An Afternoon of Art Songs, Arias & Duets

TheSingersArtConcertSeries_show_page_edited-1Vermonters Christopher Colmenero (tenor) and Geoffrey Penar (baritone) will be joined by Natalia Salemmo (soprano) and Veronica Jensen (mezzo-soprano) in a concert on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 4:00pm at the McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT. Presented by Bill Reed Voice Studio as part of The Singer’s Art Concert Series and sponsored by the Saint Michael’s College Department of Fine Arts, with concert pianist Paul Orgel accompanying, the recital will include songs, arias and duets by Mozart, Rossini, de Falla, Schumann, Bizet, Tosti, and more. Mr. Colmenero and Mr. Penar began their vocal studies as students of Bill Reed, completed their Masters degrees in vocal performance, and have successfully launched their professional singing careers.


Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 4:00pm

McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall

Saint Michael’s College

1 Winooski Park

Colchester, VT 05446

Admission: Tickets are $20/$15 and are available at the door, at and at (plus applicable service fees). No charge for Saint Michael’s College staff, faculty and students (must show valid I.D). No charge for infants and toddlers (must sit on parent/guardian’s lap). For more information, please contact Sally Olson, Managing Director, Bill Reed Voice Studio: or visit

Adults – $21.75 (includes $1.75 service fee)

Seniors, Children under 12 and Bill Reed Voice Studio members – $16.50 (includes $1.50 service fee)

ChrisColmenero_headshotChristopher Colmenero, who, in a review in The New York Times was acclaimed as a “deliciously virile tenor who sings with bright vigor,” is a native of Charlotte and currently resides in New York City. His educational achievements include a PDPL in Voice/Opera from the Mannes College of Music and B.M/M.M degrees in Voice/Opera from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music. While studying at Purchase College he performed the roles of “Rinuccio” in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, “Tamino” in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, “Don José” in Bizet’s Carmen and “Prince Charmant” in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Studying at Mannes College he performed the roles of “Mavra” in Stravinsky’s Mavra, Male Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and “Pablo Neruda” in Daniel Cátan’s Il Postino. Christopher was a 2014 Chautauqua Opera young artist. He returns to Purchase College as a guest artist in 2016 to sing “Judge Danforth” in the Purchase Opera spring production of Miller/Ward’s The Crucible. This coming summer of 2016, he will be performing with Opera Saratoga as an Apprentice Artist and is covering the role of Pablo Neruda in Catáns Il Postino. Christopher made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2015 with the Cecilia Chorus of New York. He was recently named an Eastern District Winner of the 2015/16 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He has also received awards from the Giulio Gari Foundation, the Gerda Lissner Foundation and Chautauqua Opera. Christopher was a recipient of the 2014 Richard F Gold Career Grant. He is a 2016 Opera Saratoga Young Artist and 2016-17 Minnesota Opera Resident Artist.


Geoffrey Penar has been lauded in The Montreal Gazette as “a fresh baritone with a natural sense of comedic timing.” A student of Sanford Sylvan, Geoffrey Penar is a Masters and Artist Diploma graduate from McGill as of 2014. With Opera McGill, Geoffrey performed as “Leporello,” in Don Giovanni, “Bottom” and “Puck” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and “Voltore” in the Canadian premiere of Volpone.  Opera Canada made special note that, “Geoffrey Penar’s hilariously oily and strongly sung Voltore gave much pleasure.” In addition, Geoffrey had the joy of singing “Papageno” in Opera McGill’s 2013 production of The Magic Flute, a performance that The McGill Tribune lauded, “Papageno (Geoffrey Penar) steals the show with his refreshingly comical performance, all the while executing a challenging score.” Geoffrey is a 2011 High Distinction graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Robert McIver. He was awarded the Ornest Award for excellence in degree study, took first place at the 2009 Civic Morning Musicals song competition in Syracuse, and earned jury awards in 2008 and 2009.

Geoffrey has appeared in productions ranging from musical theatre, to operetta, to grand opera. In the summer of 2014, Geoffrey was a young artist for the second time with the Green Mountain Opera Festival, previously playing “Alcindoro” and “Benoit” in their 2012 La Boheme, this time singing the role of “Tarquinius” in Britten’s dark chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia. Later in the summer he sang the role of “Count Almaviva” in Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre’s The Marriage of Figaro. The Daily Gazette made special mention that, “Geoffrey Penar as the Count was wonderfully arrogant,” and that he, “worked up a great stage rage and did vengeance very well even as he sang with lovely aplomb.” He performed in Eastman Opera’s Manon (“Lescaut”), and several productions with the Janiec Opera Company including Die Fledermaus (“Frank”) and The Marriage of Figaro (“Dr. Bartolo). In the summer of 2011, he appeared as “Lancelot” in Camelot and “General Bogdanowitsch” in The Merry Widow with the Ohio Light Opera company.

During 2015, Geoffrey premiered an opera called Storybook with Opera 5, a Toronto based company known for their innovative works and staging. Being a lover of Mozart repertoire, Geoffrey was happy to sing another “Papageno” for Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks, a company headed by the Grammy Award winning Stephen Stubbs. He was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera covering three roles in their production of La Fanciulla del West and later, he played the lead baritone role, “Antoine,” in a production of A Fleeting Animal, a tragic story set in Vermont about a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD written by Erik Nielsen and David Budbill. In March 2015, Geoffrey performed his first “Guglielmo” in Così fan tutte with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and in addition performed as the Bass soloist in the Kingston Symphony’s performance of Beethoven 9. In June, Geoffrey will join Opera 5 to sing “Frank” in Die Fledermaus.

Salemmo, Natalia. HeadshotThe New York Times has called coloratura Natalia Salemmo “satisfying and charming”. She continues to strive for ease and warmth in her singing. Natalia’s upcoming performance will be with The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, August 2016. Ending 2015 and beginning the New Year 2016, Ms. Salemmo returned to the role for a third time as “Gretel” in Hansel and Gretel with Amore Opera. Last summer she performed with Carol Yahr’s New York Summer Opera Scene’s program as “Norina”. Other credits include, First Spirit in Die Zauberflöte and “Young Veronica” in the new opera Roscoe with Opera Saratoga. “Papagena” in Das Labyrinth with Amore Opera, “Gretel” in Hansel and Gretel with Amore Opera and Bronx Opera, “Phyllis” in Iolanthe, ”La Fée” in Cendrillon and “Queen of the Night” in Die Zauberflöte where she sang to critical acclaim with the Queens College Opera as well as “Barbarina” in Le Nozze di Figaro.


Mezzo-soprano Veronica Jensen has gained recognition as a versatile and compelling singer, engaging audiences with her commanding stage presence, alluring vocal tone, and sincere expression. Coming from a rich background of theater, musical theater, jazz, and classical studies, Ms. Jensen has a diverse palate with which she creates her vocal and dramatic art.

A Master’s graduate from Indiana University, Ms. Jensen studied with Heidi Grant Murphy and was awarded the AI Scholarship, which funded the cost of tuition. In 2015, Ms. Jensen enjoyed performing “Isabella” in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and in 2014, was honored to create the titular role in The Tale of Lady Thi Kính by PQ PhanConcert repertoire performances from 2013-2015 include Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem and she premiered PQ Phan’s Vietnamese Requiem as a soloist with orchestra. In 2012, placing first in the Western Washington University Concerto Competition, Veronica performed Ravel’s Shéhérazade, a highlight of her studies. While at WWU, she performed the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon, “Zerlina” in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and “Edith” in Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Ms. Jensen most recently embarked on a European audition tour funded by the Georgina Joshi Indiana University scholarship where she also studied with Claudia Visca in Vienna and with Adrian Baianu in Munich. Upon returning to the US, Ms. Jensen sang selections from Mahler and Mozart with the Cambrian symphony in San Jose, California, and performed “Dorabella” from Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte at the Peoria Symphony in March 2016. Ms. Jensen also recently performed in The Des Moines Opera Center Scenes Festival and was seen as “Octavian”, “Orfeo” and “Mercedes”. In April, Ms. Jensen will sing in a recital featuring arias and art song sponsored by Bill Reed Voice Studio at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. This summer, Ms. Jensen received a grant to study Italian repertoire and language in Oakland California with Middlebury College. While in Oakland, she will also compete as a finalist in the James Toland Vocal Competition.

PaulOrgel_piano2Pianist Paul Orgel has concertized throughout the United States, China and Eastern Europe as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician. Critics have praised his playing for its “subtlety and attention to nuance” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “rare pathos” (New York Times), “brilliant technique, sense of humor and fantasy” (Bridgeport Post), and “warmth and beauty of sound” (Barre-Montpelier Times Argus). A prominent private teacher in Northern Vermont, he is a member of the keyboard faculty at the University of Vermont, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and can be heard on recordings on the CRI, Capstone, Phoenix USA, and MSR labels.

Bill ReedBill Reed has dedicated his professional life to guiding singers in their quest to realize their potential as performing artists. Bill was born into a show business family, the son of Vernon Reed of the Buffalo Bills (the acclaimed barbershop quartet). He began his vocal music education at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree. (Bill is a proud member of the Badger Ice Hockey Hall of Fame). He completed his studies at Columbia University, where he earned a doctorate in vocal music education. After a busy and rewarding career as a college choral director, studio voice teacher and concert singer, Bill established a private voice studio in New York City near Lincoln Center, and began his twenty-five year career as singing teacher at the renowned Circle in the Square Theatre School. For over thirty years, he was privileged to work with singers from all over the world, whose specialties ranged from opera to pop and rock, and Broadway to folk and country. He has consulted on a number of Hollywood movies and commercial recordings, and his students have performed at the Metropolitan Opera, City Opera, many European opera houses, and in hundreds of Broadway shows and national tours. Bill’s students have won Oscar Hammerstein, MAC, Drama Desk, Emmy and Tony awards.

In Vermont, Bill’s adult students have had leading roles in numerous local community and professional musical theater productions. His college and school-aged students have performed extensively in school productions and have gone on to study singing and musical theater at many of the most prestigious colleges, universities, and conservatories in the country. A number of Bill’s Vermont students are working professionals and have recently performed in leading roles at the New York City Opera and on Broadway. Bill is in demand nationally as a clinician, and has been invited to give workshops at many colleges, universities, and meetings of professional organizations.



Sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts at