Who Are the Harpies?

In 2013, Alix attended St. Petersburg Opera’s excellent performance of Gianni Schicchi. Her voice had just come out of hiding, and Alix was curious to see if Opera was something she could do. The Zita was incredible. The actor immediately demonstrated that Opera was a place of great acting when it’s done right. And of course, that Zita was Melissa Misener.


The next season, Alix and Melissa were cast for an Opera Tampa Gala gig, and a promotional performance at Donatello’s. Alix had recently wrapped a disastrous production of Pagliacci, and was desperate to repair the artistic damage she was party to. Melissa had regretfully attended that performance in an attempt to familiarize herself with the show. Over dinner, Melissa told the group she had just gotten the gig to Stage Direct Pagliacci at St. Petersburg Opera and needed help. Alix leapt at the chance, and they began meeting weekly.


The laughter got louder, the bond got stronger, and before they knew it, Melissa and Alix became the Cackling Harpies.


As a team, Cackling Harpies have mounted Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, Verdi’s La Traviata, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, and of course, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. 


Cackling Harpies has created two annual shows for The Straz Center and Opera Tampa; The Witching Hour which is entering its 6th year, and Spanish Nights, on its 3rd year.


They also created two original Christmas shows, A December to Remember, and Home For The Holidays.


In January 2021, Melissa and Alix were tasked with creating Covid-compliant versions of full operas. They wrote, directed and played the titular characters in Gilbert Vs. Sullivan. Alix also executed the wig and make-up for both Gilbert and Sullivan.


In April 2021, they wrote and directed Butterfly’s Flight, which went on to be nominated for two Best Of The Bay Awards; Best Playwright (Alix Faulhaber), and Best Theatrical Production (Butterfly’s Flight).

Past Shows

Upcoming Events

Behind the Scenes!

...Engaging, Talented and Hilarious!

Cackling Harpies is a fun and unique duo that takes opera to the next level! Their productions always ensure that every charter has a unique story and life that comes across on stage.
As directors, they are always a joy to work with and create an environment that is truly collaborative. As performers, they are engaging, talented and hilarious!

-John Kaneklides
Performer, La Traviata

100% Fun


“Have you ever wished for a production team that brought 100% fun and 100% historical and artistic relevance? Look no further! Every Cackling Harpies production I’ve been a part of has been the perfect combination of the two. Never a dull moment and never an unfounded direction, these two really are a dream team and I look forward to getting to work together again soon!”

Christopher Ryan
Performer, Witching Hour 2021

...You'll Laugh, Cheer and Cry

“I have never enjoyed a rehearsal process more or felt more safe to explore my character than when working with the Cackling Harpies. They invite you to create with them and become invested in the show like none other. As an audience member, you’ll laugh and cheer and cry; if you’re a cast member, you’ll do the same.”

– Sean Christopher Stork
Performer, Witching Hour 2021, Spanish Nights

Get in on the Action

Looking for a fun new production for your theatre group? Cackling Harpies are now licensing their smash-hit shows:
Gilbert Vs. Sullivan, and Butterfly’s Flight

Artist Bios

Alix Faulhaber is a chocolate-voiced Mezzo-Soprano from St. Petersburg, Florida. She started building her Acting skills as a haunt actor and Rennie, a PCCA kid, then Acting in the IB program at St. Clare’s International College in Oxford, England. After earning her BA in Theatre Performance, Alix promptly started the not-for-profit Stray Dogs Theatre Company, Inc. and served as Artistic Director. It took a circuitous route through SPC’S MIRA program for Alix and Opera to have a first date. But as soon as they did, Alix was smitten.


An Octuple threat and often described as a “living cartoon character”, Alix’s performances are characterized by dynamism, commitment, and a commanding stage presence. Alix’s passion for pedagogy is evident in her Acting workshops, where she leads the cast to greater depths of expression.


In the past decade, Alix has learned the skills of Opera on the job; Soloist with Gloria Musicae, Stage Combat as Manuelita, Stage Director and WAM artist for Pinocchio for SPO, Opera Tampa Ensemble Member, Principal cast workshop leader, nominated for a Best of the Bay Award for Best Playwright for “Butterfly’s Flight”  and performed roles like Granny/The Giant/Crying Baby, Ethel Toffelmeier, Julia in Gladiola, and Jack’s Mother.


Alix’s mainstage debut with Opera Tampa was as Drei Knabe in The Magic Flute. She has also wrote and directed three The Witching Hour shows, as well as played Ursula.
Melissa Misener is a Mezzo-Soprano powerhouse from Tampa, Florida. She began building her Vocal skills by singing in a professional choir at the tender age of 11. Decades of musical study later, Melissa attended the University of South Florida and UCF for Vocal Performance. She also attended the VOICE experience and continued pursuing her love for vocal choral music. Soon, Melissa found herself at the helm as a Stage Director for vocal studio performances at USF. That’s when she fell in love with Directing.


A naturally charismatic performer and deep empath, Melissa’s performances are mesmerizing, exciting, and memorable. Melissa’s passion for pedagogy is evident in the progress of her students, and the joy she brings to the work.


In the past decade, Melissa has taken the opera world by storm; Resident Artist at St. Petersburg Opera, Stage Director of two world premiere operas, Stage Director for Straz Live!, and creator of The Witching Hour, Opera Tampa Singers Ensemble Member, Pioneered original roles in three new works, and played roles like Prince Orlofsky, Mrs. Lovett, Marcellina, Mrs. McLean in Suzanna, Dorabella, and so many more.


Melissa made her mainstage Opera Tampa debut in 2022, playing Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Mama Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana.


Melissa currently works as Artistic Administrator for Opera Tampa. Melissa also owns and operates the Melissa Misener Voice Studio.