Barbara Nagode was born in Ljubljana. She studied piano with prof. Andrej Jarc and solosinging with prof. Marcos Bajuk while attaining secondary education and continued her studies at the Department of Musicology at the Faculty of Arts as well as at the Singing Department of the Academy of Music, both faculties within the University of Ljubljana. She graduated in 1999 in the class of prof. Eve Novšak-Houška. She attended solosinging seminars both at home and abroad. Since 1999 she has taught solosinging at Ljubljana Vič – Rudnik Music School. As an artist she performed at solo concerts and with different ensembles. (Consortium musicum, Slovenian Vocal Soloists – Slovenski vokalni solisti).
Igor Švara, a conductor and pianist, was born in Ljubljana to a distinguished Slovenian conductor, composer and educational expert, dr. Danilo Švara. After having finished gymnasium and secondary music school, he continued his studies at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana: he studied conducting in the class of his father and piano with prof. Marijan Lipovšek. He graduated in 1971.
Between 1975 and 1976 he was enhancing his knowledge with Kurt Masur, a conductor in Leipzig, where he finished his master’s class.
In “SNG Opera in balet Ljubljana” (Slovenian National Theatre) he began his professional career as a ballet and opera accompanist in 1972. Later he became an assistant-conductor and in 1983 he became permanent conductor. Between 1993 and 1995 he was an arts manager and acting director of the “Opera in balet Ljubljana”.
Since his debut in 1973, conducting The Barber of Seville, his repertoire has risen to more than 80 operatic and ballet pieces and spread across more than 1000 performances and concerts. He cooperated with many renown soloists and conducted many Slovenian as well as other European orchestras. Between 1995 and 1998 he was a permanent guest conductor in Salzburg Opera. As a pianist and conductor he recorded many works of Slovenian and foreign composers for the purposes of musical archives.
He is a long-standing lecturer at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, serves as a jury member at Slovenian and foreign competitions and lectures at different seminars for choral directors and conductors.
From 1981 to 2012 he was an arts manager of Ljubljana octet, visiting with it all across Europe, Asia, USA, Canada and Australia.
His professionalism gained him a prestigious Prešeren Award for Students, Recognition of the University of Ljubljana for important works in artistry in the field of creativity and re-creation. He also attained the title “strokovni svetnik” (professional consultant), the plaque of honour of the Academy of Music and a special recognition for conducting the opera Veronica of Desenice at the Biannual Opera event in Ljubljana.
For having been an arts manager of Ljubljana octet for 30 years and a conductor at Singing Choir Campus at Šentvid pri Stični for 10 years, he obtained a Plaque of the city of Ljubljana, a golden plaque of ZKD Ljubljana, Gallus badge and Plaque, the Golden Order and more anniversary prizes of the Public Fund for cultural activities of the Republic of Slovenia.
Slovenian soprano Andreja Zidarič received her first musical training at the Maribor Conservatory for flute and solfeggio. Already in elementary school, she regularly performed as soloist in school performances, sang in the children’s choir and danced in a folks-dance Company. At the age of 13, she was admitted to the Slovenian Children’s Choir with whom she performed in the largest concert halls in Slovenia (among others Slovenian Philharmonic). At the age of 16, she was admitted to the Solo singing Department of the Maribor Conservatory (singing with Alenka Cesarek – Krnjak). In the three years, she was also a member of the English Student Theater, a youth musical group who performed Queen: We Will Rock You! And Feel the Beat. In addition to the appearances at the Gymnasium, she also performed nationally and internationally, Cankarjev Dom Ljubljana, Vatroslav Lisinski Zagreb, Teatro Bolzano, International Festival Lent and Slovenian National Theatre Maribor among others.
After that, she moved to Vienna where she studied musical theatre (singing with Michele Friedman) from 2008 to 2012 at the Conservatory of Vienna Private University. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she began studying Solo singing with Uta Schwabe. Patricia Nessy is one of her other singing teachers. As part of her studies Andreja Zidarič and others sang Luna in Paul Lincke’s Operetta Frau Luna, Penelope Pennywise in Mark Hollmann’s musical Urinetown and in 2014 Gretel and Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel. As a soloist, she sang the Matheus Passion in the Lutheran Church, A ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten, and the Concerto for the Operetta – a controversial salon concert as well as concert Das Ringen um die Operette in Viannese Musikverein. Outside the Conservatory, she was seen in the ensemble of Kalmans The Gipsy Princess, Joseph Beer’s Polish Wedding and Lehár’s The Land of Smile at the Vienna Operetta Summer, in Johann Strauss’ Viennese Blood at the Langenlois Castle Festival, and as a soloist in a series of concerts, among other at the 2014 New Years Concert with the Herzogenburg Symphony Orchestra. In the autumn of 2012, she was seen at the Ronacher Theater, in the Concert version of the Musical Phantom of the Opera (Eleven Choir) at the 25th anniversary of the VBW Orchestra (VBW-Vereinigte Bühnen Wien).
Andreja won in September 2013 the 7th International Heinrich Strecker, Crossover Singing Competition in Baden near Vienna, where she was awarded the first prize, the special audience prize, and the special prize of the Salzburg Festival. As a member of the Young Singers Project, she appeared as Blonde in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio for Children and as a First noble orphan in Strausss Rosenkavalier at the Salzburg Festival in 2014 and was soloist at YSP concerts (opening concert, final concert, and concert in Majorca). After that she debuted at the Baden Theatre as Countess Stasi in Kalmans The Gipsy Princess, sang at the Traditional Carnival Concert A backpack full of dreams with the evergreens of the 60s, and was seen in the Cult Musical Hairspray as Amber von Tussle. Since July 2015, she has been a soloist at the Schönbrunn Palace Orchestra as well as Soloist in the Art on Wheels programme. In November 2015, she was a finalist in Nico Dostal Singing Competition. Also was she the finalist at the Emmerich Smola Singing Competition – Young Opera stars of tomorrow in January 2016. In May 2016 she performed in Wiener Musikverein as soloist in H.K. Gruber’s vocal composition Frankenstein!!. From July 2016 till July 2017, she was seen in Raimund Theater in Vienna in the world premiere of the musical Schikaneder, where she was part of the Ensemble and Cover for the Role of Maria Anna. She debuted as Gretel in Opera Hänsel und Gretel and as Taumännchen in the same opera at the Staatsoperette Dresden in December 2017. In June 2018 she will give her debut as Lubanara in the Singspiel Stein der Weisen oder die Zauberinsel at Landestheater Innsbruck.