Assistant Professor, Voice
American lirico spinto soprano, Cristina Castaldi, has been described as “a rare talent… having a warm, agile, exciting voice... she moves like a dancer, looks like a model and is at home on stage as off." Dr. Castaldi specializes in the early Verdi and verismo repertoire. Most recently, Dr. Castaldi sang Alice Ford in Falstaff and Le Prince Charmant in Cendrillon (both award winning productions) as well as Mimì in a concert performance of La Bohème with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Other roles of note include the title role of Giovanna d’Arco with Sarasota Opera (Maestro Victor De Renzi conducting) of which The Observer wrote: “Cristina Castaldi, as Giovanna, has a lovely bearing on stage…got our attention…in the final scene…she became radiant as an actress and singer.”
With her Donna Elvira in Connecticut Grand Opera's production of Don Giovanni. Opera News said: "Act II started with Elvira's big scena... the high point vocally and dramatically..." Dr. Castaldi has sung Mimì in La Bohème with the Natchez Opera Festival as well as with the National Lyric Touring Company and covered Henrietta M in A Mother of Us All with the New York City Opera.
Dr. Castaldi made her operatic debut as Musetta in La Bohème for the 100 year celebration of the work with Westchester Hudson Opera. She also sang Madame Lidoine in The Dialogues of the Carmelities at the New England Conservatory of Music with John Moriarty conducting.
Dr. Castaldi spent several years with Dicapo Opera in New York City where she sang Magda in La Rondine and Violetta in La Traviata. She repeated the role of Violetta with the National Lyric Touring Company with performances throughout New England. Other roles of note include Nadia in the New York premiere of Wargo's A Chekhov Trilogy (Steven Crawford conducting) and Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw.
Prior to moving to Wichita, Dr. Castaldi regularly performed solo recitals throughout New York. Her most recent solo recital New York City venues included Christ and St. Stephens Church, the Trinity Church Concerts at One series, and at the Kosciuszko Foundation. Recent orchestral engagements have included soprano soloist in operatic galas with Allentown, Norwalk and Springfield Symphonies. Other orchestral performances include Handel's Messiah and Vivaldi's Gloria with the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, Mozart's Requiem, Rutter's Gloria, and the Coronation Mass with Kennesaw State College in conjunction with the Cobb County Symphony in Georgia.
Further accomplishments include winner in the Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition, finalist for the NJ Verismo Vocal Competition and winner at the Opera at Florham Vocal Competition.
Before joining the WSU voice faculty, Dr. Castaldi was an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Rowan University in New Jersey for two years and Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers The State University of New Jersey for three years where she taught studio lessons as well as a voice class.
Dr. Castaldi also brings into her studio over twenty years of yoga practice experience; including twelve years of teaching yoga classes. She is also a certified Hanna Somatic Exercise Coach. Her knowledge of body mechanics and brain/body connection aids her students in gaining a very clear, individualized understanding of their own body, their chronic muscle tensions, effects of performance anxiety on their body, and the ability to learn how to sense and make changes that are lasting. Dr. Castaldi is passionate about this work and has witnessed with her students how empowered they feel both in and out of the studio.
Dr. Castaldi earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at The Mason Gross School of Music at Rutgers University. She holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance (with distinction) from The New England Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Kennesaw State University in Georgia.