Belgian bass Tijl Faveyts’ recent highlights brought him as Eremit (»Der Freischütz«) to the Konzerthaus Berlin, as Fasolt (»Das Rheingold«) to the Philharmonie Köln and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and as Colline (»La Boheme«) at the Cologne Opera.
After his studies in Brussels and at the university of music in Vienna he became internationally known in 2006 when he performed Sarastro (“Die Zauberflöte”) at the Festival Aix-en-Provence.
He has been a member of the Theater Sankt Gallen untill 2012 and from 2013 to 2019 he joined the Ensemble of the Aalto-Theater Essen, where he was seen in roles like Daland (»Der fliegende Holländer«), König Marke (»Tristan und Isolde«), Commendatore (»Don Giovanni»), Osmin (»Die Entführung aus dem Serail«), Don Basilio (»Il barbiere di Siviglia«), Sparafucile (»Rigoletto«), Ramphis (»Aida«), Oroveso (»Norma«), Doktor (»Wozzeck«), Ferrando ((»Il Trovatore«) and Comte des Grieux (»Manon«). In 2019 he became a member of the Komische Oper Berlin.
Guest appearances led him to the Oper Bonn, the Vlaamse Opera, the Théâtre de la Monnaie Brussels, the Gärtnerplatztheater Munich, to the Wiener Festwochen, the Theater an der Wien, the ABAO Bilbao, the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, the Oper Leipzig, the Staatsoper Stuttgart, the Semperoper Dresden, the Tschaikowsky Concert Hall Moscow, the Lincoln Center New York, the NCPA Beijing and the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv.
Tijl Faveyts is also a well sought-after international concert singer (Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Musikverein and Konzerthaus Vienna, Concertgebouw Bruges) where he worked with conductors like Kent Nagano, Giacomo Sagripanti, Kazushi Ono, Fabio Luisi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Harding, Carlo Rizzi, Antonino Fogliani, Frank Beermann, Marc Albrecht, Tomas Netopil and Christoph Eschenbach.
In 2022 he will make his housdebute at the Bavarian State Oper Munich, his role debut as Landgraf (»Tannhäuser«) at the Opernfestspiele Heidenheim and at the Komische Oper Berlin he will preform, amongst others, Gremin (»Eugen Onegin«) and Joe (»Rise and fall of the city Mahagonny«).
Elien Hanselaer works as an actor and theatre maker in United Kingdom and Belgium. She studied acting at School of Arts/KASK (Belgium) and East 15 acting school. Recently, Hanselaer directed The Tale of the Last Thought, a social-artistic project with 120 performers from different backgrounds, and featured in Two to Tango, a film directed by Dimitri Sterkens. Other recent theatre projects include Afropean (KVS); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (KVS); Ashes to Ashes (TAZ); Europe in Autumn (Malpertuis). Hanselaer is also part of Hobo Theatre, a British performance collective founded in 2012 that sets up participatory projects that reflect on ecologies in an increasingly interconnected world.
In September 2018, Hanselaer was awarded the Northern Bridge award to fund her practise-based research on actor training research. The research looks at co-performer empathy and how actors can “play off each other”. She recently got invested in teaching performers. In 2021-2022, she teaches at the University of Malta, Queen’s University Belfast and the International Opera Academy. Hanselaer is also a butoh, contact improvisation and Argentine Tango dancer. These dance forms have a strong influence on her work.
Hein Boterberg is Head of Music and vocal coach at the IOA and works as a visiting vocal coach at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (UK). He is also an acclaimed accompanist for song recitals.
He studied at the Conservatoire in his birth city of Ghent. At the Royal Scottish Academy and the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama he specialised in singing accompaniment. He was also holder of the Geoffrey Parsons Junior fellowship at the Royal College of Music.
In de Munt | la Monnaie in Brussels, he assisted Antonio Pappano and Renato Balsadonna and worked in productions with singers such as Susan Graham, José van Dam, Jonas Kaufmann and Joseph Calleja. He has also played for conductors such as Kazushi Ono and Alessandro de Marchi. In addition to this, he has worked with singers for the Filharmonie, the Flemish Radio Choir, the Flemish Opera, Covent Garden, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and the Collegium Vocale, Ghent.
In song recitals he has played in Europe, Asia and Australia in venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in London, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and many more, for singers such as Sophie Karthäuser, Christian Immler, Malin Christensson, and Jonathan Lemalu. In 2006 he started the recital seriesVocal Journey, for which he devised and played concerts with young singers from all over the world.
He was coach and pianist for singing courses in the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Portugal and France. He was official accompanist for vocal masterclasses by Sir Thomas Allen, Robin Bowman, Emma Kirkby, Ann Murray, Loh Siew-Tuan, Graham Johnson and Dame Margaret Price.
Guy Joosten started his career as a stage director and the artistic head of the Blauwe Maandag Compagnie theatre collective. He also directed plays at the NTG in Ghent, the KVS in Brussels and the Brussels Kamertoneel, as well as for various companies in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen). At the age of 28 he made his debut at the Burgtheater in Vienna, and a year later he became the head director at the Thaliatheater in Hamburg. In 1989 he was awarded the Theatre Festival Prize in Rotterdam for his directing of Lars Noren’s play Nachtwake and received the Belgian Thalia Prize for his work with the Blauwe Maandag Compagnie. In 1999 the Flemish authorities honoured him by awarding him with the title of Cultural Ambassador of Flanders for his opera directing. In 2010 he received the Prix de L’Europe Francophone/Grand prix de la critique in Paris. In 2015 he was awarded the famous Italian Premio Abbiati. He received the award for ‘best director’.
In 1991, Joosten directed his first opera at the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (Antwerp/Ghent). He has also directed works at the opera houses of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bern, Bologna, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Essen, Genève, Göteborg, Hamburg, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Leipzig, Lisbon, London (English National Opera), Liège, Madrid, Maribor, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Montpellier, Oviedo, Sankt Gallen, Rouen, Saint-Étienne, Seoul, Sofia, Vienna (Volksoper & Theater a/d Wien) and Zürich. In 2005 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with Gounod’s Roméo & Juliette. In 2018 Guy Joosten made his debut in Asia with two new productions: one for the Korean National Opera (Seoul) and one for the Japanese National Opera in Tokyo.
In addition to his work as a director he was also professor at the University of Hamburg and lecturer at university colleges in Amsterdam, Saarbrücken, Eindhoven, Maastricht and Barcelona. He teaches opera courses at the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Antwerp and founded the International Opera Academy. He gives regular masterclasses, e.g. in Sofia and Tel Aviv.
After having completed her Masters in Fine Arts in Theatre Directing at the University of Ottawa in 2011 during which she directed among others Pelléas et Mélisande (Maeterlinck/Debussy) and Medea-Material (Müller), Fanny Gilbert-Collet co-directed and co-wrote Ik Onkar, for Théâtre la Catapulte, Ottawa touring throughout Canada and prize-winner of two awards for Outstanding Production of the Year and New Creation of the Year at the Rideau Awards in 2013. During that same year she directed Les Dialogues des Carmélites presented at the Vocal Arts Festival in Edmonton. In the summer of 2013 she directed a new version of La Bohème with Opéra Immédiat in Montreal. Part of the Yulanda Faris Young Artists Program Fanny Gilbert-Collet was Assistant Stage Director for the 2013-2014 season of the Vancouver Opera. She was then given the chance to show her staged version of Savitri and Iphigénie en Tauride in April 2014 thus getting awarded the Career Development Grant of the Opera Guild from Vancouver Opera. Following an apprenticeship with Mariame Clément at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg and with Katharina Thoma at the Theater Dortmund Ms. Gilbert-Collet got hired as fest assistant director in Dortmund for two seasons during which she was awarded the prestigious Richard Wagner Verband grant to go to Bayreuth in the summer 2016. Since the 2016/17 season Fanny proudly joined the artistic team of the Vlaanderen Opera in Antwerpen as assistant stage director creating her own version of Falstaff in the concert Sir John in Love presented both in Antwerp and in Ghent.
One of the most talented Italian conductors of his generation, Pietro Rizzo is a frequent guest conductor of some among the world greatest opera houses, including Metropolitan Opera (Cavalleria Rusticana e Pagliacci), Dallas Opera (La Bohéme, Rigoletto), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Cavalleria/Pagliacci, Nabucco, Roberto Devereux, La favorite), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino(Cavalleria Rusticana), Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (La bohème, La traviata, Andrea Chénier), Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm (La bohème, Tosca), New National Theatre Tokyo(Il trovatore, Rigoletto, Don Carlo), Bayerische Staatsoper München (Anna Bolena, Latraviata), ABAO Bilbao (La forza del destino, Norma), Semperoper Dresden (Lucia di Lammermoor, La bohème, Otello), Staatsoper Hamburg (Lucrezia Borgia).
Born in 1973, he graduated as violinist in 1992 at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and continuing his studies at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (1990-1993, awarded with the Diploma of Merit in 1992 and 1993) and at Southern Methodist University in Dallas( 1993-1997), graduating with a Master’s of Music in Violin Performance in 1996 and Artist Certificate in Violin Performance in 1997. From 1997 to 2001 he studied orchestral direction under the guidance of Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula, graduating with a Master’s of Music in Orchestral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki.
He made his professional debut as a conductor in 2000 at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, working until 2003 as Assistant Conductor, and has since then maintained long standing relationship with the house as Guest Conductor. From 2003 to 2007 he was Erste Kapellmeister at the Aalto-Theater in Essen, Germany, where he conducted approximately 70 performances each season of opera, ballet and concerts. From 2006 to 2009 he was Chief Conductor at Gothenburg Opera, and during his tenure in Gothenburg he was guest professor at the music University, conducting symphony concerts with the University orchestra, as well as coaching and teaching the music students of the orchestral program. In 2003 he began a successful collaboration with the Youth Orchestra of the Galician Symphony Orchestra in La Coruna, Spain, which culminated in his Artistic Directorship from 2010 to 2014. Since 2003 he is also a guest professor at the Opera Studio in Ghent, Belgium,where he gives regular masterclasses to the voice students on operatic repertoire, style and performance practice.
In the symphonic field, he is also a frequent guest conductor on the podium of such orchestras as the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra,Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgium Radio Symphony Orchestra, Essener Philharmoniker, Bergische Symphoniker, WDR Rundfunkorchester, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, Orchestra of Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionaledella RAI di Torino, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, Oviedo Filarmonia.
Pietro Rizzo speaks Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Finnish, is a passionate bridge player, and lives in Verona, Italy with his wife and three children.
Stefaan Degand graduated as an actor at the Herman Teirlinck Instituut in 2003, and participated in several (musical) theatre performances, including Dwangvoorstelling, De Kussenman, Kreon/antagonist zkt tragedie and Zwanezang (all byTheater Zuidpool), Roestig of het bruingele geeuwen van de ziel and The Golden Boy (bothTheater Antigone), Een totale Entführung and En(de)nicht (Muziektheater Transparant), Yerma een toefeling and Liefde/zijn handen (LOD), Revue, Biedermann en de brandstichters (KVS), Het gras zal altijd geeler zijn (Het Gevolg), Burgerlijke ongehoorzaamheid (De Koe), Leven in Hel-de operette (Theater Lantaren/Venster), Wees ons genadig (De Mexicaanse Hond), Sweetheart Come and De Misantroop (Zeeland Nazomerfestival), Gilgamesj (De Theatercompagnie), Vakman (Theater Artemis), Urt!, Johannespassie, Décap (Johan Desmet), and performed with De Werf, Gasthuis, Dogtroep, Orkater and Walpurgis. Further, he performed in several television series and films, and sang in different recitals.
Tom Swaak obtained master’s degrees in Philosophy and Western Literature from the University of Leuven. His focal points during these studies were philosophy of art, and Dutch theatre and literature respectively. After his studies, he lectured on aesthetics and he taught Dutch literature in Moscow and Paris. Subsequently, he worked for the Flanders Heritage Library and the University of Leuven. As a visual artist, he collaborated with poet Bram Vaassen on several exhibitions and in 2015, a book was published with their collected emblems. Since 2019, he is a dramaturge at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen where he worked on several projects, including Deus universalis, Rizoom and Doem en verlossing.
Wolfgang Gruber was born in Graz, Austria. He studied in Vienna and Graz. He had engagements as Assistant Director at opera companies in Graz and Essen. Noteworthy is his long-term cooperation with stage director Guy Joosten (Amsterdam, Antwerp/Ghent, Barcelona, Brussels, Essen, Oviedo, Marseille, St. Gallen). Gruber assisted Frank Castorf for a.o. the Ring-Cycle at Bayreuth Festival 2013 – 2017. He assisted Patrice Chereau for The House of Death (Vienna Festival, Festival Aix-en-Provence, Holland-Festival) and Jonathan Meese for Mondparsifal at Vienna Festival and Berlin Festival. Further, he collaborated with Tatjana Gürbaca (Ring-Cycle in Vienna, Rigoletto in Bogota etc.) Peter Konwitschny (e.g. Falstaff in Graz), Michael Sturminger (Ariadne auf Naxos in Taipei), Dietrich W. Hilsdorf, Richard Jones, Anselm Weber, and others. His own theatre projects include Das Traumfresserchen and Kiss me, Kate at Aalto-Musiktheater Essen. The last production – The Maids, by Jean Gent – in Essen had to be stopped due to Corona. Finally, Gruber realized the 2016 scenic setting for Mozart in Egypt and in 2018 did the same for Mozart Goes Royal (IOA, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen).