MEET OUR 2019 ARTISTS

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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.
Basilio/Don Curzio

Isaiah Bridges-Green

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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.
Susanna (Friday evening)

Michele Currenti

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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.
Marcellina (Saturday evening) & Susanna (cover)

Aleksandra Durin

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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.
Countess (Friday evening)

Julianne Fröhlich

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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). 
Cherubino (Friday evening)

Kirsten Gorsak

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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.
Guest Artist: Count Almaviva

Richard Hobson

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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.

Marcellina (Friday evening)

Susan LaFever

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Jessica Matthews is a Philadelphia based Soprano and is a graduate of Westminster Choir College earning her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. While attending W.C.C, she participated in the Spoleto Festival U.S.A in Charleston, SC. In this Festival, Jessica performed the first fully staged production of John Adams’ El Niño (ensemble) as well as Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová. Jessica will make her Opera Philadelphia debut in Handel’s Semele (ensemble) as well as Verdi’s Requiem. Jessica is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in opera performance and is very excited to be making her NJ Vocal Arts debut as the Countess.
Countess (Saturday evening)

Jessica Matthews

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Originally from Bridgewater, NJ, Justin is currently studying Music Education at Montclair State University. He studies voice under Dr. Julia Rolwing, as well as studying oboe/English Horn under Professor Andrew Adelson. He feels that the passion for music that has driven his career so far is one that will last a lifetime, and hopes to pursue graduate studies in Music Performance at the end of the coming academic year. This production of Le Nozze di Figaro is his operatic debut, and he looks forward to sharing tonight's music with you all!
Figaro

Justin McBurney

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Michael Prachthauser is a baritone residing in Brick, NJ and is finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Montclair State University. He has studied voice with George Spitzer the past four years and coached by Mary Pinto, Steven Ryan, and Michael Caldwell. He has sung the role of Leone in Handel’s Tamerlano at Montclair State University. He has also been in the ensemble for Leonard Bernstein’s A White House Cantata and the opera L’Enfant et les sortileges by Maurice Ravel. Recently Mr. Prachthauser had won second place in the Great Composers Competition for Best Handel Performance in his age group.
Bartolo/Antonio (Friday evening)

Michael Prachthauser

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Mezzo-Soprano, Christine Rauschenbach-Nevill, is a graduate of Montclair State University with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in vocal performance. She will making her debut with NJVAC in the role of Cherubino. Her operatic experience includes the roles of Patience from Patience and Constance from The Sorcerer by Gilbert and Sullivan, and the roles of  the Sandman and Hansel in Opera Theater Montclair’s 2018 full production and staged editions of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, as well as covering Angeline from Rossini’s La Cenerentola. This fall she will be performing the role of a stepsister in Into the Woods at UCPAC in Rahway, NJ.
Cherubino (Saturday evening)

Christine Rauschenbach-Nevill

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Veronica Shea is an actor and marketer working in the New York City area. By day, Veronica is the Marketing Manager at Primary Stages, where she sometimes convinces people to let her act for their school, the Einhorn School of Performing Arts. A graduate of Northwestern University, some of her favorite roles include Cecily Cardew (The Importance of Being Earnest), Lydia (girl.), April (Company), Olympia (Les contes d'Hoffmann), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Musetta (La Bohème), and the title role in Alcina. In addition, Veronica is the Founder and Executive Director of Eccentric Theater Company (ETC.), a collection of artists dedicated to pushing the boundaries of a standard theater company. veronicashea.com
Susanna (Saturday evening)

Veronica Shea

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Tiffany Starks is a resident of Union, NJ. Tiffany has been blessed to sing all over the United States as well as internationally in Spain as well as Kenya. Currently, Tiffany is a student at Kean University majoring in Music. Tiffany would like to thank the NJ Vocal Arts Collaborative for this amazing opportunity.
Countess (cover)

Tiffany Starks

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