Assistant Professor of Voice
Teaches: Applied Voice; Opera Styles; Voice Literature; Essential Somatics® for Singers
Lirico-spinto soprano, Cristina Castaldi, has been described as “a rare talent with a warm, agile, exciting voice… she moves like a dancer, looks like a model and is at home on stage as off…. her vocal technique is unfaltering and her pianissimo high floats are without comparison.” Dr. Castaldi specializes in bel canto, early Verdi, and verismo repertoire.
Dr. Castaldi is a fully certified Essential Somatics® Movement Teacher (a practice based on the teachings of Thomas Hanna and Moshé Feldenkrais). She also has over twenty years of yoga practice experience; including twelve years of teaching yoga classes.
Dr. Castaldi created the course “Essential Somatics® for Singers” and it is the first Essential Somatics® college course in the nation. She is a sought-after movement teacher in Essential Somatics® and gives master classes and individual sessions for singers. She is often a featured workshop presenter for KMEA, NATS and NOA; and regularly gives masterclasses at area schools and colleges.
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, 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. Her work as a holistic voice teacher and continued somatic research proves the importance of applying somatic education in vocal pedagogy.
Her recent vocal performances include soprano soloist in Carmina Burana in Prague, Czech Republic, soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for Wichita Symphony Orchestra and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra; as well as the soprano soloist for Wichita Symphony Orchestra in Haydn’s The Creation. Dr. Castaldi performs newly-programmed recitals each year.
Dr. Castaldi's operatic roles include 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 DeRenzi 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.” As 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 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 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 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. She also sang 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 joining the Wichita State University Voice Faculty, Dr. Castaldi regularly performed solo recitals throughout New York. Her solo recital in New York City venues included Christ and St. Stephens Church, the Trinity Church Concerts at One series and the Kosciuszko Foundation.
Other past orchestral engagements have included soprano soloist in operatic galas with Allentown, Norwalk and Springfield Symphonies; and in oratorios 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.
Past 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.
Prior faculty positions were Adjunct Professor of Voice at Rowan University in New Jersey and Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers The State University of New Jersey.
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.