December 18, 2017

old staff


 Emmanuel Acosta – Vocal Coach

Emmanuel Acosta is a lyric tenor, voice teacher, and coach based in Princeton, NJ.

In 2016, Mr. Acosta had the pleasure of performing Bizet’s Carmen with Boheme Opera NJ. Mr. Acosta returned in 2017 for the company’s production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, making his professional operatic debut as Normanno in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor.

Mr. Acosta received a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College of Rider University. During his undergraduate career, Mr. Acosta was featured as Alessandro in Mozart’s Il re pastore and Tebaldo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi in the Westminster Opera Theater. Additional productions include Tchikovsky’s Iolanta and Haydn’s Il Mondo della luna. With the Princeton Festival, Mr. Acosta had the opportunity of performing Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollander, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Britten’s Peter Grimes.

Mr. Acosta has performed with world-renown orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Mr. Acosta has sung under the baton of acclaimed conductors such as Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Alan Gilbert, Vladimir Jurowski, Jacques Lacombe, and Daniele Gatti. Among the venues in which Mr. Acosta has performed are Carnegie Hall, the Kimmel Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the MacCarter Theater.

At Westminster, Mr. Acosta studied with distinguished dramatic soprano Dr. Sharon Sweet, and has coached with Miss Laura Brooks Rice, Dr. Akiko Hosaki, Rachelle Jonck, Dr. Eric Rieger, and Debora Scurto-Davis.”



Emily K. Byrne – Vocal Coach

Emily K. Byrne is an “impressive vocalist” with a diverse range of performance credits. Ms. Byrne’s portrayal of The Mother in Long Leaf Opera’s production of Amahl and the Nig

ht Visitors and was hailed as “…the show’s unifying force in the vocal department.”  Though originally from the greater Philadelphia area, Ms. Byrne has spent the last few years performing up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

For the past five summers, Ms. Byrne has worked with Delaware Valley Opera Company (Pa) as part of their summer season. Past performances with DVOC have included Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Thirdy Lady in The Magic Flute, Theresa in La Sonnambula,  and Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto.  Ms. Byrne’s other favorite roles are The Marvelous Wonderettes (Betty Jean Reynolds),  The Medium (Ms. Gobineau), The Old Maid and the Thief (Miss Pinkerton), and A Shipwrecked Opera (The Ocean). Ms. Byrne also spent two seasons with College Light Opera Company (CLOC) in The Mikado (Pitti-Sing), My Fair Lady (Mrs. Eyensford-Hill), Annie Get Your Gun (Dolly Tate) and The Pirates of Penzance (


In addition to her diverse performance credits, Ms. Byrne is comfortable instructing students in a variety of musical genres. As a teacher, Ms. Byrne is passionate about helping students find their own unique voice through an understanding of basic vocal technique. Her students’ interests have included a variety of musical genres from pop to opera.  For the past two years, Ms. Byrne was a teaching artist at The Prizery in South Boston Virginia, Theatre Horizons in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She has instructed students of all different backgrounds and abilities in voice, piano, and trombone. Her students have gone on to win talent contests as well as principal roles in musical theater both at the high school and professional level. She is especially interested in expanding her students’ love and understanding of music well beyond their musical instruction.



Dyan Zbikowski - Voice Teacher

Dyan Zbikowski is a professional voice teacher in residing in Bordentown, NJ. Ms. Zbikowski teaches at Phifer Middle School in Pennsauken, NJ, where she conducts all choral activities as well as general music instruction. Ms. Zbikowski’s award winning ensembles have performed at various functions throughout the Delaware Valley. Prior to teaching in Pennsauken, Ms. Zbikowski held the position of Music Director at The Village Charter School in Trenton, NJ, where she was the founder and director of the musical theater and choral programs. Ms. Zbikowski successfully directed and produced several musical theater productions for elementary and middle school students including Into The Woods, Jr., Once On This Island, Jr., and Annie, Jr. Ms. Zbikowski was also  instrumental in coordinating programs for the students of Trenton with both Opera NJ and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.

Ms. Zbikowski received her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice and Music Education from Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She focused her study and honors program research in the area of voice pedagogy and adolescent vocal development. Ms. Zbikowski went on to complete graduate studies in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ. During this time, she studied under notable singers and voice pedagogues including Ms. Zehava Gal, Dr. Christopher Arneson, and Dr. Scott McCoy. In addition, Ms. Zbikowski had the unique opportunity to complete a Vocology Internship with world renowned clinical voice care specialist, Anat Keidar, PhD, CCC-SLP, at both St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and the Keidar Voice Care Center in New York, NY. Through this internship, Ms. Zbikowski studied the recognition and remediation of voice disorders in singers, actors, and other various public speakers. She was able to gain hands-on experience teaching proper vocal technique to alleviate and prevent disorders of the voice under the expert tutelage of Dr. Keidar.

Aside from teaching, Ms. Zbikowski’s passion is singing. As a performer, Ms. Zbikowski has enjoyed participating in professional operatic ensemble and choral singing over the past 15 years. She sings regularly with the Riverside Choral Society of New York, under the direction of Patrick Gardner, where she also performs as a soloist on occasion. Other recent singing engagements include the New York City Master Chorale, Opera at Florham of Madison, NJ, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Westfield, NJ.




 Lorraine C. Perri – Vocal Coach

Lorraine C. Perri is a recent graduate of Montclair State University. Throughout her undergraduate career she performed as a lead in various shows, such as: Spring Awakening, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Reefer Madness, Hair, The Wedding Singer, The Vagina Monologues, Bye Bye Birdie, Beauty and the Beast, and so on. She was most recently seen in NYC as Lilly in the new play, Holidaze. Lorraine has been studying voice/acting since the age of 13, and hopes to pass along her passion for the arts to her students.




Kyle Sheehan – Voice and Piano Teacher

Kyle Sheehan is a singer, musician, and educator from Hamilton, NJ. He received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from The College of New Jersey with a vocal/choral concentration and currently teaches general music at several elementary schools in Ocean County. He has been studying voice for 12 years and piano for 6 years, and was one of Ms. Sophie’s first students at Rising Stars Voice Studio when it was first formed. He has performed in choirs with the Philadelphia Orchestra and at Lincoln Center in New York, and has played countless roles in musical theater and opera productions across New Jersey and Philadelphia.