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Subject: Opera Index Presents Annual Membership Buffet & Recital
From: Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Judy Pantano <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 12 Nov 2017 19:32:27 -0500

text/plain (82 lines)

Opera Index Presents Annual Membership Buffet & Recital

A review by Nino Pantano

On the evening of Wednesday, November 8th, Opera Index presented their Annual 
Membership Buffet & Recital at The Community Church of New York in Murray Hill, New 
York. This annual dinner concert is a way of enjoying some of the award winning young 
singers in an informal setting. The food is volunteered by the members and it is easily one 
of the great parties to be a part of.

Host Jane Shaulis, who is President of Opera Index and a Metropolitan Opera mezzo, 
welcomed us all and proudly mentioned the $55,000 that was raised for scholarships in the 
last year. She called them "talented young artists and stars of tomorrow with blossoming 
careers." Future Opera Index events include their annual gala on January 21st honoring the 
great Met Opera mezzo Mignon Dunn, their Spring Lunch honoring patron Karl Michaelis and 
Maestro Eve Queler's 50th anniversary of her legendary career with The Opera Orchestra of 
New York.

The recital began with the appearance of the gifted accompanist Michael Fennelly and the 
petite and charming soprano Hayan Kim. It united in her singing of "Je veaux vivre" from 
Gounod's Roméo and Juliette. Her soprano is full and she sang of love in a light, lively and 
spirited manner with some adolescent awakening and carried us all with her newfound joy. 
Ms. Kim was a delightful Juliette of bright vocal potential and a visceral Veronese 

Bass-baritone Leo Radosavljevic sang "Riez, Allez" from Don Quichotte by Massenet. He is a 
fine singing actor as well. His voice was better shown in his encore of "Song of the Black 
Mass" which allowed him to twist his instrument into a beguiling bellow in the quest for the 
perfect evil! A good show!

Andres Benavides Cascante's vibrant singing of "Hai già vinta la causa" from Le nozze di 
Figaro by Mozart made one snap to attention. His is a dark baritone and his internal actions 
attached to his vocal giving made for a super magnetic interpretation. His "encore" offering 
was the  Zarzuela selection "Mi Aldea los gavilardes" which was thrilling, topped by a B flat 
that I haven't heard since the late immortal baritone Leonard Warren. Mr. Cascante brought 
back the thrill!

Soprano Emily Pogorelc, sang "O quante volte" from I Capuleti e I Montecchi by Bellini. Her 
bright soprano was sincere, heartfelt, with lovely tapering, following the Bellini line, with 
some lovely highs, solid coloratura and a heaven bound quality. Her encore was "Kiss Me 
Again" by Victor Herbert and her voice, rich with longing, beautifully transformed us to 
Hollywood of the romantic 1930's.  

Baritone Jaeman Yoon sang "Nemico della patria" from Giordano's Andrea Chénier with 
relentless power, precision and perseverance. His constant projection made the finale less 
than it could have been. A tad more softness earlier would have infused this overwhelming 
outpouring into something more. None the less, the ingredients are there and a little 
polishing will no doubt bring full shine to it.

Michael Fennelly was superb in his accompaniment - light for the Juliette and passionate in 
the Zarzuela and elegant and transforming in every note he played. Bravo to all!

The reception and dinner was just as wonderful. It was so nice to "meet and greet" friends 
and fellow opera lovers. Executive Director Joseph Gasperec at the door inviting guests to 
join in and they did! Met Opera great soprano Elinor Ross, opera manager Ken Benson and 
friend computer wizard George Voorhis, Lois Kirschenbaum, celebrating her special birthday 
this month, composer/conductor Steve Phebus and Linda Howes, Vice President Janet 
Stovin and family, Award donors Cesare Santeramo and Dr. Robert Campbell, several 
underwriters were Robert Steiner, Jessie Walker, Meche Kroop, Doris Keeley and John David 
Metcalfe; new member and opera artists manager Robert Lombardo, Faith Pleasanton, 
psychotherapist Ursula Brown, Jane LeMaster, Cavaliere and poet Edward Jackson and 
Brooklyn friends Bob Ohlerking, Christopher LiGreci and Bill Ronayne from the Mario Lanza 
Society and Dianna De Martino, whose pasta with pumpkin sauce was heavenly. 

We missed Murray Rosenthal who had another engagement but it was nice to see 
composers Philip Hagemann and Penny Leka Knapp who co-wrote the whimsical and popular 
choral work "Fruitcake."

What a great night! To quote Cole Porter, "What an elegant, swellegant, party it was!"

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