Sarofim Vocal Competition Faculty

Dana Zenobi

Vocal Competition Director
Master Class Clinician

Dana Zenobi joined the faculty at Southwestern University in 2007. A versatile performer who embraces both traditional repertoire and new music, she appeared in the American Premiere of Philip Glass’s Waiting for the Barbarians with Austin Lyric Opera, and performed with Lyric Opera Cleveland in the first production of Mark Adamo’s Little Womendirected by the composer.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised her “dazzling coloratura” and “irresitible phrasing” as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, and she has garnered similar success in roles ranging from Mozart heroines Konstanze and Donna Elvira to Verdi’s Violetta Valéry.  She was awarded a Citation for Inspiration in Teaching and has been an art song performance national finalist in The American Prize competition. She is featured on Viola By Choice Chamber Music Ensemble’s 2010 debut recording, Florilegium.

A native of Northport, NY, Dr. Zenobi is active in the local community as the executive director of BELTÀ - Building Empowered Lives Through Art, a nonprofit organization that supports emerging artists as they build successful careers. She earned her DMA in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on aural modeling and acoustic analysis of the singing voice.


melinda BROU 

Guest Judge and Master Class Clinician

Dr. Melinda Brou, soprano (Class of ’99), is an Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at Texas A&M Kingsville.  She serves as director of the TAMUK Opera Workshop and as such has musically and stage directed productions including Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro andThe Magic Flute; Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury; Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Dan Shore’s An Embarrassing Position. Recent performance engagements include Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Kingsville Symphony Orchestra, William Walton’s Façade and Dan Welcher’s The Need to See at Penn State University, and First Lady in Sparkling City Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. She has toured nationally with the Rhapsodies Trio, which also includes flutist Naomi Seidman and pianist Chuck Dillard. While performing with Austin Lyric Opera as a soloist for outreach and educational events, she co-founded the Advanced Summer Vocal Workshop for high school and university level performers. 

Currently, Dr. Brou serves as the District Governor for the South Texas District of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and also sits on the Board of Control for the Texoma Region of NATS. She is an active lecturer on the state and national level, presenting and performing at conferences such as the National Opera Association, National Flute Association, NATS Texoma, and Texas Music Educators Association. 


Final Round Guest Judge
Director, Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program

Darlene Wiley has been critically acclaimed on three continents for her work in lieder, opera and oratorio. She began her career as lyric coloratura at the Staatstheater Darmstadt performing over 50 roles.  Ms. Wiley has sung at over 25 opera houses, including Mannheim, Wiesbaden, Kassel, Mainz, Ulm and Kiel. She has sung with the Radio Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt, the Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Dallas Symphony and the Austin Symphony. In 1985 she gave her first Carnegie Hall Recital. Her lieder recordings of Schubert, Haydn, Mozart and Schumann with pianist Nancy Garrett are highly acclaimed. She is currently Professor of Voice at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the CASA Vocal Arts Lab and supervisor of the DMA Vocal Pedagogy Program. Several of her current and former students are emerging as artists in their own right including appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, Salzburg Festspiele, Washington Opera, Los Angeles Opera, St. Louis Opera, City Opera of New York.


Competition Collaborative Pianist

David Utterback is an active collaborative and solo pianist in the Austin area. Performing most often as a vocal accompanist, he is involved in a wide variety of musical endeavors including chamber music, opera, cabaret, and musical theater. He is a member of the Austin Chamber Ensemble, and also is the accompanist for the choirs of Chorus Austin (Austin Civic Chorus and Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble). He has held his current appointment as a member of the piano faculty at Southwestern University since 1993. He received his MM from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.


 Katherine Altobello

Judge and Master Class Clinician

Mezzo-soprano Katherine Altobello (’99) has been hailed a “spitfire … having the energy, concentration, and stamina to make it look easy.” (Daily Progress News, Charlottesville, VA). Her musical versatility and dramatic ability allow her to perform in a vast array of musical styles and genres.  Altobello has performed with San Diego Opera, the New York City Ballet, Austin Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, the Austin Chamber Ensemble, Austin’s LOLA, Opera in the Heights, Ash-Lawn Opera, Brevard Music Center, Wildwood Opera, and Lexington Music Theatre. Favorite roles include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Hansel in Hansel und Gretel, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd.

In concert, Altobello recently made her Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall debut in Ravel’s Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis with the National Chorale. She has been a soloist with the Knoxville Symphony, Music in the Heights (NYC), the Mineola Choral Society (NYC), the Alpha Omega Ensemble (NYC), Southwestern University, and Manhattan School of Music (in a collaborative recital with Warren Jones).  Altobello holds a master of music in voice from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and a bachelor of arts in music and theatre from Southwestern University’s Sarofim School of Fine Arts. She resides in Austin where she enjoys teaching classical singing to people of all ages, and is the alto soloist/section leader at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church.  She joined the Southwestern faculty in 2016.

Bruce Cain

Judge and Master Class Clinician

Bruce Cain has performed a variety of roles in the following opera companies: the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre, Skylight Comic Opera, Pamiro Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Whitewater Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids. In addition to his opera appearances, recent concert performances include Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Billings Montana Symphony, Britten’s War Requiem with the Wheaton Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah with the Austin Symphony.

“I believe that trying to balance an active performing career, and remaining committed to quality studio teaching is very important. Guiding young singers to develop a consistent vocal technique that will lead to healthy singing, as well as a foundation for a career or graduate study, is one of my great joys in life.” He is an Associate Professor of Music at Southwestern University. He received his DMus from Northwestern University. 


Final Round Judge
Alexander Technique Clinician

Tenor Jameson James combines over 25 years of singing experience, more than 10 years of studio teaching experience, and the skills of a certified Alexander Technique teacher. He has performed with Boston Lyric Opera, Aspen Opera Theater, Bronx Opera, and New York Lyric Opera. In 2007, Mr. James was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A versatile performer, Mr. James is adept in opera, oratorio, musical theater and new works.  As a voice teacher, Jameson uses the Alexander Technique to integrate the physical and intellectual elements of sound production. He guides students to new expressiveness and effortlessness in their singing. Mr. James is particularly skilled at changes in fach, after his own transition from baritone to tenor. He is a graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, the New England Conservatory, and Alexander Technique New York City.  He joined the Southwestern University voice faculty in 2016.