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Subject: Beloved Soprano Licia Albanese Remembered at Special Mass
From: Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Sep 2017 11:16:15 -0400

text/plain (61 lines)

Beloved Soprano Licia Albanese Remembered at Special Mass 

A review by Nino Pantano

On Monday, August 14th, a special Requiem Mass was held for Metropolitan Opera soprano 
Licia Albanese who passed away at the age of 105 on this date three years ago. She was 
born in Bari, Italy on July 22nd 1909 and later became a solid patriotic U.S. citizen. On 
August 14th, the third anniversary of her passing, a special requiem mass and luncheon 
hosted by devoted friends and admirers Cesare Santeramo and Dr. Robert J. Campbell was 
held. Mme. Albanese was remembered and lauded for her great artistry and the warmth of 
her friendship. 

The Rev. John Kamas spoke eloquently of Licia Albanese at the Mass which was held at St. 
Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church on East 76th Street and Lexington Avenue in New 
York City. Kosovo tenor Riad Ymeri sang "Panis Angelicus" in a sweet, clear and moving way. 
Baritone Mark Watson sang a thrilling "I'll Walk with God" (Brodsky) from the film The 
Student Prince made famous by tenor Mario Lanza. (Lanza appeared with Licia Albanese in 
the film Serenade.) The organist led the singers and all to give inspired performances. The 
priests were all moved by this special tribute to a great singer and devout parishioner. There 
are many citizens from Bari in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn affiliated with Sacred Hearts-St. 
Stephens Church and the Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi Cultural Sport and Social Club. 
Niccolò Van Westerhout was a 19th century composer born in Bari but whose family was 
Flemish. Licia Albanese was well known and loved by "Barese" everywhere.

The delicious luncheon at nearby Orsay restaurant included patrons and friends of Licia 
Albanese: Holocaust author and pacifist Luna Kaufmann, Sachi Liebergesell, President of the 
Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Father(Pastor) John Kamas from St. Jean Baptiste 
Church, tenor Cavaliere Cesare Santeramo, Dr. Robert J. Campbell, Joy Ferro vocal teacher, 
former Metropolitan Opera great and lead dramatic soprano Elinor Ross, legendary Met 
Opera mezzo Rosalind Elias and opera coach Corradina and Maurice Caporello. It was an 
afternoon of brilliant conversation and warm remembrance. We all had incomparable 
memories of Licia Albanese both as an artist (lead soprano at the Metropolitan Opera from 
1940-1966) and a devoted and loving friend. I recalled my appearance with her on 
television in a tribute to tenor Mario Lanza on the Joe Franklin TV show and her frequent 
visits to the Enrico Caruso Museum in Brooklyn where Commendatore Aldo Mancusi named 
his mini theatre after her and publisher Michael Sisca. Judy and I remember her playing a 
vigorous game of bocce at her beloved patron and friend Louise Peluso's home and gardens 
in Bayville, Long Island.

We thank our much honored hosts Cavaliere Cesare Santeramo and Dr. Robert J. Campbell 
for their making this event so special. Cavaliere Santeramo who sang Alfredo to Licia 
Albanese's  Violetta in La Traviata for the New Jersey Opera, suggested a future Verdi 
requiem as a "fund raiser" for Father Kamas's beautiful St. Jean Baptiste Church where Licia 
Albanese worshiped and had her funeral mass.

The following day was the great feast of Ferragosto. Licia Albanese passed away on the cusp 
of the Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven. I am certain Licia had an EZ pass and is now 
with the celestial voices.

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