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Faculty & Staff


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Faculty & Staff



The hand-picked faculty at OVAA is comprised of seasoned professionals from NYC and Dresden, Germany at the top of their game.  We offer a stunning array of skill emphasis, and you'll be in masterful hands with the chance to work on everything from Baroque performance practice and conversational German to bel canto technique and achieving a healthy belt.  


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Alan Dornak


General Director & Voice Instructor

Alan Dornak


General Director & Voice Instructor


Countertenor &
Voice Faculty/Opera Workshop Director - Wagner College, NYC 

Alan Dornak (General Director and voice instructor) In addition to a successful international performing career, Alan has been a sought-after vocal pedagogue, both Stateside and in Europe, for over twenty years. He has consistently pursued both careers simultaneously and with equal passion, bringing his knowledge of the stage into the studio.  Alan is currently on the faculties of Wagner College and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy NYC (AMDA), and has been on the teaching rosters of several top summer training programs including Musica Coeli (Graz, Austria), Festa Lirica Italiana (Ischia, Italy), and the renowned American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) (Graz, Austria). In the US, he has been a frequent guest lecturer at New York’s Columbia University and Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

His students have graced the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Modena, Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as Broadway, National and International Tours.

In Germany and throughout Europe and South America, Alan has sung leading opera roles as a tenor and countertenor, and in 2006 joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera. In 2010, he co-founded the critically-acclaimed ensemble Opera Feroce with whom he performs as both countertenor and baritone. Opera Feroce’s mission is to develop entertaining and accessible conceptualized performances of obscure works and lesser-known composers primarily of the Baroque era.

In founding his own summer program, the Orfeo Vocal Arts Academy, Alan chose the magnificent city of Dresden, Germany as the program’s home.  Alan was a resident of the Saxon capitol for most of his time in Germany, pursuing multiple degrees at the Conservatory and launching his European performing career.  He continues to enjoy a tight-knit relationship with many of his longstanding German colleagues, many of whom are now valued OVAA collaborators.  Alan is proud to call Dresden his second home and is passionate about sharing its rich cultural heritage with every new group of students.  In return, OVAA has been embraced by the people of Dresden, and each summer sees a growing amount of enthusiasm and support.

 www.alandornak.com

To view Alan's performing history, CLICK HERE!


“[Alan] combines an intimate knowledge of the physiology of the voice, with a passion for discovering each singer’s unique qualities and strengths.
— Sara Louise Petrocelli (Tulsa Opera, Sarasota Opera)
“[Alan] is by far one of the greatest vocal coaches I have ever worked with.
— Trevor Sideris (lead singer Holland America’s Zuiderdam)
“the lessons learned from Mr.Dornak 
were akin to finding the Fountain of Youth…for vocal chords!
— Suzanne Adams (Vocalist & Artistic Director)
“Alan Dornak’s training encourages flexibility in the singer’s voice allowing for the absolute versalitility of style.
— Michael Bullard (WEST SIDE STORY- International Tour. LA CAGE - Goodspeed Opera House)
“I now have a technique that works specifically for me, based on his vast knowledge of both the anatomy and the range of style and emotion in the voice.
— Tommy Joscelyn (MAME – Wick Theater and Allenberry Playhouse, LES MISERABLES and SOUTH PACIFIC – Surflight Theater)

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Jeff Caldwell


Musical Coach 

Jeff Caldwell


Musical Coach 


Instructor, musical Theatre/Acting - Cornish College of the Arts

Jeff Caldwell is a versatile musician and theater artist. His career encompasses opera, musical theater, and everything in between and on the fringe. After earning degrees in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and Stage Direction for Opera from Indiana University, he moved to Seattle and taught at the University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts, specializing in singing training for their professional actor training programs. He appeared as a faculty guest artist in several productions at both schools, including the roles of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and Bunthorne in Patience. He also music directed and conducted productions at the 5th Avenue Theater, Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Civic Light Opera, and Village Theater, and sang with the Seattle Opera Chorus in several new productions.

Since moving to New York City he has played keyboards in the Broadway pit of The Producers, sung with the New York City Opera Chorus and the New York Philharmonic, and taught in the Drama Division at Juilliard, NYU’s Tisch and CAP21 programs.
 


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Theresa McCarthy


Dramatic Coach

Theresa McCarthy


Dramatic Coach


Assisstant Professor (Acting) - Wagner college, NYC

Theresa McCarthy has originated roles in innovative works on Broadway and off-Broadway including TITANIC, FLOYD COLLINS, SATURN RETURNS, and QUEEN OF THE MIST. She is featured vocalist on those sound tracks, and on the Nonesuch recordings BRIGHT EYED JOY the songs of Ricky Ian Gordon; Stephen Sondheim's THE FROGS/EVENING PRIMROSE; and Audra McDonald's debut recording WAY BACK TO PARADISE. She was a soloist in Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's acclaimed BERNSTEIN MASS which played in Baltimore, at Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center with an acclaimed recording by Naxos. TV and other recorded media include appearances on NBC's LAW AND ORDER and Netflix's HOUSE OF CARDS.

She has been a teacher of acting, The Viewpoints and vocal music for students of all ages and experience levels. She has directed new works for NYU Grad Musical Theatre Writing Program. For NYU Tisch Department of Drama she directed student artists in UNSUNG TREASURES, an eclectic selection of trunk songs drawn from the private collections of her composer friends including Maury Yeston and Michael John LaChiusa. She was a member of the faculty at NYU's Playwrights Horizons Theatre School (PHTS). At PHTS she founded New Music Theatre Collaborative (NMTC), a page-to-stage exploration of new musical works created/chosen for the student company. NMTC works included that of emerging student and recent graduate composers and writers Michael Finke, Sean Ireland, James Clark, Andrew Farmer, Max Reuben and professional composers and writers including Allison Leyton-Brown, Sophia Chapadjiev, Katya Stanislavskaya and Adam Guettel.

Theresa co-founded Petoskey Theatre Festival in Northern Michigan where she directed MACBETH, GRIMM TALES, ART, and commissioned a new work PIGEON RIVER OPERA-for which she co-wrote the music. There she received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for the Arts and Culture and others to produce original works and provide arts programming for rural communities.

She received her undergraduate training at University of Michigan and her MFA in acting from University of California San Diego.


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Jürgen Hübner


Director of Operations in Dresden & German Language

Jürgen Hübner


Director of Operations in Dresden & German Language


Co-founder and Instructor at the Mundwerk Language Institute

Jürgen Hübner was born in Dresden in 1970. After high school he worked in the south of France as an au-pair for 9 months. From 1991 he was a university student in Halle and Dresden, intending to become a high school teacher for languages. During this time he spent 7 month at the University of St. Petersburg, Russia, where he took courses in Russian and French literature. In 1995 he began a second qualification at the University of Leipzig to become a simultaneous interpreter. These studies also took him to Geneva, Switzerland. In addition he won a scholarship to attend a university summer course in human rights in Paris and made regular visits to Brussels and Edinburgh.
Beside his work as a conference interpreter and translator, since 1999 he has been teaching English, French, Russian and German to companies as well as to private individuals and groups. Every year he organises language trips to Great Britain and Ireland.
Jürgen regularly interprets for both of Dresden’s great orchestras, the Staatskapelle and the Dresden Philharmonic, as well as for the Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch. Together with his partner Derek Henderson, he founded Mundwerk, a collective focused on the art of language and vocalization.

Jürgen is also the Orfeo Vocal Arts Academy resident Coordinator and overall Knight in Shining Armor. OVAA owes Jürgen a great big Dankeschön for all he’s done!!


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Derek Henderson


Pianist & German Tutor

Derek Henderson


Pianist & German Tutor


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Collaborative pianist &  
co-founder of Mundwerk Language Institute  

Derek Henderson was born in the small town of Thurso, in the north of Scotland, in 1970.
At an early age he began music lessons in oboe and piano. He studied mathematics at Edinburgh University, while also taking piano lessons privately with the pianist and organist Michael Lester-Cribb.
In 1997 he moved to Germany for personal reasons, thereafter pursuing a variety of careers, while continuing to study the piano privately with Prof. Rieko Yoshizumi at the Carl Maria von Weber Conservatory of Music in Dresden.
Today Derek is a successful translator, working regularly for the Semperoper Opera House, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, the Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch, the University of Vienna and the Technical University of Dresden. In addition he teaches English to a diverse range of private students and scientific institutions. Together with Veronika Streitwieser he has written a Business English Trainer published by Haufe Verlag (Munich).
Simultaneously Derek enjoys a successful career as an accompanist, chamber musician, rehearsal pianist, arranger and sound engineer. He is a member of Trio Cantiamo and performs regularly with the singer/songwriter Annette Richter and the singer Uta Hauthal, with whom he has released two CDs.


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Peter Christian Feigel


Master Class Instructor of Operetta and Musical Theater

Peter Christian Feigel


Master Class Instructor of Operetta and Musical Theater


Conductor - Saxon State Operetta

Peter Christian Feigel studied at the Detmold Music Conservatory and Bielefeld University with an emphasis on conducting, as well as organ, piano and percussion. Other studies included school and church music, and Theology and Philosophy. Upon completion of his studies, he worked in Vienna with Dennis Russell Davies, Valery Gergiev and Lutz Herbig.

Maestro Feigel’s initial professional engagement was as a coach/conductor at the Brandeburg State Theater Cottbus. From 2002-2010, he was deputy chief conductor of Berlin's Friedrichstadt-Palast and, until 2013, the Musical and Artistic Director of the youth ensemble. Since 2010, he has also been the 2nd Kapellmeister at the Dresden State Operetta.

At the Operetta, Peter conducted the acclaimed German premiere (and subsequent CD recording) of Stephen Sondheim's "Passion". He has also led new productions of "Kiss Me, Kate" and "The Rocky Horror Show", "Planet of the Dragon" and "The Wizard of Oz", and "The Little Shop of Horrors" and "Evita". Most recently, he was the Music Director of the German premiere of "Catch Me, If You Can", slated to be released as a live recording on CD.

Maestro Feigel is a regular guest conductor at the Komische Oper Berlin, the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Other engagements have been with the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the State Philharmonic Rhineland-Palatinate, the Robert Schumann Philharmonie Chemnitz, the Brandenburg State Orchestra Frankfurt, the RIAS Youth Orchestra and Rundfunkblasorchester Leipzig.


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Patrick Heffernan


Administrative Assistant

Patrick Heffernan


Administrative Assistant


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TRIPLE THREAT (AND THEN SOME!)

Patrick Heffernan is originally from southern California and moved to NYC to attend Wagner College, where he earned a BA in Theatre Performance with a minor in Dance. Performing credits include national tours of Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik), Anything Goes and 42nd Street. Regionally he's performed at the Goodspeed Opera House (The Will Rogers Follies), Ogunquit Playhouse (White Christmas), Gateway Playhouse (42nd St), Arts Center of Coastal Carolina (H2$), The John W. Engeman (Gypsy) and Mac-Haydn Theater. In 2017 Patrick returned to Wagner to serve as an adjunct faculty member, teaching Jazz, Musical Theater Tap and Movement. Additionally, Patrick has directed and choreographed The Little Mermaid at The Arundel Barn Playhouse and choreographed/assoc. choreographed musicals such as Anything Goes, La Cage Aux Folles, Sweeney Todd and The Producers, between both Wagner College and The Mac-Haydn Theater, in Chatham, NY. Actively involved in community service and outreach, Patrick volunteers regularly as a teaching artist with ASTEP (Artist's Striving to End Poverty), working on-site with underserved youth at schools and community centers from NYC to India. While not performing he enjoys practicing/teaching yoga, tap dancing and eating chocolate chip cookies.