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Subject: The Giulio Gari Foundation Presents 2017 International Vocal Competition Award Winners
From: Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 4 Oct 2017 13:56:36 -0400
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The Giulio Gari Foundation Presents 2017 International Vocal Competition Award Winners
A review by Nino Pantano

On the afternoon of Sunday, September 24th, The Giulio Gari Foundation presented in 
concert the 2017 winners of the International Vocal Competition at the elegant New York 
Athletic Club on Central Park South. 

After greetings from Stephen De Maio, Artistic Advisor and Chairman of the Board Gloria 
Gari, the program began. Our host of the evening was the brilliant much missed Brian 
Kellow who was greeted with cheers by his many admirers. Many "stars" of the operatic 
heavens were present. Former Metropolitan Opera legends dramatic soprano Elinor Ross and 
mezzo soprano Rosalind Elias, New York City Opera and NBC Opera star Elaine Malbin are 
always there to show support for the new generation on the ascendancy. I also chatted with 
charming guest Maria Natale whose radiant soprano and stunning appearance won plaudits 
in Portland, Maine as Violetta in La Traviata.

The concert began with "Nemico della patria" from Giordano's Andrea Chénier sung by 
baritone Jaeman Yoon. Yoon did not just croon a tune but gave a robust erupting volcano 
concept of this dynamic showpiece. A little more shading and contrast would have given it 
the Italianate flavor it lacked.The voice itself is healthy and the strong  potential is there. A 
touch of salt, pepper and oregano will make it the savory mix it soon will be. Patrons Mr. 
and Mrs. Frank De Rosa presented the award.

A lighter Bizet was served with the duet "Au fond du temple saint" from The Pearl Fishers. 
Marco Cammarota, tenor and Kidon Choi, baritone were a strong blend in this pledge of 
friendship duet. Mr. Cammarota belted the top notes in a heroic manner and Mr. Choi sang 
strongly and this iconic duet went from the lyrical commonplace into the rare with the 
exciting tenorial trumpet and a visceral victory for true bonhomie. The award was presented 
by Dr. Barry Schenk and the fashionable Joyce Greenberg.

Soprano Nicolette Mavroleon sang "Depuis le jour" from Charpentier's Louise. This aria is a 
glittering showpiece and from the legendary sopranos Mary Garden, Grace Moore and 
countless others and is a test of vocal endurance. Ms. Mavroleon sang some stunning 
stratospheric highs and gave a virtually flawless performance of this captivating aria. The 
composer Charpentier wrote a sequel to Louise called Julienne. Immortal tenor Enrico 
Caruso courted his American wife Dorothy in his Julienne costume. (1918) We look forward 
to hearing Ms. Mavroleon soon. She is of Greek descent like Maria Callas and generates a 
special magic! Her award was given by the Max Kade Foundation, Dr. Lya Friedrich Pfeifer, 
President. 

"Non più mesta" from Rossini's Cenerentola was sung by rising mezzo soprano Corrie 
Stallings. Ms. Stallings possesses a bright silvery voice with expressive and expansive 
plenitude of sound, dexterity and flexibility so necessary in producing coloratura flow and 
ease and gave an exciting and generous performance. Only a few feet from the stage was 
honored guest, famed iconic mezzo Joyce DiDonato who smiled at Ms. Stallings and whose 
eyes sparkled with loving encouragement and support. To me, this was a defining moment  
and a wonderful one! The award was presented by the Florence Belsky Charitable Fund, Dan 
Schneider Esq.

Back to Bizet with "Je crois entendre encore" from The Pearl Fishers sung by tenor Fanyong 
Du. A very early Caruso recording of this haunting aria (Circa 1904) was heard on the sound 
track of Woody Allen's film Matchpoint. It has been a favorite of lyric tenors and Beniamino 
Gigli's magical recording also stands out. Fanyong Du has all he ingredients to do this exotic 
and delicate aria justice. His tapering of the aria, his lingering on a finely spun phrase 
earned him the applause of the gods above and the audience below. The award was given 
by The Lissner Charitable Fund by the ever impeccable Karl Michaelis.  

The concert ended with Maria Brea singing "Chi il bel Sogno" from the  bittersweet operetta 
La Rondine by Giacomo Puccini. Ms. Brea possesses a strong caressing coloratura soprano 
that soars heavenward like a flock of white doves. Her nicely placed top voice sings with 
sparkling ease, fresh and youthful making us all feel the inner yearning for true love. Ms. 
Brea's award was presented by the Max Kade Foundation, Dr. Lya Friedrich Pfeifer, 
President. 

The guests of honor included special awards for mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato, soprano 
Angela Meade who had another engagement and was not there and rapidly rising dramatic 
tenor Issachah Savage. The indefatigable Brian Kellow introduced the special guests all of 
whom spoke with gratitude for such organizations and how many young singers got their 
start because of such help and support. Mr. Savage was accompanied by his petite and 
enchanting wife Shana. It was nice to see him singing along softly from the audience 
savoring every word.

The superb pianists were Arlene Shrut, whose peerless and fearless playing gives the feel of 
a full orchestra and Jonathan Kelly, who also becomes as one with the singers. (Courtesy of 
the Metropolitan Opera)

Famed and in demand opera lecturer Lou Barrella did a wonderful presentation in praise of 
tenor Giulio Gari including Gari's glorious singing of "Amor ti Vieta" from Fedora and his 
singing of "The Lord's Prayer." There was also a video of praise by soprano Lucia Evangelista 
and other luminaries of tenor Giulio Gari (1909-1994) who sang at New York City Opera 
(1945-53) and the Metropolitan Opera (1953-61) and was also a much respected vocal 
teacher. His wife, the much loved Gloria Gari carries his torch proudly with the organization 
that bears his honored name along with their daughter Gayle Gari Cohen and her husband 
Paul E. Cohen and the Board of Directors.Their son, the late deeply loved Glen Gary is 
always present in gallant spirit.

The reception and dinner afterwards afforded us the opportunity to "meet and greet" so 
many friends and fellow music lovers. From Opera Index, MetOpera mezzo Jane Shaulis and 
Joe Gasperec, Murray Rosenthal, Philip Hagemann, and Janet Stovin; opera coach and 
writer Scott Barnes, Sachi Liebergesell from the Liebergesell Foundation, opera manager 
Ken Benson, conductor Jan Wnek and tenor Keith Johnson. At our table were Michael 
Fornabaio from The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Maestro Eve Queler from the Opera 
Orchestra of New York, Robert Lombardo esteemed vocal coach, and banker financiers 
Joseph Sedillo and John Lawrence. We saw the ever vibrant civic leader and patron Betty 
Cooper Wallerstein, effervescent basso Gary Kendall, Bill Ronayne from The Mario Lanza 
Society located in Brooklyn and  poet, Cav. Edward Jackson, Ph.D was his ebullient self. 
Stephen De Maio stopped by to greet our table and said that he was very surprised about 
three sections of praise he received in the wonderful program booklet. Mr. De Maio deserves 
every bit of praise for his extraordinary efforts on behalf of young singers as President of 
the Gerda Lissner Foundation and his work on so many others. It was nice to see Steve's 
charming sister Marie De Maio, an iconic New Jersey educator for over 50 years, energetic 
secretary and facto tum Cornelia Beigel of the Gerda Lissner Foundation, joyful soprano 
Barbara Ann Testa and magnetic legendary soprano Diana Soviero, whose sublime Suor 
Angelica at the Met Opera still surges in my minds eye and heart. At the end of the 
presentation, Board member Donald Levine gave an impassioned plea for all to work 
together to strengthen opportunities for young singers in the opera world.

This was truly "an affair to remember." Thank you Gloria Gari for your indestructible spirit! 
Judy and I are always proud to be your representatives from Brooklyn. The love you give, 
comes back many fold. Bravo to The Giulio Gari Foundation.

**********************************************
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