Tony Kostecki, General Director
Tony Kostecki was appointed General Director of Seagle Festival in January of 2008. Previous to this appointment, Tony held the position of General Manager at Seagle from 2006-2007.Before moving into management, he was on the faculty of Seagle Festival as a coach/accompanist and conductor for ten years. Between 2002 and 2007, Tony was Director of Education at Fort Worth Opera and also Director of the Fort Worth Opera Studio. During his tenure with Fort Worth Opera, Tony oversaw the creation of the Fort Worth Opera Studio Young Artists Program and all outreach aspects of Fort Worth Opera.From 2002-2007 he was also the Fort Worth Opera Chorus Master and writer of many of the supertitle translations for Fort Worth Opera.
As a coach/accompanist, Tony worked for Fort Worth Opera, Shreveport Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Kansas City Lyric Opera Express and Kansas City Civic Opera. A native of Topeka, Kansas, he received his undergraduate degree in Music from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas and his Master of Music Degree in Piano Accompanying and Organ Performance from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
Darren K. Woods, Artistic Director
Darren K. Woods was appointed General Director of the Seagle Festival in the summer of 1996. Since that time, Seagle has experienced incredible growth in almost every aspect including budget, production quality, facilities and faculty/staff. The caliber of young artists at Seagle continues to rival any other program in the world with recent debuts of our artists at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera and even on Broadway. Because of this extensive growth and the need for Seagle to have a full-time presence in Schroon Lake, Darren transitioned to part-time Artistic Director in January 2008. In February 2017, Darren returned full-time to Seagle Festival and is now also leading the Colony’s development and fundraising efforts. Darren was General Director of the Fort Worth Opera, from 2001 to 2017. Under his leadership, the Fort Worth Opera increased subscription and donor bases and also moved from a full season to a festival format company. Expanding on Mr. Woods’ dedication to young artists, the Fort Worth Opera Studio was founded during the 2002-2003 season with four members who participate in main stage productions, perform for more than 50,000 children each year and receive coaching and lessons from resident and guest artists. Prior to his appointment in Fort Worth, he was the General Director of the Shreveport Opera in Louisiana. While in Shreveport, Mr. Woods founded Shreveport Opera Express, or SOX, a touring, arts in education program that involved school children working with professional artists in the schools.
Mr. Woods is a frequent vocal competition judge. Over the past few years, he has served as a panel judge for the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Lieber Competition, the Denver Opera Guild Competition, the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and the Marguerite McCammon Competition. He has been a guest grant panelist for the State of Louisiana (Music, Opera and Theater), the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Nevada and the Fort Worth Arts Council.
Mr. Woods performed as a professional operatic tenor for twenty years prior to beginning his management positions in such venues as: The New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Washington Opera, L’Opera Madrid, Opera Trieste, Seattle Opera, the Dallas Opera, Baltimore Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and many others.
Jim Koehnle, Managing Director/Technical Director
Jim joined the Seagle Festival full-time in 2015, where his duties include oversight of all technical theater aspects of Seagle’s productions, as well as oversight of Seagle’s buildings and grounds. Along with his creative expertise, Jim brings with him nearly 15 years of professional experience in the technical theatre industry. He spent two summers at Seagle as the assistant technical director and scenic designer for Little Women, Sweeney Todd, and The Pirates of Penzance. In recent years at Seagle, Jim designed the sets for Falstaff and the world premiere of Roscoe. He recently was associate set designer for the world premiere production of Voire Dire at Fort Worth Opera. Jim received his BFA in Production Design and Technology from Ohio University, and his MFA in Scenic Design from Kent State University. Academic work includes teaching technical theatre and design at Syracuse University, Kent State University, and Lindenwood University as well as a position as technical director and scenic designer for Lindenwood University. His professional work includes positions as props artisan/carpenter for The Virginia Stage Company and Syracuse Stage as well as props master for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Porthouse Theatre. Additionally, Jim continues to work as a cabinetmaker and freelance furniture designer.
Dr. Byron Jones
Washington DC area Tenor Byron Jones is well-known to audiences, having performed regularly for more than two decades in opera, concert, recital and intimate cabaret settings, in such venues as the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Opera House, and Millennium Stage, Lisner Auditorium, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and numerous regional theatres. A versatile artist, he continually seeks out new challenges. Jones has received critical praise for his warmth of tone and clear, expressive use of language. He has performed with the Washington Opera, Baltimore Opera, Opera Vivente, and Florentine Opera. He remains active as a singer and stage director. Singers from his Seagle studio have gone on to sing at Santa Fe, LA Opera, Glimmerglass, Wolf Trap, Des Moines Metro, Norwegian National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Virginia Opera, Opera Toledo, Opera Carolina, Florid Grand, Opera in the Heights, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and have been award winners in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Dr. Jones is Associate Professor of Music (voice) at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where his activities include teaching and directing. A specialist in languages, especially French, he has given master classes for the Washington National Opera Institute for Young Singers and the American Singers Opera Project. He returns to Seagle in 2019 for his 7th season as a member of the voice faculty. He holds degrees in French Language and Literature from the Universities of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Massachusetts-Amherst degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland-College Park (Maryland Opera Studio) and Shenandoah University.
Stephen Lusmann has enjoyed a successful international career singing over forty leading baritone roles with major opera houses, including the Oper der Stadt Bonn, Opera de Monte Carlo, Stadttheater Luzern, Washington National Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre and Glimmerglass Opera among many others. As an active concert soloist he has performed at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall and with numerous symphony orchestras and festivals in the United States and Europe. On recordings, Mr. Lusmann may be heard in Richard Strauss’ opera Der Friedenstag on the Koch International label, Operngala on Tonstudio AMOS, and on E. E. Cummings: An American Circus, songs of Logan Skelton on the Centaur Records label. He also recorded two more CDs of Skelton’s songs that were released in April 2013 on the Blue Griffin label: Ohr Songs: The Mad Potter, Clyburn Songs: A Kind of Weather and Anderson Songs: Through the Eyes of an Islander. His students are having tremendous success performing professionally in opera, concert, musical theater and young artist programs throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. They are performing with the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Bayerische Staatsoper München and on Broadway. In addition they are winning prestigious international vocal competitions and are members of university voice faculties. He is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, was the voice teacher for the Fort Worth Opera Studio from 2010-2017, taught at Music in the Marché in Mondavio, Italy and has been a voice teacher at the Seagle Festival since 2001.
Dr. Chad R. Payton
Dr. Chad R. Payton is excited to return to “the hill” for his eleventh summer! Previous to beginning teaching voice at Seagle in 2016, he was a two-time young artist with Seagle Festival (2002, 2005) and served as General Manager (2010-2015). Dr. Payton is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Capital University in Columbus, OH. Since 2016, his private NYC Studio and Seagle Artists have placed in various levels of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and are singing with Merola Opera Program, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Chautauqua Opera Company, Sarasota Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Delaware, Middlebury Opera, and have received Career Blueprint Awards from Opera America. His music theatre artists have been seen in Naked Boys Singing in NYC, have won the national music theatre NATS competition, and are singing at festivals such as the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany.
Payton made both his Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center debuts in Michael Ching’s opera, Corps of Discovery: A Musical Journey, and has presented chamber music recitals with his professional ensemble, Payton and the Pipes, in Italy and throughout the United States. He has presented technique and audition masterclasses at The Boston Conservatory, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas El Paso, and Utah State University.
Pianist Neill Campbell will take part in his first summer season at Seagle Festival in 2020 having been fall-season pianist/coach for the past two years. Neill has been a pianist/coach at Fargo-Moorehead Opera, Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center, Gulfshore Opera, Pensacola Opera, and Shreveport Opera. At Shreveport, Neill was a Resident Artist, where he served for two years as chorus master, rehearsal pianist, and pianist for the Shreveport Opera Xpress outreach and touring program. Most recently, Neill was the coach and Program Director for the Gate City Bank Young Artist Program at Fargo-Moorehead Opera, where he prepared singers for Speed Dating Tonight and Cavalleria Rusticana. Neill has performed across the United States, and internationally in Italy and in Havana, Cuba. Neill is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he received both his MM in Collaborative Piano, and his BM in Piano Performance.
Pianist and vocal coach John Cockerill joined the Seagle Festival music faculty in 2018 and was music director for The Great Gatsby. Cockerill holds an M.M. in Musicology from UNL and a M.M. in Collaborative Piano from CU-Boulder. Active in opera and musical theatre, he has served on the coaching staff at Des Moines Metro Opera, and he was the assistant music director and conductor at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake, CO for three seasons. He is a company member of Chicago Fringe Opera and was featured on the recording of Ross Crean’s The Great God Pan (Navona Records, 2017). He is currently the musical associate at Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY.
Jonathan Heaney is a pianist, vocal coach, and conductor based in New York City. He currently serves as a staff pianist and vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music. He recently completed a year as Piano Fellow for the Vocal Arts department at the Juilliard School. He returned to Juilliard in the fall of 2018 as pianist for Juilliard Opera’s production of Turn of the Screw. In the summer of 2018, he spent two months in Italy as a pianist and coach at Opera Lucca and Classic Lyric Arts in Novafeltria. Previously, he served as a staff pianist for the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC in 2014-17 for their productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Così fan tutte, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Albert Herring, Don Giovanni, and Sweeney Todd. He was also the assistant conductor for Die Zauberflöte and the world premiere of Falling Angel by J. Mark Scearce. As Music Director of City Lyric Opera (formerly known as ARE Opera), he led productions of La Cenerentola, Gianni Schicchi, Roméo et Juliette, and L’elisir d’amore. He earned his bachelor’s degree in piano performance, summa cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, and his master’s degree in vocal accompanying from Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Warren Jones.
An Emerging Artist at Seagle from 2008-2010, Meaghan Deiter is excited to be returning to direct the world premiere of HARMONY. Meaghan is currently a Professor of Practice in Music Theatre and Opera at the College of the Holy Cross where she teaches acting and voice. She holds an MM in Voice from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Acting from Indiana University. Meaghan has performed on the stages of Virginia Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Saratoga, Chautauqua Opera, Kentucky Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera among others, and recent directing engagements include projects with Opera Saratoga, College of the Holy Cross, New Voices Opera, and Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.
Director of Productions – Richard Kagey has been Director of Productions at Seagle for over thirty years, directing operas and musicals as diverse as Oklahoma! to 2006’s workshop and performances of Morning Star by Ricky Ian Gordon. After spending numerous years on faculty at several colleges and universities, Mr. Kagey has begun freelance directing full time. He was involved with Pasatieri’s opera Frau Margot from its inception, and directed the first workshop production at Seagle during the summer of 2005. In the summer of 2007, he directed and was also set desginer for another Pasatieri premiere, Hotel Casablanca, for the San Francisco Opera Merola Program. The opera was a co-production with the University of Kentucky, where he also directed the piece. He is currently working extensively with Atlanta Opera and will direct Of Mice and Men during the 2008 Fort Worth Opera Festival. Other experience includes direction at regional theaters and opera companies across the country as well as several years as a press agent for Broadway theaters.