MEET OUR 2019 ARTISTS
Isaiah Bridges-Green hails from Brooklyn, NY. He attended the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, and is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree at Montclair State University. He has ensemble experience performing along side David Guetta, Yoko Ono, Shakira, and many others under UNICEF and United Nation's #theworldneedsmore campaign and Imagine project. He is the tenor section leader of the Montclair State University Singers and has been featured as a soloist in excerpts from Handel's Messiah. He will be featured in the school's upcoming Kaleidoscope event as a solo entity. He has taken part in operas such as Rossini's La Cenerentola and Handel's Tamerlano. Isaiah has recently had a successful junior recital and is looking forward to his senior recital.
Susanna (Friday evening)
Michele Currenti (Mountain Lakes, NJ), soprano, is an uprising second-year student in the Maryland Opera Studio studying with Delores Ziegler. She is thrilled to be making her NJVAC debut as Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro). She graduated from the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester earning both a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and a Bachelor of Science in brain and cognitive science. Currenti’s recent roles include covering Rose (Street Scene, Kurt Weill) and covering Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart) at the Maryland Opera Studio. Additionally, Currenti has been seen as La Fée (Cendrillon, Massenet) at Eastman Opera Theatre, Isabel (The Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert & Sullivan), and Flora (Turn of the Screw, Britten) at Opera on the Avalon. Additionally, Currenti was the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah in the Eastman Cantata Series. Currenti also premiered the one-person show “Here I Lie”, which she co-wrote for the Rochester Fringe Festival.
Marcellina (Saturday evening) & Susanna (cover)
Soprano Aleksandra Durin’s performances have taken her from New York City and Vancouver to Salzburg and St. Petersburg in works ranging from Purcell to contemporary American opera. Her recent credits include Mother in a short opera The Women by Pasatieri, Elsie in a cantata by Battison Haynes, A Sea Dream, Bobilicha in The Snow Maiden, as well scene work as Périchole in La Périchole and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. She will also be appearing as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte at Opera America this August. Ms. Durin holds a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and is currently studying with Lori McCann.
Countess (Friday evening)
Soprano Julianne Fröhlich is thrilled to perform Countess Almaviva again. She recently performed as Giovanna and the Page (Rigoletto) with Lighthouse Opera Company. Other roles included Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Alice (Le Comte Ory), Cendrillon (Viardot’s Cendrillon), Cenerentola (Wolf-Ferrai’s Cenerentola), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Suor Infermiera (Suor Angelica) and Birdie Hubbard (Regina). She placed 2nd Place in the Annual Tchaikovsky Music Competition Vocal Division of New Russia Cultural Center in Albany, NY. She was a Semifinalist for the 2017 Mary Trueman Art Song Competition (ASPS) and 2017 Classical Singer Voice Competition. She is a graduate of Montclair State University with a BM in Vocal Performance.
Cherubino (Friday evening)
Kirsten Gorsak is a mezzo-soprano from Toms River, NJ. She is studying for her BA in Music Education at Montclair State University where she has studied voice with Dr. Peter Gillis. She has also had the pleasure of coaching & working with Steven W. Ryan, Michael Caldwell, LeAnn Overton, and Mary Pinto. She is also thankful for her past experiences in MSU Opera Workshop scenes under the direction of Jeffrey Gall (Three Sisters who are not Sisters; Ned Rorem) and Ophelie Wolf (Die Zauberflöte & Il re Pastore; W.A. Mozart).
Guest Artist: Count Almaviva
Richard Hobson, baritone, is acclaimed for "the strong dramatic persona" he brings to his performances. He is an Affiliate Artist at Southern University where he teaches voice and is The Director of Opera. He has sung professionally for over twenty years in Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada an in South America. The New York Sun wrote of his Rigoletto "... the staff was extremely lucky to draw baritone Richard Hobson as the jester. Here was a voice of deep power and burnished color. In addition to some of the best shading I have heard in some time, Mr. Hobson is an excellent actor who sent chills at the appropriate moments. His scene with the courtiers was really quite memorable. The character might have been stooped by his his infirmities, but his voice towered over his peers".
Mr. Hobson has sung on the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for ten consecutive seasons in operas including Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Rigoletto, Boris Goudanov, Les Troyens, Andrea Chenier, Le Rossignol, War And Piece, Macbeth, Samson Et Dalila, Doktor Faust, Don Carlo, The Nose, and Die Frau Ohne Schatten. At New York City Opera, Mr. Hobson was heard in the title role of Porgy in Porgy And Bess, as Zuniga in Carmen, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Schaunard in La Boheme. In 2001 Mr. Hobson made his Italian debut as Amonosro in a new production of Aida which celebrated the centennial of Giuseppe Verdi's death. The production was directed by Franco Zeffirelli at Teatro Streheler (Piccolo Scala) in Milano, Italy. In addition to opera, Mr. Hobson made his Broadway in Hal Princes' Showboat singing the role of Joe. He also sang in St. Louis Woman and Treemonisha.
Marcellina (Friday evening)
Susan LaFever, Principal Horn, Doansburg Chamber Orchestra and Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance; Third Horn, Bridgeport Symphony; and former Hornist, Zinkali Trio; was reviewed by the New York Times, where her playing was called “bold and striking” with “a confident lyric quality”. Ms. LaFever is a frequent recitalist and soloist and has toured the U.S. and Asia. She has given master classes at the University of Iowa, Western Illinois University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara and has presented clinics and performances at several Northeast Horn Workshops, the International Women’s Brass Conference and the International Horn Symposium. Recently she collaborated with composer Jeffrey Kaufman and pianist Joshua Pierce to record Sonatina for French Horn and Piano available from Phoenix USA records. Playing with Zinkali Trio, she performed at the National Flute Association Convention in San Diego, CA and on recital series on both coasts.
Music Director of Rutherford Congregational Church, Susan is also the director of The Ridgewood Singers. Ms. LaFever is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and Manhattan School of Music.