Guest Artist Master Class: Sandra Bengochea and Joseph Wiggett

Event Date: 

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Geiringer Hall

Event Price: 

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.