Category Archives: alumni

Professor Papanikolaou to present pre-performance lectures at Toledo Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly



Eftychia Papanikolaou, Associate Professor of Musicology, has been invited to present two pre-performance lectures at Toledo Opera’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Friday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 4 at 1 p.m.

The allure of the East had captivated opera audiences for the better part of the nineteenth century—tales of the Other constructed through European lens offered boundless opportunities for visual splendor and aural opulence. Written at the dawn of the new century, Madama Butterfly (1904) constitutes Giacomo Puccini’s answer to japonisme, the overwhelming fascination with everything Japanese that thrilled Europeans and Americans alike after 1860.

The opera transports us to the exotic world of nineteenth-century Japan and the ill-fated love between a 15-year-old geisha and an American naval officer. The innocent but passionate Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly) marries the conceited Lieutenant Pinkerton, only to be abandoned when he returns to the US. The stereotypical portrayal of the two protagonists gives us a glimpse into the uneasy historical context that surrounded the encounter between East and West. Puccini’s score, peppered with traditional Japanese music he studied while composing the opera, leaves no doubt about the irresistible power of the music to move, surprise and seduce us. It invites us to leave behind our present-day post-colonial anxieties and rather indulge in the emotional cornucopia and dramatic finesse of one of the composer’s finest creations.

Toledo Opera’s Madama Butterfly is a production of the so-called “Brescia version” of May 1904, the revision that Puccini fashioned three months after the disastrous premiere at La Scala. The opera would undergo several more revisions, until its standard version was established in the Paris production of 1906.

Eftychia Papanikolaou, Ph.D.

Bowling Green State University

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BGSU Voice Alumna to make Metropolitan Opera debut


BGSU alumna, soprano Tammie Michelle Bradley, currently resides in Houston, Texas. She was recently selected by Maestro James Levine to become a part of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera.  The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program was created in 1980 by Maestro Levine to identify and develop extraordinarily talented young singers in the field of opera. The program has trained a new generation of renowned American and International opera singers, as well as coaches and pianists, who perform at the highest standards in productions not only at the Met, but in opera houses around the world.

Ms. Bradley has won prizes in several prestigious vocal competitions, including the first prize in the Marilyn Horne Song Competition at The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California held last July 2014. She has also won prizes in the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition in New York City, and the Lois Alba Vocal Competition in Houston, Texas.  She is currently performing a recital tour of the U.S. as winner of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. The tour has taken her to cities in California, Texas, and New York.

Ms. Bradley begins her contract with the Metropolitan Opera on September 8, 2015. Ms. Bradley received her master of music degree in vocal performance from BGSU in 2009 and studied voice with soprano Myra Merritt.

Also from the studio of Myra Merritt, Elizabeth Hood, who graduated from BGSU in May 2015 has recently completed an operatic training program.  Elizabeth had the chance to sing the demanding role of The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar this past summer.  The program is an intensive opera training program designed for emerging young professional singers and focuses on the German theatre system. The program consisted of 39 students representing 18 different countries. The students were given master classes and the opportunity to learn a role and sing it with orchestra in Weimar.


Andrew Pelletier in recital tour of the South

Andrew Pelletier, Associate Professor of Horn, will be making a recital tour in the South, this September, with residencies at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg (Sept. 7-9), University of West Georgia in Carrollton (Sept. 10-12), and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (Sept. 13-15).  Each residency will include masterclasses, lectures, private teaching and a recital.

Benjamin Bacni, 2014 horn alumni, wins major international competition

Benjamin Bacni, a 2014 BGSU alumni and horn student of Andrew Pelletier, has won the First Prize in the 2015 International Horn Competition of America, University Division.  The IHCA is the only internationally-recognized solo competition for the horn in the United States, held every two years.  At the competition, Benjamin also won the Gretchen Snedeker Prize for his performance of Tim Martin’s “Lament for Horn Solo”.

Fulbright award to take BGSU grad to Berlin


1435330504658By Bonnie Blankinship

When recent Bowling Green State University graduate Rebekah Nelson of Wapakoneta arrives in Berlin later this summer as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, she will bring with her an unusual wealth of experience for someone her age, along with a great deal of enthusiasm. Nelson is one of three BGSU students chosen for the Fulbright program this year.

Nelson, who was a double major in German and piano performance through BGSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, will teach English to elementary schoolchildren at the Carl Schurz-Grundshule in the Spandau neighborhood on the westernmost side of the city.

It will not be the first time she has had to be in front of a class of German-speaking students, she said. During her academic year abroad as a BGSU student in Salzburg, Austria, in 2012-13, she had an internship in a “gymnasium,” a school for students from about age 11-18, in which she gave presentations in German on American music.

During her upcoming year in Berlin, she hopes to continue her involvement with music. “I’d love to work as a collaborative pianist with a local theater company or church group,” said Nelson, who teaches private piano lessons at a performance studio in Perrysburg. “It would be another way to engage with my host country, which is one of the goals of the Fulbright program.”

Her experience teaching younger students in piano should be helpful in working with the elementary school children, as will the “communicative approach” used in her current job with ELS Language Services at BGSU, she said.

The service provides intensive English language classes and is often used by people who plan to attend a university and need to meet the English proficiency requirements. “It’s a very interactive, hands-on approach to learning language that incorporates authentic texts and real-world activities, and I think it will be great preparation for working with children.”

In addition to teaching young children, “I also hope to get involved with a nearby high school to set up a cultural exchange program for students who are preparing for study in the U.S.,” she said. “It would also give them some extra speaking experience.”

While at BGSU, Nelson volunteered with Global Connections, a local nonprofit group devoted to helping international students and families adjust to life in the United States by providing cultural and social experiences and support with language skills.

“I like to dip my feet into as many different pools as I can,” Nelson said. “It seems like many of my experiences will directly or indirectly lend themselves to the Fulbright year.”

She hopes to take noncredit classes in Berlin at Humboldt University in linguistics or research methodology. Her dual interests have led to a curiosity about the role of musical aptitude in language acquisition, something she might like to study in future.

Nelson knows firsthand and “second-hand” what it is like to be a student in another country.  When she was growing up, her family hosted several German exchange students who came to Wapakoneta through a sister-city exchange.

“I thought of them as my older, cool siblings,” she said. “Having them definitely influenced my ideas of what it would be like to live or study in a different country.”

That exposure also influenced her to choose German when in eighth grade it was time to pick a foreign language.

Her language skills improved further when, as a high school junior, she spent a semester in North Rhine-Westphalia living with the family of one of her family’s former exchange students. “I took an intensive ‘German as a Foreign Language’ class after school, and the family’s kids spoke English so they helped me, too,” she said.

“With that experience, I began a minor in German when I got to BGSU,” she said. She again took the opportunity to further her language skills by studying in Salzburg with the BGSU German program. That led to her being able to declare a full major in German, as well as music.

“Dr. Stephan Fritsch, who was the faculty supervisor that year, is a native Austrian,” she said. “He helped me arrange the internship in the ‘gymnasium.’

“He was one of the amazing mentors I had at BGSU,” she said. “He was so helpful in Salzburg and is a former Fulbright EU scholar. I also learned so much from Dr. Kristie Foell, who was my only German teacher at BGSU. She had also had Fulbright awards in the past. And Donna Dick (tutorial coordinator) in the Learning Commons was wonderful when I worked as a German tutor there.”

Nelson will join about 140 other Fulbright fellows at an orientation in Cologne, Germany, at the end of August before commencing her teaching assignment.

She is looking forward to life in Berlin and being able to walk or ride a bike anywhere or take the excellent public transportation, she said. Being stationed in Germany will also enable her to travel about Europe during school holidays.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.