Opera at Florham’s 29th Annual Vocal Competition and Musicale continues to honor Violetta DuPont, its co-founder and original Competition benefactor, and features singers between the ages of 21 and 35 who are pursuing a career in opera. The competition will be held at the Florham Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the Mansion’s Lenfell Hall (Hennessy Hall).
The preliminary audition of 60 candidates, chosen from 100 applicants, will be held on April 12, 13 and 14th in New York City at the Kosciuszko Foundation Concert Hall to choose 10 finalists for the April 23rd event. The Competition is in cooperation of the Gerda Lissner Foundation, organized and directed by OAF’s Board of Trustees member, Stephen DeMaio, President of Gerda Lissner Foundation. Last year’s Competition featured a record number of 18 finalists and five winners due to the high quality of the candidates.
The accompanist for the preliminary judging and for the final Vocal Competition will be Mary Pinto, who is also the Vice President at OAF. The judges for the preliminary auditions and the final competition on April 23rd will include Stephen DeMaio, Maestra Eve Quelar, Robert Lombardo, and Barbara Ann Testa.
Stephen DeMaio is President of the Gerda Lissner Foundation. This organization was cited by Opera News as one of the most prestigious foundations fostering the careers of young artists with very generous financial awards. He also serves as Administrative and Artistic Director of the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, Artistic Adviser of The Giulio Gari Foundation, Loren L. Zachary Society for The Performing Arts, Opera at Florham NJ, and Assistant to Director of Musicians Emergency Fund. He is on the Advisory Boards of the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Opera Index, and American Center for Musical Arts.
Maestra Eve Queler is the Conductor and Artistic Director of Opera Orchestra of New York.
Robert Lombardo, Artists’ Manager and Consultant to opera and recording companies, has managed for the past forty-five years many of the leading opera artists of our time including Renata Scotto, Ileana Cotrubas, Krassimira Stoyanova, Cornell Mac Neil, Elena Obraztsova, Fiorenza Cossotto, Giuseppe Taddei, Matteo Mannuguerra, Alfredo Kraus, Ruggero Raimondi and conductors Eve Queler, Nello Santi and Giuseppe Patane.
Barbara Ann Testa is a famous soprano who had a wonderful career in Italy; she studied with the great tenor Giovanni Martinelli and Licia Albanese. She is also an accomplished pianist, and a trustee of The Gerda Lissner Foundation and The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation.
Prizes will be awarded to the three winners: first prize of $5,000 donated by Gerda Lissner Foundation; second prize of $3,000 donated by Betty McColgan, and third prize of $1,500 donated by Carl Michael and the DuPont Family. Encouragement awards will be will be given to the other finalists donated by members of the OAF Board of Trustees and additional donors.
The Opera at Florham’s Vocal Competition was established in 1987 by its co-founder and benefactor Violetta Pollara DuPont who passed away in 2012 at the age of 100. OAF continues her legacy in honor of her vision and her tireless work on behalf of OAF. In sponsoring the Competition, OAF acts in concert with its mission: to provide young artists on the threshold of promising operatic careers with the opportunities to gain role and stage experiences and to advance those careers through a variety of programs. Previous winners have had their operatic careers launched onto the national and international stages. Last year’s winners were Andre Courville, bass-baritone; Marie Natale, soprano; and Chloe Moore, soprano. Many previous finalists and winners are now on the rosters of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and other major companies here and abroad.
The tickets are $25 for the competition at 2 p.m., and $75 for the combo ticket which includes admission to the competition as well as lunch with the judges in Hartman Lounge (12:30pm). Fancy desserts will be served at intermission. Tickets can be ordered by calling 973-443-8620 or online. Checks can be mailed to Opera at Florham, P.O. Box 343, Convent Station, NJ 07961.
2017 marks the 35th Anniversary for Opera at Florham, in residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and will celebrate this event with a Gala Concert and Reception on Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 2 pm.
The Florham Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University is located at 285 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ 07940. For more information, visit www.operaatflorham.org.