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Maria Russo, Soprano, Technician, Mentor

A first prize win in the prestigious German Radio Music Competition in Munich launched my international singing career and brought me to many of the world’s greatest opera houses. As a “fest” singer I spent early years in Stuttgart and Linz and nine years at Vienna State Opera and Vienna Volksoper. During this time, I was also traveling the globe as a guest artist in opera and concerts–gaining valuable first-hand knowledge of Italian, German, and Austrian cultures, languages, and repertoire.

Honing my vocal skills, I moved through lyric and lirico-spinto to dramatic fachs (fächer) and from Italian to German repertoire; this progression required me to cultivate a strong philosophy of vocal development. The years of singing, of standing with my feet on the stage provided priceless experience in every aspect of an operatic career. It’s my great joy to pass that knowledge on to the next generation in private lessons and master classes.

As a noted Wagner and Strauss specialist, I appeared as a guest artist with many major opera companies, including Trieste, Bologna, the Bavarian State Opera-Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Mannheim, Hannover, Zurich, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and Teatro Teresa Carrena in Caracas. I was voted “best new female artist” in the German opera magazine Opernwelt for my portrayal of Chrysothemis in Elektra. I also traveled the world singing Abigaille in Nabucco, Maddalena in Andrea Chenier, Giorgetta in Il tabarro, Elsa in Lohengrin, and the title roles in Aida, Tosca, and Turandot. My favorite career highlights include singing the title role in Robert Wilson’s production of Alceste, the Kaiserin in Die Frau ohne Schatten in Basel, and Brünnhilde in the renowned Loriot Ring an einem Abend and Brazil’s very first Ring Cycle.

With a notable, full-time singing career winding down, I began teaching privately in 2006. In 2012, I became a faculty member of the Philadelphia Vocal Academy and Philadelphia Girls Choir. I took on a position as the Executive Director of The Voice Foundation (TVF), a research and education organization, including as Managing Editor of the esteemed Journal of Voice. This position allowed me to add scientific knowledge to my vast singing and teaching experience, and it exposed me to the latest voice pedagogy research, which I apply in my voice studio. My particular collection of skills has given me the tools to prepare upcoming singers for a career on the stage.

About Maria

I began my studies at Nazareth College and completed my Master of Vocal Performance and operatic training at Northwestern University in Chicago and at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. My important voice teachers were Elizabeth Fischer, Nancy Williams and Eva Illes.

I love slightly salty black licorice and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the best (don’t @ me about this). I adore dogs and cats, flowers and birds. Reading, reading and reading. Dorothy Dunnett is my reading crack and Lymond is the anti-hero-hero of my life.

I am the human servant of Peanut Buttercup, the glorious calico cat.

Master Classes


  • Orfeo Concurso de Canto Lirico de America (Costa Rica) September, 2022
  • Festival di Opera San Luis Potosí, Mexico July 2018, July 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Festival de Música Erudita do Espírito Santo-Brazil 2017
  • Rising Stars Voice Studio, Bordentown, NJ  2009
  • Singer’s Retreat, Sylvan Beach, NY  2008, Aug 1, 2008
  • University of South Carolina School of Music  2008
  • College of Charleston, South Carolina 2008
  • Columbia College, South Carolina March 27, 2008
  • Coker College, South Carolina March 26, 2008
  • Northwestern University 2007
  • YMCA Rome, NY July 30  2007
  • Teatro Municipal, São Paulo, Brazil 2006
  • Nazareth College of Rochester  2003
  • Rome Art and Community Center  2002
  • Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea 1988


– THE 1ST ZAPOPAN OPERA FESTIVAL, Zapopan, Mexico in August 5-13, 2023

– International Tutorial Symposium Salzburg , Austria- VOICE CARE ON STAGE. August 18, 2-23

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