- Geiringer Hall
Admission is free.
Soprano Sandra Bengochea has earned rave reviews for her spirited interpretations of the lyric coloratura repertoire. Described as having a “natural vivacity and charisma that resulted in a performance that was a joy from the first note to the last (Opera News),” she has performed over thirty operatic roles, ranging from the comic ones of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Norina in Don Pasquale, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Adina in The Elixir of Love, to the dramatic ones of Gilda in Rigoletto, Mimi inLa Bohème, Marguerite in Faust, Leila in The Pearl Fishers, and the title role in Manon with companies such as Bangkok Opera, Opera San Jose, Great Falls Opera, Intermountain Opera, and Opera Idaho.
Recent engagements for Ms. Bengochea include directing Opera San José’s productions of Tosca, Carmen, and La Cenerentola, and performing the role of Ilia in the company premiere of Mozart’s Idomeneo, where she was praised by The Opera Critic: “Ilia’s lilting lines are a perfect match for Bengochea. She sings with a relaxed optimism that matches Ilia’s resilient demeanor.”
Equally comfortable on the concert and recital stage, Professor Bengochea has performed the soprano solos in Orff’s Carmina Burana, Schubert's Mass in G, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, and Mozart’s Requiem, with orchestras such as The Winchester Orchestra, The Santa Clara Chorale, The San Jose Chamber Orchestra, The Sacramento Chorale Society, and The Midsummer Mozart Festival. She has also sung operatic and musical theatre excerpts by composers ranging from Mozart to Puccini to Lloyd Weber, with companies such as the California Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Peninsula Symphony, the San Jose Symphony, and the Midsummer Mozart Festival. She also performed with the Midsummer Mozart orchestra at Villa Montalvo, where she appeared as a last-minute replacement for Frederica Von Stade.
Professor Bengochea enjoys an active career as a college music instructor, stage director, vocal performer, in addition to being the mother of two boys.
Baritone Joseph Wiggett is Professor of Voice at California State University, Stanislaus where he maintains an extremely active applied voice studio in addition to his teaching duties in vocal pedagogy, lyric diction, vocal literature, and opera workshop. He is the former Director of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Stanislaus State, and in 2008, became the Artistic Director of Townsend Opera of Modesto, for which he produced and directed a full slate of operatic productions at the Gallo Center for the Performing Arts.
As a past member of the Juilliard Opera Center, the Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists, and the Prague Mozart Academy, Dr. Wiggett has performed over three-dozen operatic roles and brings a wealth of hands-on experience to the studio and stage. He has given recitals throughout the United States, Europe, and the former Soviet Union, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including three Birgit Nilsson prizes, as well as two grants from the Puccini Foundation. Most recently, he was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Arts Award for Music by the Stanislaus Arts Council, with commendations from the State Senate and the Governor’s office.
As a contest singer, Dr. Wiggett has ranked among the finest in the country and has taken first place honors in such prestigious competitions as the Metropolitan Opera New England Regional Auditions, the Chicago Union Civic and Arts Leagues Competition, and the Center for Contemporary Opera International Competition. He is also the only three-time winner of the prestigious Lillian Nordica Prize.
Among his major debuts are roles with the New York City Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, a solo recital in the Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Series, and his Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall as the baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana. As a concert performer, Dr. Wiggett has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Manhattan, Boulder, Modesto, Bangor, Portland, Milwaukee, and Colorado Symphonies. He holds degrees in Music Education from the University of Maine, a Masters Degree in Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Doctorate in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Born and raised in Fresno California, pianist and composer Jared Eben has become a fixture in the music community of California's central valley, appearing in upwards of sixty performances a year in a variety of music styles ranging from instrumental chamber music and song recitals, to musical theater. He currently serves as Adjunct Faculty at California State University Stanislaus, where he teaches Class Piano and also serves as a Staff Accompanist for the University Chorale, Chamber Singers, Opera Scenes, and for instrumental and vocal applied lessons.
As a composer, Mr. Eben’s works have been premiered by a variety of central valley solo artists and ensembles. Recently completed works include Preludes for People, a collection of preludes written for solo piano dedicated to people who had an impact on his life; An Die Musik, an adaptation of Schubert’s beloved setting for SATB Choir; Vocalise for Megan, a choral piece for SSAA voices; as well as Meatballs and When Pigs Fly, two pieces for elementary school choir.
Equally at home in choral work, Mr. Eben has collaborated with numerous regional choral ensembles and currently serves as accompanist for the Modesto Symphony Chorus. Other choirs with which he has worked include the Soli Deo Gloria Women’s Chorus, the Case High School Choirs, as well as Clovis North High School, Granite Ridge Intermediate School, Cole, Dry Creek, Liberty, and Pinedale elementary schools.
His musical theater credits include the Good Company Players, Stageworks Fresno, Centerstage Clovis, Children’s Musical Theatre Works, and the Clovis Unified School District in performances of Spring Awakening, Paint Your Wagon, Grey Gardens, Les Misérables, A Little Night Music, Next to Normal, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast, and Damn Yankees.
Mr. Eben holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Chapman University where he was awarded the Outstanding Keyboard and Music Theory awards. Under the direction of Karen Knecht, he was the South Section Winner of the Music Teachers’ Association of California 2009 Piano Competition and won a Command Performance Award at California State University Fresno’s Solo Ensemble Festival. Mr. Eben also holds a Masters Degree in Piano Performance from New York University, where he earned the Steinhardt Scholarship and studied under Eduardus Halim. While attending New York University, Mr. Eben served as Adjunct Instructor teaching Keyboard Harmony and Group Piano classes, as well as elective private piano lessons. His future plans include PhD work with an emphasis in Piano at New York University.