Karen Archbold, mezzo-soprano, after receiving a Bachelor of Music Performance, Karen Archbold continued her studies in Bremen, Germany at the Hochschule fur Kunste. In 2016, she was the Sinfonietta Bel Canto's Voice Competition First Place Winner in the Emerging Artist Category. She was a 2014 and 2015 finalist in the American Prize Competition Vocal Division and runner-up in the American Prize Chicago Music Theatre Award. She has appeared as Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, Abuela in La Vida Breve and Berthe in Barber of Seville. Karen’s solo appearances include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, John Rutter’s Magnificat, Lili Boulanger’s Psalm Profundis, the Verdi Requiem, and the Mahler Kindertotenlieder. She currently performs with the Belle Ensemble and with Duo Striata. She also gives weekly concerts as a part of Music for the Mind, a music therapy program for people with Alzheimer's.
Nicholas Barootian, baritone, a Racine native, has studied voice with Gregory Berg, former King's Singers Anthony Holt, and Richard Sjoerdsma. He sang with the Ensemble Singers of VocalEssence under Philip Brunnelle during their 40th Anniversary tour of England, and more recently with the Florentine Opera Chorus, for which he has also been engaged as a soloist in summer outreach programs. His stage credits include "Giuseppe" in The Gondoliers, "Bob" in The Old Maid and the Thief, and "Kaspar" in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Nick is also a burgeoning conductor and composer, Las year, he appeared as conductor and soloist with Southeast Wisconsin Performing Arts, music-directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and composed music for the Case High School original production he also music-directed, #DarkSideoftheRainbow, with Nancy Gibson. Since 2015, Nick has served as Director of Liturgy and Music for St. Francis Xavier and St. John the Baptist Catholic Parishes in Brighton and Paris, Wisconsin. Also last year, Nick founded the Belle Ensemble, a vocal chamber music group aimed at bringing first class vocal performances to Racine and its neighbors, and at developing collaborations among talented vocal musicians and other artists in the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor. He hopes all of you will enjoy our 2017-2018 concert season!
Ami Bouterse, soprano, has recently performed with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Racine Symphony Orchestra, and the Racine Concert Band. Last year, Ami was a featured panelist regarding the singing of Norwegian art songs at the Grieg Festival in Sarasota, FL. She and her musical family, namely husband and daughter, have formed the group Porpourizzi, which presents a variety of musical theater and light opera material for concert venues and private gatherings. At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Ami is an Associate Professor of Music where she teaches private voice and other related courses, including directing the Opera Workshop. She received voice and opera theater performance degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Carnegie Mellon University respectively. In addition, Ami earned Level III Certification in Jeanne LoVetri's Somatic VoiceworkTM, which featured contemporary commercial music pedagogical technique at Shenandoah University. Ami also maintains the AB Voice Studio for children and adults at all levels. Visit www.abvoicestudio.com
Edson Melendez, local actor/director/singer, serves as the company's artistic advisor and regular performer. He has been seen as a soloist with local and regional groups such as Milwaukee Opera Theater, Florentine Opera, Northshore Opera Hour, Choral Arts Society, Kenosha Chamber Choir, and Belle Ensemble among others. Edson has performed in acting roles with Milwaukee Chamber Theater, and Racine Theater Guild. He has recently branched out as a stage director and directed two productions of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" for Milwaukee Opera on Tap. He has been engaged as the assistant directing intern for the prestigious San Miguel Institue of Bel-canto, where he works along side industry profesionals from many of the top opera houses in the world. Edson holds a B.M. in vocal performance from Arizona State University and an M.M. in vocal performance from DePaul University, where he studied with Metropolitan Opera tenor Michael Sylvester. Edson is honored to be a member of the Belle Ensemble and a proud resident of Racine!
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