Cantofest 2023, Belgrade, Serbia is officially open!
Don’t miss out!
Grand Stage International Arts Foundation is founded by Metropolitan opera soprano, Olga Makarina and is dedicated to a mission to provide up and coming singers with the skill-set and knowledge that is required of them in order to successfully navigate a career in classical singing.
We provide intensive private and master training, performing opportunities on both chamber and big stage scales, a safe and trustworthy space of guidance and mentorship. So far we have organized many classes, masterclasses all around the world and a unique summer program and festival in Setubal, Portugal - Luisa Todi Cantofest.
We are all united by our love for the great bel canto tradition of singing, and our staff will pass this tradition onto singers of the next generation. With this strong foundation passed on, it will continue to evolve and live through the next generations of singers in our modern world.
Great voices and unique singers come from all cultural backgrounds all over the world, and our foundation will always represent that. GSI Arts also aims to build communities for singers emerging into the classical singing field, and create relationships in which singers can rely on each other and on mentors for advice, support and help beyond participating in our programs.
Founder: Olga Makarina
Co-Founder: Dina El
As the great Giuseppe di Stefano already recognized during Ms. Makarina`s student years at the Mannes School of Music – bel canto repertoire became her trademark and the space in which she has distinctively delivered some of her signature roles and have opened her doors to some of the greatest stages worldwide.
Less than a year after winning the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Ms. Makarina has made her stage debut in New York City opera in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor. These successful performances marked the beginning of her long and fruitful worldwide career, with her base in New York City, where she sang at The Metropolitan Opera for 18 seasons and was regular on other stages of the city - the New York City Opera, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and where she now has her own studio on Manhattan, where she passionately shares her knowledge with the new generations of opera singers.
Ms. Makarina`s portfolio includes impressive number of title and leading roles in some of the most beloved and performed operas of the Italian and French repertoire – Verdi`s Violetta, Gilda and Desdemona; Donizetti's Lucia Ashton, Adina, Lucrezia Borgia and Anna Bolena; Bellini`s Amina, Elvira, Norma and Imogene; Puccini`s Mimì and Liù; Rossini`s Albina; Massnet`s Manon and Thaïs, Mayerbeer`s Marguerite de Valois, Halevy`s Eudoxie, Bizet`s Micaela, Offenbach`s Olympia and Antonia.
She has also made highly acclaimed performances of Mozart`s heroines (Pamina, Vittelia, Donna Elvira, Donna Anna, Ilia, Elletra, Konstanze), R.Korsakov`s Marfa (with Olga Borodina) and Glinka`s Lyudmila; and some of the most demanding roles of contemporary repertoire, written for coloratura soprano: Stravinsky's The Nightingale, Strauss`s Zerbinetta and Italian singer, Ravel`s The Fire and Respighi`s Princess.
HOUSES AND FESTIVALS
Outside New York, she performed on stages all over the world, including the Canadian Opera, Teatro Liceu in Barcelona, Las Palmas Opera, Opera di Roma, Teatro Regio in Rome, Opera La Coruna, Mariinsky Theater, Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Kirov Opera, National Theater in Prague, Slovak National Opera, Opera Pacific, Palm Beach Opera and Warsaw’s Grand Theater.
Ms. Makarina performed in highly acclaimed festivals among which are the Spoleto festival, the Cesky Krumlov Festival with the Brno Philharmonic that was televised in Eurovision, Macau Festival, Rome’s Euro Festival Mediterraneo where she sang a concert of bel canto arias and scenes with Eve Queler and the Malta Symphony at the site of Hadrian’s Villa which was telecast in Italy, and Bard Festival.
CONCERT CAREER AND COLLABORATIONS
Ms. Makarina made her stage debut singing Mozart’s C minor mass with Yehudi Menuhin. She has since performed with many top conductors such as James Levine, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Nello Santi and Bruno Campanella. Her concert appearances include numerous recitals opera houses and concert halls around the world and performances of soprano solo parts in Verdi`s Requiem, Orf`s Carmina Burana and Catuli Carmina, Mahler’s 2nd and 4th Symphony, Mozart`s Exsultate Jubilate and Coronation mass, Bach`s Cantata 51 for soprano solo, Mendelsons` Elias, Handle`s Messiah, List`s Missa Solemnis and Brahms` German Requiem.
She sang the world premiere of Puccini Songs, a new ballet by choreographer, Nilas Martins based on nine songs by Puccini and repeated this work with Ballet San Jose.
DISCOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY
Ms. Makarina has recorded three solo albums with Romeo Records: Italian Opera Arias, Olga Makarina Sings Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Mozart: Arias; Exsultate, Jubilate.
Her performances in Rossini`s La donna dell lago and R. Strauss`s Capriccio from The Met are available as on demand HD videos.
EDUCATION, AWARDS AND TEACHING STYLE
Aside from giving private lessons in her studio on on Manhattan, Ms. Makarina travels all over the world to give master classes. She has taught in Israel, Russia, New York and Japan, and is a Management Board Member at The Elena Obraztsova International Academy of Music in St. Petersburg.
A graduate of the Mannes School of Music, Ms Makarina also has her Masters in piano and voice from the St Petersburg Conservatory, where she also studied Choral conducting, all of which gave her thorough and multi angled perspective on opera and classical music in general, that is incorporated in the way she perceives music and teaches it. She has won a number of important prizes and awards including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Musicians Emergency Fund and the Liederkranz Competition.
Throughout her career she had fantastic mentors in the opera legends such as Marylin Horne and Renata Scotto (with whom she prepared the most of her signature bel canto roles) and the conductor Henry Lewis, that she often talks about as one of the most important figures in forming her artistic personality and the way she thinks about music.
All of this collected knowledge, Ms. Makarina aims to transfer to her students in a holistic manner - knowledge about singing technique (that she considers to be her legacy), traditions, styles, languages, and mindset and etiquette of being a an musician, opera singer and scholar, combined with personal experiences and on and offstage tips and tricks she collected throughout the career.
Her approach is individual and tailored to each student's current level and needs, with a longtime goal to make each singer self-aware and independant when it comes to using their own instrument.
"The Luisa Todi Cantofest is an unique place for singers to develop their artistry. Why? In the midst of so many summer programs I have participated over the years, I have found In Setubal the only festival and school where no matter at which stage the singer is in their career, they receive personalized attention and equal opportunities to perform. Organized to perfection in its first edition, I have no doubt that Cantofest will become soon a staple in the opera industry."
Olga Makarina, founder of the opera festival
" I was very happy to have participated as co-repetitioner and vocal coach at The Cantofest Festival in Setubal 2019. The quality of the participating singers as well as that of the teaching staff were excellent, and so was the organization of the event. It provided participants apart from technique and repertoire development through personal contact and advice a unique opportunity to improve their performance. I would also like to mention the welcoming reception we received by the interested local population, which makes Setubal a perfect venue for the organization not only of Masterclasses but other public musical events."
"When I met Olga a couple of months before the beginning of the Setubal Cantofest, she was honest and told me that as the first edition of a completely new project and that everything might be an experiment. But I was extremely surprised to discover that Olga, Dina and Marcos did a great job in order to provide an excellent level for the students and the faculty. Setúbal is a place full of potential and a unique opportunity in the country. We will do our best to fully develop this project which will soon become one of the most competitive of its kind in Europe."