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Opera at Florham Cabaret Series: Passion of Verismo

The Opera at Florham cabaret series continues with an upcoming night of opera titled, “Passion of Verismo: Selections from the Operas of Puccini’s World,” on Sunday, February 17 at 3 p.m. in Lenfell Hall, Hennessy Hall, at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham.

Originally scheduled for Sunday, November 4, 2012, the event was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

The afternoon’s program, which was organized by Luigi Boccia and Steve DeMaio, will consist of opera arias and Broadway songs sung by soprano Julie Diniz, tenor Matthew DeMarco, baritone Jimi James, and pianist Mary Pinto.

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Diniz is a native of New York City, and a life-long fan of opera. She attended SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music in Purchase, NY and has performed extensively throughout the tri-state area. She recently covered Rosina in New Jersey State Opera’s return performance of il Barbiere di Siviglia. Other past roles include Carmen with Pacific Encore Performances, Prince Orlosky in Die Fledermaus and Second Lady in The Magic Flute with Amore Opera, Rosina from il barbiere di Siviglia with Vocal Productions NYC, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Elsie in The Yeomen of the Guard with Utopia Unlimited.

DeMarco is a senior at Montclair State University where he studies vocal performances with Dr. Stephen Oosting. DeMarco is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the MSU Chorale. Opera credits include: Albert Herring (Sid), La Finta Giardiniera (Il Podesta), and The Rake’s Progress (Sellem). Musical credits: West Side Story (Tony), Joseph…Dreamcoast (Joseph), RENT (Roger), I Love You Because (Austin), and more. He also teaches voice and piano lessons.

James was born in Hawaii and raised in Cape Cod. His awards include finalist in the Chester Ludgin Verdi Competition in New York, and winner of the JDAF Vocal Competition in New York. This past year he has performed as Figaro, Escamillo, Scarpia, Silvio, Shadbolt, Dandini, Marquis d’Obigny, Tobia Mills, and Bartolo along with concerts of Rogers and Hammerstein, A Night at the Opera, Saint-Saen’s Christmas Oratorio, and Ein Deutsches Requiem. James is strong proponent of the arts’ education, and is particularly fond of his more than 900 outreach performances.

Pinto is an acclaimed accompanist and vocal coach who has been working with artists that have performed at the Metropolitan Opera and across the United States for the past 25 years. A student of John Wustman, the renowned accompanist for Luciano Pavarotti, Pinto began her career as a rehearsal pianist for Dayton Opera, Omaha Opera and Augusta Opera. She went to coach for the Lyric Opera of Chicago Opera Center Program, preparing performances of Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, and the premiere of Bright Sheng’s The Song of Manjun and Bruce Saylors’s Orpheus Descending. Pinto worked as a rehearsal pianist and coach at Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, at the Dallas Opera and San Antonio Opera. Since returning to her home state of New Jersey, Pinto has joined the faculty at William Paterson University and Montclair State University where she coaches for the Opera Department as well as private lessons. During the past year, Pinto has had the pleasure of playing for and coaching famed soprano Deborah Voigt in preparation for the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring Cycle during the 2011-2012 season. Pinto can be seen in Wagner’s Dream, the celebrated Tribeca Film Festival movie about the making of The Ring. She also coaches privately in New York City.

Tickets are $30 for regular admission, $25 for seniors, and $10 for students under 22 years of age. Tickets can be ordered by calling 973-443-8620.  Checks can be mailed to Opera at Florham, P. O. Box 343, Convent Station, NJ 07961.

Guests are welcome to arrive at 2 p.m. and bring a light meal to enjoy with friends prior to the cabarets.

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

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