January 15, 2019
Mezzo-soprano. Theresa Brancaccio joined the Bienen School’s voice and opera faculty in 1999. Ms. Brancaccio’s students perform throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia in venues including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Daegu Opera House, Opera Theater St. Louis, Merola Opera Program, Sarasota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Dresden Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Opéra Comique, and more. Her students have been recipients of prestigious awards from the Richard Tucker Foundation, Marilyn Horne Foundation, Neue Stimmen International Competition, Palm Beach Opera, and George London Foundation, as well as finalists in the District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Ms. Brancaccio's voice was praised by the Chicago Tribune as "cushiony and appealing from top to bottom." She has performed in concert, opera, and recital throughout the United States and was a soloist with Chicago's Grant Park Symphony for six consecutive seasons, performing works including Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Choral Fantasy, Leonard Bernstein's Candide Suite, Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, and a program of Rodgers and Hammerstein. She has performed in major works with the St. Louis Bach Society, Sacramento Bach Festival, Chicago Youth Symphony, Northwest Choral Society, Colorado Mahler Festival, Elgin Symphony, the New Oratorio Singers, Apollo Chorus, Evanston's Bach Week, and the North Shore Choral Society. Ms. Brancaccio was a soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah under the direction of John Nelson for Soli Dei Gloria and sang the rarely performed Schumann Requiem and Bruckner Mass in F Minor for Chicago Master Singers.
In recital, Ms. Brancaccio has performed works including Schumann's Frauenliebe und-leben, Schoenberg's Brettl-lieder, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and songs by Joseph Thalken. She has sung live broadcasts for WFMT radio. Ms. Brancaccio sang the world premiere of Frank Ferko's Ulysses and the Siren at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall as well as the Midwest premiere of John Rutter's Feel the Spirit with the Northwest Choral Society. She has also performed as featured vocal soloist with the ensemble Cathedral Brass.
On the opera stage, Ms. Brancaccio has appeared as Stephano in Romeo and Juliette, Siebel in Faust, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Fiona in Brigadoon, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and both Carmen and Mercedes in Carmen with such ensembles as Central City Opera, Madison Opera, DuPage Opera Theater, Light Opera Works, and Chattanooga Opera.
Beginning her career as a soprano, Ms. Brancaccio interpreted many roles, including Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Micaela in Carmen, Mimì in La bohème, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adina in The Elixir of Love, the Widow in Argento's The Boor, and Yum-Yum in The Mikado. Her orchestral performances as a soprano included Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder; various cantatas and passions by Bach; and concert works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart. Compact disc recordings include The Music of Max Janowski, Cathedral Brass Chicago, Symphony No. 8 by Gustav Mahler with the Chicago Youth Symphony, and Frank Ferko's Ulysses and the Siren.
Ms. Brancaccio strongly believes that maintaining good vocal health provides the foundation for building excellent vocal technique and has had articles on her "Vocal Points Tracker" system published by Inter Nos, newsletter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Voice Prints, Journal of the New York Teachers' Association. Her voice tracking system is highlighted in the book, The Evolving Singing Voice: Changes Across the Lifespan, by Karen Brunssen.
A highly respected vocal pedagogue, Ms. Brancaccio was an invited presenter at the 2018 NATS National Conference in Las Vegas, (Student Sessions), 2017 Central Region NATS Conference in DeKalb, IL, and the 2019 TeachX Conference at Northwestern University. She has also conducted master classes and workshops for organizations including Chicago Master Singers, Chicago NATS, the Apollo Chorus, Northwest Choral Society, and Midwest Young Artists.
Ms Brancaccio has judged competitions for the Luminarts Foundation, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Bel Canto Foundation of Rhode Island, the Kleinman Foundation and the American Opera Society, among others. She has served as Vice President of the Chicago Singing Teachers Guild and Director of Workshops for Chicago NATS. Currently, she is serving on the NATS National Mentoring Initiative committee as contributor and Mentor Teacher.
In 2017, Ms. Brancaccio was awarded the Provost’s Digital Learning Fellowship to create the Singer Savvy App, a voice budgeting tool, habit tracker and source of vocal health information. It can be downloaded for free at SingerSavvyApp.com with tutorials available on YouTube under “Singer Savvy App”.
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