Faculty and Staff

Conductor Barbara Day Turner is founder and music director of the San José Chamber Orchestra, now in its 29th season. An ardent advocate for new music, she has premiered more than 150 new works just with her orchestra. Known for creative and engaging programming, she has led the orchestra and its many youth ensembles in the exploration of new works and engagement with living composers.


Named the 2012 Silicon Valley Arts Council “On Stage” Artist Laureate, Maestra Day Turner has conducted close to 100 operas and musical theater pieces, including the premieres of five American operas. She has also conducted such diverse works as John Adams’ Nixon In China for Portland Opera, The King and I and The Full Monty for American Musical Theatre of San José, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Rossini's The Barber of Seville for Utah Festival Opera, where she served as Conductor and Music Administrator for fifteen years.  Her background also includes eighteen years as conductor and artistic administrator with Opera San José where she led the premieres of Hotel Eden by Henry Mollicone/Judith Fein, West of Washington Square by Alva Henderson/Janet Lewis, The Tale of The Nutcracker by Craig Bohmler/Daniel Helfgot, and Phaedra by George Roumanis, in addition to several dozens of repertoire pieces. She also conducted, in Montana and Idaho, the world premiere performances of Alva Henderson's Nosferatu, with text by poet  and former National Endowment for the Arts chairperson Dana Gioia.


Barbara holds a masters degree in harpsichord performance from San José State University, with advanced studies with the legendary Fernando Valenti, defining an alter-ego musical life as a harpsichordist. Numerous fascinating pieces have been written for her, including Allen Strange's Twitter (Velocity Study for amplified harpsichord and computer-driven electronics), Craig Bohmler's Pentimento and Chiaroscuro, Michael Touchi's Harpsichord Concerto, and Emily Wong's Breathin', Walkin', Dancin'. Other unusual projects have included conducting Sondheim’s Assassins for American Musical Theater of San José, Weisgall’s Six Characters in Search of An Author for Opera Festival New Jersey, La Cenerentola with the Rheinsberg Festival (Berlin), the world premiere of Randall Wong's Household Opera for puppets in a Victorian toy theater and The Cat and the Fiddle for 42nd Street Moon in San Francisco. She has also guest conducted for Opera Memphis, Nashville Opera, El Paso Opera, West Bay Opera, Rimrock Opera, Taconic Opera, Rogue Opera, Opera Idaho and led concerts with the Rudolstadt (Germany), Billings (MT),  Fayetteville (AK), Redwood, Nova Vista and Diablo Valley Symphonies (CA) and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes( MX). 


Maestra Day Turner serves annually as a judge for the Irving M. Klein International String Competition in San Francisco, and on the advisory boards of OperaNeo in San Diego and the Delphi Trio, and is a member of the board of directors of the National Women's Philharmonic Advocacy association.

Daniel Helfgot
Stage Director

Daniel Helfgot' credits include well over 230 productions of over 110 operas, operettas and zarzuelas from the Baroque to the contemporary, including several world premieres.  His international credits include shows in Argentina (including the famed Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires) Albania National Theater, Austria (Hochschule Vienna), Canada, Costa Rica (Opera Nacional), Finland, Germany (Dortmund), Mexico (Bellas Artes), Panama, and Sweden. 


In the US he has directed for such companies as Baltimore; Billings, Festival Opera (California), Chattanooga, Eugene, Knoxville, Memphis, Orlando, Shreveport, Pennsylvania Festival, Sacramento, Spring Opera and Western Opera Theater of San Francisco, Utah Opera, Utah Festival, Virginia Opera, and many others.

From 1982 to 2000 Mr. Helfgot was the Resident Director and Director of Production for Opera San José where he created 60 productions defining the company's artistic output, established all its production departments and led the design process for the renovation of its performing venues, the Montgomery and the California Theaters of San José. 


From 1995 to 2005, he produced and directed most of the main repertoire of zarzuelas for a Zarzuela Festival in Napa, CA. From 2006 to 2016 he directed for every season of Utah's Opera Festival. He was Producer and Director for the Pennsylvania Opera Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. In Argentina, he was Production Director and Artistic Coordinator for the Opera, Ballet and Symphony seasons at the Teatro Argentino and directed the Project for the Design and Development of the Center for Performing Arts in La Plata, where he also founded the Teatro Musical de Cámara and the Festival Musical de Noviembre, and was Resident Assistant Director and Rehearsals Coordinator for the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. ​His directorial work also includes tango and cabaret shows and he has written and perform scripts and narrations for different stage genres. Helfgot produced several opera radio programs and directed television broadcasts of his own operatic productions in Argentina and an award-winning production for PBS in the USA.

As a journalist, also in Argentina, he was the editor of the Sunday's edition of the daily El Dí­a where he wrote extensively about music and the arts and also founded and directed the by-monthly Ritmo, a magazine dedicated to the performing arts and architecture.

Helfgot translates opera libretti from Italian, Spanish, German and French for English and Spanish supertitles and writes operatic dialogue versions for the English, Spanish and German repertoire.

He has also translated books from English into Spanish and vice-versa as well as for the on-line Spanish version of HonestReporting.

He is the librettist of the opera The Tale of the Nutcracker with music by Craig Bohmler premiered in 1999 and is writing the libretto for the opera Ourland with music by Paul Davies. ​He has received the Opera Director of the Year 2009 award from the Classical Singer Magazine, an award from the Arts Council Silicon Valley, and has been honored with the Koret Israel Prize.


​Mr. Helfgot is the author of The Third Line: The Opera Performer as Interpreter, a definitive book on the training of singers, originally published by Schirmer Books followed by a revised paperback edition titled The Third Line: The Singer as Interpreter, a book widely used by individuals, universities and conservatories.

​His teaching experience includes a guest professorship at the Musikhochschule of the Vienna University, Austria and the leadership of the Vocal and Vocal Accompanying Programs at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, California.

He is constantly in demand throughout US campuses, with guest appearances at the National Academy of the Arts in Taipei, Taiwan; the Instituto Superior de Arte, Teatro Colón, Argentina; the Academy of Music in Aaland, Finland, among many others.

​Helfgot serves on the advisory board of  the San José Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Zeller made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1989 and has appeared there for 11 seasons. In 2002–03, he appeared in lead roles in three new productions: Ernesto in Bellini’s Il Pirata with Renée Fleming and Marcello Giordani, Eddie in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge (based on the play by Arthur Miller), and Chorebe opposite Deborah Voigt and Ben Heppner in Berlioz’s Les Troyens, conducted by Maestro James Levine.

His other assignments at the Metropolitan Opera have included the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth, the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème, Barak in R. Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Carlo in Verdi’s Ernani, Rangoni and Schelkalov in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov in two different productions, Thoas in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, Kothner in Wagners’s Die Meistersinger, and Sprecher in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, as well as performances of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, Gounod’s Faust, and his Met Opera debut as Count Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto.

He has appeared in lead roles with the Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Berlin Staatsoper, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Deutsche Opera am Rhein, English National Opera at the Barbican in London, the Edinburgh Festival, and Vienna Festival, as well as many other international and regional opera houses throughout the world, including the Philadelphia, Minnesota, Cincinnati, San Diego, Portland, New Orleans, and New Jersey opera companies.


Mr. Zeller was featured in 2001 in an Emmy-nominated nationwide TV broadcast of Live from Lincoln Center singing Mozart’s Requiem with the Mostly Mozart Festival, conducted by Gerard Schwarz.

Mr. Zeller has sung with nearly all of the major orchestras in the U.S., including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, and the National Symphony at Kennedy Center. Highlights of past seasons include appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Levine in Berlioz’s Les Troyens and the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with both the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia and in a nationwide radio broadcast over 500 stations with the Cleveland Orchestra.

His performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Bloch’s Sacred Service, Catalani’s La Wally, Faure’s Requiem, and many others.

On the concert stage, he has performed with the Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minnesota, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, St. Louis, Oregon, and St. Paul chamber orchestras; the Colorado, San Antonio, Nashville, Tulsa, Toledo, Buffalo, Columbus, Richmond, Tampa, Huntsville, Florida, New World, Grant Park, Indianapolis, Johnstown, Rochester, Akron, Wichita, Kalamazoo, Baton Rouge, Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Charleston, Memphis, Phoenix, and San Diego symphonies; and many other orchestras, professional choruses, and gala events.


His international orchestra credits feature appearances with the Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Ottowa symphonies; the Nord Deutscher Rundfunk (Hanover); the MDR Symphony Orchestra (Leipzig); the Dresden Staatskapelle; the Czech, Tokyo, Korea, and Rotterdam philharmonics; the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Norway); the Orquesta Sinfonia de Mineria; and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte- Carlo, among many others.


Richard Zeller’s recordings include the critically-acclaimed Merry Mount by Howard Hanson, Deems Taylor’s Peter Ibbettson with Naxos, and the world premiere of Henri Lazarof’s Fifth Symphony on Centaur Records – all recorded with Gerard Schwartz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded Dvorak’s Te Deum with Zdenec Macal and the New Jersey Symphony for Delos, David Schiff’s Gimpel the Fool for Naxos, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for Centaur Records, and Virgil Thompson’s Lord Byron and Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land for Koch International. He has recorded Luigi Dallapiccola’s opera Volo di notte with American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein, and his most recent release is Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Martingale Ensemble on MSR classics.


Soprano Allison Charney was catapulted into her operatic career, immediately following the national finals of the Metropolitan Opera Competition, with her debut at the New York City Opera as Musetta in La Bohème. She has gone on to sing most of Puccini’s leading soprano roles – including the title roles in Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Suor Angelica, Mimi in La Bohème and Liù in Turandot - earning a reputation for her “vocal agility, lush sound and dramatic portrayals” of the lirico-spinto roles in her wide-ranging repertoire. Ms. Charney has experienced enormous success with her Mozart interpretations as well, singing both Susanna and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Sandrina in the rarely-heard La Finta Giardiniera. She wowed audience and critics throughout the U.S. with her tour-de-force portrayals of all three heroines in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann. Her versatile repertoire includes Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Micaëla in Carmen, Nedda in Pagliacci, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and the title roles in Martha, La Traviata, Jenufa and The Merry Widow. Ms. Charney’s career has brought her to opera companies across the country, such as Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Opera Illinois, OperaDelaware, Utah Festival Opera, Tampa Opera, Opera Idaho, Syracuse Opera, Colorado Opera Festival and Mississippi Opera. Concert highlights have included performances at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and as a featured soloist with both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Pops, under the baton of Alan Gilbert. Dedicated to performing music of our times, Ms. Charney has premiered many works composed for her and will make her Carnegie Hall debut in the spring of 2022 with violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, as part of the world premiere of the new composite song cycle: FORGOTTEN VOICES, which she will also record in the fall of 2021. Ms. Charney is featured in the recording of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated oratorio Choose Life and can be heard on the DSC label in a recording of American songs with pianist, Benjamin Loeb. Ms. Charney is the co-creator of HER/MUSIC;HER/STORY most recently featured in a mini-series on WQXR, and is a founding member of the ARK trio who, while Artists-in-Residence at Macalester College,  made their first recording, Love Resounding, scheduled to be released in 2021. An active recitalist and master teacher, Ms. Charney is also the founder and artistic director of the concert series, PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY, which pivoted from its pre-pandemic residence at Merkin Concert Hall to the virtual SEASON OF HOPE, presented by the historic Town Hall - the home of PREFORMANCES’ new virtual venture: OPERA AT HOME. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude with highest honors, from Harvard University, Ms. Charney went on to earn two graduate degrees in music from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Charney lives in New York with her husband and their two sons.

Anton Belov, Festiva Coordinator
Anton Belov
Festival Director

The voice of Baritone Anton Belov has been called “rich and mellifluous” by the New York Times, while his recent appearance as the soloist in Carmina Burana was described by Florida Weekly as "captivating in every way, casting a mystical spell over the audience." He earned praise from critics and audiences alike for his portrayals of Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Don Giovanni, Germont (La Traviata), Count di Luna (Il trovatore), Eugene Onegin, Escamillo in Carmen and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. Mr. Belov is the first-place winner of eight vocal competitions including the George London Competition and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A native of Moscow, Anton Belov holds a Doctorate of Music degree from the Boston University and a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School.  Dr. Belov is an associate professor of music at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

Hannah Penn, mezzo-soprano, enjoys a diverse career as a performer of opera, oratorio, and recital literature. Frequently praised for her musicality and the timbre of her voice, Ms. Penn has recently been called “…a major talent”, and “…an intelligent and wonderfully musical singer” by Portland’s Willamette Week, and was praised for having “…intriguing colors at both ends of her range” by The Oregonian. She has sung more than twenty operatic roles with Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, and other companies.  Ms. Penn frequently performs with Portland Opera, most notably as the title role in Carmen, Julie in Show Boat, and L’enfant in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges.  Ms. Penn also enjoys a full concert schedule, having been featured with orchestras around the country, including several appearances with the Oregon Symphony, , and the Seattle Baroque, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, and the Florida Philharmonic. Ms. Penn is also a dedicated and passionate teacher, on faculty at Portland State University and Linfield College.

Ian Pomerantz
Historical Performance

Music director and bass-baritone Ian Pomerantz is a specialist in the French baroque vocal repertoire, and is the co-founder and artistic director of Les Enfants d’Orphée, an ensemble dedicated to bringing the music of the French Baroque to North American audiences.   With Les Enfants, he also revived cantatas by Clérambault as a part of the John Kleshinsky Concert Series in Boston. Pomerantz joined the GRAMMY Award-winning Boston Early Music festival in the North American premier of Campra’s opera Le Carnival de Venise. Pomerantz leads a revival of Louis Saladin’s Canticum Hebraïcum of the 1680’s, and joins Byron Schenkman and Friends as a guest soloist in reviving Handel’s cantatas for bass voice. Pomerantz holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College, Masters of Music in Voice from Longy School of Music of Bard College, and is completing a doctorate focused on French repertoire at the Hartt School, with additional study in France.

Alexis Silver

ALEXIS SILVER is a New York City based dancer. She is a member of The New York Baroque Dance Company, and has toured the US and abroad, performing in Handel’s Teseo at the International Handel Festival in
Göttingen, Germany, Festival de Música Antigua Esteban Salas in Havana, Cuba, and in Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. As a member of the Boston Early Music Festival Dance
Company, Alexis performed in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Charpentier’s La
Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleur, Handel’s Almira,
and Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise. She performs with Balam Dance
Theater, Sarah Skaggs, and has presented her solo choreography at the Washington National Cathedral. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, she grew up in Berkeley, CA and Boston, MA. She trained with Ronn Guidi’s
Oakland Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet School, Marcus Schulkind, and Nordic
Baroque Dance Company’s International Summer Academy. Alexis is also an accomplished photographer, www.asilverphotography.com. Sarah
Lawrence College: B.A. Liberal Arts; London Contemporary Dance School:
Certificate of Higher Education.


Susan McDaniel

Collaborative Pianist

Susan McDaniel has appeared widely as a solo and collaborative pianist, including regional and national concert tours and recitals in France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. She received a B.A. in music from Linfield College, where she studied with Jill Timmons, and a M.M. in vocal accompanying from Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of Warren Jones. Susan has been a member of the music staff at Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, and Utah Festival Opera as well as music director and pianist for the San Diego Opera Ensemble, Off-Center Opera (Seattle), and Puget Sound Concert Opera. In addition to maintaining an active performing career as a member of Northwest Art Song and the Northwest Piano Trio, she is a lecturer at the University of Portland, teaching lyric diction and lyric theater workshop and serving as both a coach and accompanist for singers and instrumentalists.


Laurel Peterson

Costume Design

Laurel Peterson (Costume Designer) holds her BA in Fine Arts from Linfield College and MFA in Costume Design from Boston University. Laurel is the costumer at Linfield College where she designs costumes, hair and makeup, runs the costume shop and teaches costume design and makeup courses. She has received Meritorious Achievement Awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for a number of her designs at Linfield. Some of Laurel’s recent designs include She Kills Monsters and Jekyll and Hyde at Linfield College Theatre and Tartuffe for Valley Shakespeare at Western Oregon University.


Robert Vaughn

Set Design

Rob holds an MFA in scenic design from Northern Illinois University and a BA in theatre from Linfield College. He works as the Technical Director and resident Sound Designer for the theatre program at Linfield. Other scenic design credits include shows at Theatre 33, Profile Theatre, Lakewood Theatre and Broadway Rose Theatre.  

The Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival has recognized Rob's technical work on several past productions at Linfield.