After receiving a liberal
arts degree at Columbia University,
STEPHEN FRANCIS VASTA has spent much
of the last twenty years as a conductor,
vocal coach, and keyboardist, both with
companies in and around his native New
York and with prominent regional performing
arts organizations. In New York, he
conducted "The Accomplish'd Maid"
- a contemporaneous English-language
version of Gaetano Piccinni's "La
buona figliuola" - and Cimarosa's
"Il matrimonio segreto" with
the Vineyard Theatre Opera, subsequently
bringing the latter production to Berkshire
Opera in Massachusetts. More recently,
he has appeared as guest conductor with
the Filharmonie Hradec Kralove in the
Czech Republic, and as Music Advisor
to the new Brooklyn Repertory Opera,
he has conducted "Cosi fan Tutte"
and "Fidelio." Previous credits
include "Die Fledermaus,"
"The Merry Widow," and "The
Mikado" for the touring company
Opera Northeast; "Orpheus in the
Underworld" at Indiana's Ball State
University, during a one-semester stint
as Assistant Professor of Theatre; Handel's
"Rinaldo" at the University
of Arkansas, Fayetteville; "Carmen"
for the Belleayre Festival Opera, New
York; and "Trial by Jury"
for Opera Naples (FL). He was also chorus
master for the New Jersey Association
for Verismo Opera for two seasons, and
has assisted prominent conductors including
Sarah Caldwell, Cal Stewart Kellogg,
Anton Coppola, and Gunther Bauer-Schenk.
An accomplished classical accompanist,
Mr. Vasta has appeared in that capacity
at venues including NeW York's Weill
Recital Hall and the Smithsonian Institution
in Washington, DC. In his capacity as
guest coach, he presided over the 2004
vocal master class for the Arkansas
chapter of the National Association
of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and was
the staff pianist for the International
Workshop for Conductors for two years.
He also has supplied harpsichord continuo
for Vineyard Theatre Opera, the Bronx
Opera, and the North Arkansas Symphony.
Mr. Vasta is equally adept as a conductor
of musical theatre, with extensive credits
including "Damn Yankees" with
Jamie Farr at the Cape Playhouse, Massachusetts;
"Godspell" at the Edinburgh
Fringe Festival; "Camelot"
at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; "The
Best Little W****house in Texas"
at Ball State University; and the 1992-3
international tour of "Peter Pan"
which played throughout the U.S., Canada,
and East Asia.
He has been reviewing professionally
since 1993, when "Stereophile"
magazine tapped him for a repertoire
survey (Mahler's Second Symphony) on
six weeks' notice. After three years
as a Contributing Editor there, he served
in the same capacity at "Listener"
magazine, and is currently a regular
contributor to "Opera News"
as well as to several websites. His
feature-length discussion of the Symphony
in E by Hans Rott, a classmate of Gustav
Mahler's, appears on the Hans Rott website
In 2007, Mr. Vasta joined the faculty
of the prestigious Colorado College
Vocal Arts Symposium, rehearsing and
performing scenes from "Lucia di
"Little Women," "Semele,"
and "Gypsy." Upcoming engagements
include Massenet's "Cherubin"
for the University of Arkansas, and
"La Clemenza di Tito" for
Brooklyn Repertory Opera.