Staff

Artistic Director

Basil Considine is the founder and Artistic Director of Really Spicy Opera. Prior to starting Really Spicy Opera, he was the manager of the University of San Diego’s Shiley Theater and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theater.

Basil lives in Minneapolis’s Bryn Mawr neighborhood.

Co-Director, Aria Institute

Soprano Tess Altiveros was praised for her “particularly soulful” (L.A. Times) interpretations and a “captivating combination of skilled singing and magnetic acting” (Pioneer Press). She is equally at home in a wide range of repertoire, performing roles from the 17th century to the 21st, and is a faculty member at Seattle University.

Her recent portrayal of Female Soldier in Seattle Opera’s The Falling and the Rising was described as “a triumph” (Classical Voice North America) and “enthralling” (Seattle Times), while Opera Magazine described her voice in Pacific MusicWorks’s Leading Ladies as “…darker, creamy, sensuous, but she can fill it with so much drama that the stereotyped tropes of a Baroque lament offers a fully rounded portrait of a woman’s pain…sprezzatura personified.”

Co-Director, Aria Institute

Vienna-based soprano Anne Wieben has been hailed by critics as a “true diva” (Kronezeitung Voralberg) with a “hint of femme fatal in her velvety soprano” (Süddeutschezeitung). She is the founder and creative director of Opera on the Lake, a summer opera festival in her home state of Minnesota.

Wieben performs regularly with Vienna’s premier interactive theater ensemble, Nesterval. In October of 2020, Nesterval’s innovative and immersive online play Der Kreisky Test won the coveted Nestroy Prize (Austrian Theater Prize) for its contribution to the performing arts during the pandemic. Their sold-out show Das Dorf was also nominated for the Austrian Theater Prize in 2019 (Nestroy Prize) and named by the Austrian Press as one of the top 5 theater experiences of 2019.

Director of Development and Special Projects

Deborah Ervin is an arts administrator located in Minneapolis. She holds an M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management from Saint Mary’s University, and a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Minnesota.

Ervin has worked on theater, opera, dance, burlesque, and live music events with Skylark Opera, zAmya, Open Eye Figure Theatre, The Nation Magazine (Brooklyn), The Windmill Factory (Brooklyn), Workhaus Collective, the History Theatre, Kim Bartmann, Vanessa Voskuil, Patrick Scully, Paul Herwig, Angels & Demons Entertainment, Sunset Gun Productions, FTF Works, Alan Berks & Company, Theatre Novi Most, Bedlam Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Southern Theater, Dykes Do Drag, and Lilli’s Burlesque. Deb is also a member of the all-female stilting group Chicks On Sticks.

Director of Planning: Nordic Tours

Deborah Justice is a musician, educator, festival organizer, and concert manager. She holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University, an MA in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, and dual bachelor’s degrees in Music and Middle Eastern Studies from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Justice was the President of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Music, Religion, and Sound Section from 2015-2016.

Director of Educational Outreach

Dr. Jennifer Zabelsky is a soprano and educator. She has performed opera, musical theatre, and oratorio roles across the United States and throughout Europe. Her credits include performances with Longwood Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Really Spicy Opera. She is a recurring soloist with the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the Reno Philharmonic. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Boston University.

Lead Teaching Artist

Elissa Edwards is a soprano and clinician on historically informed performance and gesture. A specialist in 17th- and 18th-century song, she is the co-director of the Élan Ensemble and the Jane Austen Songbook project. She holds an MA in Vocal Performance from the University of York and a BA in Vocal Performance from Boston University.

Cultivating drama that burns and music that sates.