolanthe, Maria von Trappe in The Sound of Music, Julie Jordon in Carousel, Laurie & Ado Anni in Oklahoma, Marion in The Music Man, Grace in Annie, Ms. Potts in Beauty and the Beast and Earth Mother and Iowa Housewife in Menopause the Musical. Concert/Oratorio
solo performances include Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity, Mozart’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, various Bach Cantatas & Vivaldi’s Gloria.
Dina is a member of Actors Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, and National Association of Teachers of Singing.
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Krzysztof Biernacki, Professor, Baritone (Head of Applied Voice)
Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki established strong reputation as a powerful performer, versatile stage director, and talented pedagogue. Born and raised in Poland, his professional credits include opera, oratorio, concert, and recital performances in Canada, United Sates, and Europe. Dr. Biernacki holds degrees from University of Manitoba (B. Mus.), University of Western Ontario (M. Mus.), and University of British Columbia (D.M.A). He holds the position of Assistant Professor and Head of Applied Voice at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
As a singer Dr. Biernacki has appeared in principal roles with Vancouver Opera, Manitoba Opera, Calgary Opera, Orchestra London Canada, Theaters of Jablonec and Usti nad Labem in Czech Republic, as well as opera ensembles of University of British Columbia and University of Western Ontario. Highlights of his operatic engagements include "Eugene Onegin," "Barber of Seville," "Madam Butterfly," "La Boheme," "Cunning Little Vixen," "La Fanciulla del West," "Rigoletto," "Carmen," "Dido & Aeneas," "The Crucible," "Merry Widow," "Die Fledermaus," "Der Freischütz," "Un Ballo in Maschera," "Don Pasquale," "Gianni Schicchi," and "Merry Widow."
Dr. Biernacki's commitment to contemporary music is highlighted by world premiere performances heard on CBC Radio and CBC Saturday Afternoon at the Opera including a highly acclaimed production of "Filumena" co-produced by the Calgary Opera and Banff Centre for Performing Arts. Last summer Dr. Biernacki made his Carnegie Hall debut with UNF Wind Ensemble (now Wind Symphony) performing works of Tchaikovsky and Tosti. In October 2009 he was reengaged for a recital of opera arias and duets at Carnegie Zankel Hall.
Praised for excellent musicianship and respected as a solo recitalist, Dr. Biernacki frequently performs song recitals ranging in repertoire from Haydn to Szymanowski, Shostakovich, and Britten. His concert and oratorio appearances include Vancouver, Winnipeg, Okanagan, and Calgary Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Vancouver Bach Choir. His summer 2009 engagements included solo recitals in Italy and Poland, concerts with North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and two opera engagements at the European Music Academy in Czech Republic. Additional stage directing accomplishments include establishment of UNF Opera Ensemble which produces complete opera productions, engages in community outreach, student recruitment, and propagation of operatic arts in the Jacksonville community. In 2010, Dr. Biernacki's student Opera Ensemble toured the Czech Republic performing Mozart's "The Magic Flute."
Dr. Biernacki is often engaged as an adjudicator, competition judge, Master Class presenter, and clinician. He is in high demand as a voice teacher and his students have been accepted to prestigious graduate programs including Manhattan School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, University of Michigan, Boston Conservatory, and New York University.
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Brittany Fouché, Adjunct Professor, Soprano
Brittany Fouché, Soprano, is a Florida native. She received her Bachelor of Voice from the University of North Florida in 2012 and her Master of Opera at the University of British Columbia (2014). While in school, Brittany spent each summer singing with the European Music Academy in Teplice, Czech Republic, performing roles in Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, and Carmen. Brittany received the Metropolitan Opera
National Council Auditions Young Artist Encouragement Award in the Florida district (2012) and was selected by the University of British Columbia to study German at the Alpen-Adria Universität in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Upon completion of her graduate studies, Brittany joined Des Moines Metro Opera as an apprentice artist, covering the role of Micaëla in Brook's La tragédie de Carmen, before embarking on an educational tour of John Davies' The Three Little Pigs with Opera Saratoga. In 2015, Brittany returned to Des Moines Metro Opera's stage to sing Jano in Janaček's Jenůfa and covered the role of Frasquita in St. Petersburg Opera's production of Carmen. This year, Brittany appeared in concert with First Coast Opera during St. Augustine's Romanza Festivale of the Arts, and she will return this fall to perform in First Coast Opera's concert, Opera's Most Haunting Melodies.
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Cara Tasher, Professor, Soprano (Director of Choral Activities)
Dr. Cara Tasher, soprano, has served as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Voice at the University of North Florida since 2006. She has performed and recorded with conductors Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Robert Shaw and Sir Georg Solti. As a singer, chorus master and/or conductor, Tasher has been professionally associated with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Conspirare, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Mexico City's Opera deBellas Artes, Portugal's Vocalizze Festival, Trinity Choir-Wall Street, Xavier University and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Proficient in several languages, Tasher's engagements as both a singer and a conductor have brought her to nearly ten states and twenty countries for concerts, festivals, workshops, or as a featured soloist. International awareness is a focal point of her teaching. Her training took place in the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, at the University of Cincinnati College’s Conservatory of Music, University of Texas at Austin, La Sorbonne, and Northwestern University. Dr. Tasher is active within the national and global community as an adjudicator, author, guest clinician, conductor and recitalist, and is affiliated with ACDA, IFCM, JSCA, MENC, NATS, and NCCO in varying capacities. She was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of North Florida and her students continue to thrive under the mentorship of the School of Music in Jacksonville.
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Adina Pavlesich, Adjunct Professor, Voice
Adina Pavlesich, soprano, received her M.M from the University of North Florida and B.S. at Florida State University. She joined the voice faculty at UNF School of Music in 2017 after completing her master's where, during that time, she served as the Graduate Teaching Assistant for the voice department with duties including individual and group vocal and diction lessons, assistant directing, as well as stage managing of UNF operas. As a performer, Adina has performed as a soloist in oratorio concerts, numerous musical theatre productions globally, and principle roles with UNF Opera Ensemble and the European Music Academy in the theaters of Teplice, Jablonec, and Decín in the Czech Republic in performances of “The Marriage of Figaro,” “The Magic Flute,” and “Street Scene.” Adina is an active member of the national and local chapter of NATS.
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Marilyn Smart, Adjunct Professor, Soprano
Marilyn Smart's musical career has been both active and diverse. She has worked with such luminaries as Robert Shaw, Seiji Ozawa, and Dave Brubeck, and has sung in unique venues in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Smart’s singing has delighted audiences not only in public and university concert halls, but also in rural American schools, special cultural outreach venues in Japan, and even Eskimos villages in northern Alaska.
Awarded a special citation by the Ford Foundation's Contemporary Music Project, she has long championed the work of contemporary composers and, with her husband, composer-pianist Gary Smart, is recognized for their performances of American art song. A former student of Margaret Harshaw, Josef Metternich, and Phyllis Curtin, Smart has taught at the University of Wyoming, Kobe College, and Osaka University. Since joining the faculty of UNF in 1999, she has performed as soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, for the Friday Musicale, the St. Cecelia Society, and many other local musical organizations. At UNF, she teaches Applied Voice, French, Italian, and German Diction, as well as Vocal Literature.
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