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"Viva Verdi: Heroes and Heroines" Opera Musicale


Opera at Florham will open its 35th Season on Sunday, September 17th, 2017 at 2 p.m. in Lenfell Hall (The Mansion), Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus, Madison, NJ. The Musicale features a variety of famous Verdi opera arias as well as those from other composers that were influenced by Verdi (e.g. Puccini), plus Broadway songs.

The Musicale will feature several distinguished performers: soprano Jasmina Halimic; baritone Ethan Simpson and tenor Mackenzie Gotcher. They will be accompanied by Mary Pinto, Vice President of Opera at Florham’s Board of Trustees and noted voice coach.

Stephen DeMaio will serve as Narrator and Master of Ceremonies for the Musicale. He is a member of the Opera at Florham’s Board of Trustees and President of the Gerda Lissner Foundation in New York City. Light refreshments will be served at intermission with an opportunity to mingle and meet the artists.

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Ethan Simpson, baritone, is currently a resident artist at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) Philadelphia. He has an MM in Voice/Opera Performance from Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (2015) and BM from Bob Jones Univ., Greenville, SC. His 2017 awards include WRTI Giargiari Competition Audience Choice, Giulio Gari Vocal Competition- Encouragement Award, Paris Opera Audience Choice- 3rd Prize and Deborah Voigt Competition, among others. While at AVA he sang in The Demon, Rigoletto, La boheme, Gianni Schicci, Werther and Don Giovanni.

Tenor Mackenzie Gotcher recently appeared as Cavaradossi, Tosca, with Wolf Trap Opera at the Filene Center. He is also a current resident Artist at AVA in Philadelphia and appeared as Edgardo in AVA’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Previous appearances include Macduff (Macbeth) at Middlebury Opera Company, Agustín Magaldi (Evita) at Opera North, Diego Delarosa (Rose in Flames), and Paul Bäumer in the Viennese premier of Nancy Van de Vate’s All Quiet on the Western Front. Mr. Gotcher won the top prize in the 2017 Young Patronesses of the Opera and Florida Grand Opera Voice Competition, as well as an encouragement award in the 2017 Opera at Florham Vocal Competition. Mr. Gotcher was a resident artist at Sarasota Opera in 2013, ’14, and ’15 where he won the Silver Award for Apprentice Artists.

Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, soprano Jasmina Halimic's has recently appeared as soloist in the Verdi Requiem with Salisbury Symphony and Charleston Symphony, title role in Lehar’s The Merry Widow with Northern Lights Music Festival and Marguerite in Faust with Opera San José. She recently premiered the title role of Anna Karenina, a modern opera by David Carlson, in the West Coast to great acclaim. She was a finalist and an award winner in prestigious competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Liederkranz Competition, and Palm Beach Opera Competition, Belvedere Competition, among others. Ms. Halimic completed her graduate studies at Indiana University.

Tickets are $30 for regular admission, $25 for seniors, and $10 for students. Special rates are available for Groups of 10 or more at $20 per ticket. Tickets can be ordered by calling 973-443-8620, visiting our website at, or purchasing at the door. Checks can be mailed to Opera at Florham, P. O. Box 343, Convent Station, NJ 07961. 

Everyone is encouraged to bring children and grandchildren to Opera at Florham’s events, as this is a wonderful way to introduce them to the beautiful and varied world of opera! There is no charge for children under 12 years old when accompanied by an adult.

Funding has been made possible in part by funds from the Morris Arts Council through the New Jersey State Council of the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The College at Florham of Fairleigh Dickinson University is located at 285 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ 07940. For more information, visit

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