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Internationally Acclaimed Opera Soloists perform Handel’s Messiah in Fanwood

The Christmas portion of George Frederic Handel’s Messiah will be performed by the music ministry of Fanwood Presbyterian Church on Sunday, December 2 at 4:00 p.m.  A chorus of over sixty singers drawn from the Scotch Plains/Fanwood area will be joined by professional, internationally acclaimed opera soloists.

Jamie Baer Peterson, soprano, began her opera career as an apprentice with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Her first break-out role was singing “Laurie” in the world premiere of the chamber music version of Aaron Copland’s opera The Tender Land for the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.  For that 54 performance run, she was praised by the New York Times for her “confident and expressive” singing.  Highlights of her operatic career include Zerlina in Don Giovanni with L’Opera de Nice, Musetta in La Boheme with the New York City Opera, Norina in Don Pasquale with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Constance in Dialogue of the Carmelites with Central City Opera and Isotta in Die Schweigsame Frau with Santa Fe Opera.  Ms. Peterson has been a soloist with the Dallas, Atlanta, Hartford, Omaha, Princeton and Westfield Symphonies and in two national broadcasts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

Danish born contralto, Hanne Ladefoged-Dollase, trained as an opera, oratorio and recital singer in Europe.  Upon finishing her Master’s degree at the University of Copenhagen, she won several prestigious scholarships and grants to pursue post-graduate studies in vocal performance in the U.S.  She has performed extensively throughout North America promoting Scandanavian Music Culture in song recitals and lectures, and in Europe promoting the American song repertoire.  Living in Seattle for several years, she performed with Seattle Opera and numerous other groups in the Pacific Northwest.  In the New York area Ms. Ladefoged-Dollase has performed with the St. Cecilia Chorus (at Carnegie Hall), New York Scandia Symphony, Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New Jersey, Ars Musica Chorale, Essex
Chorale, Orfeus Men's Chorus, Scandia String Quartet and in the Trinity Concert Series, among others. Most recently, she portrayed Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto with Opera at Florham. With violist and composer, Frank Foerster, Hanne is the founder of Beowulf Consort, a chamber ensemble that tells stories through music. 

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Brian K. Ernstes, tenor, graduated Marian College, in Indiana, and later studied at Indiana University and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  Brian has won many vocal competitions and sung roles in Messiah, Verdi's Requiem, Aida, La Boheme, New Moon, Fledermaus, Ballade of Baby Doe, La Traviata, Merry Widow, Marriage of Figaro, Carmen, Il Tabarro and Billy Budd.  Brian is a winner of the New Jersey State Opera Vocal Competition, and has since become a regular soloist in their Opera Logues and NJ State Opera Guild Concerts. He has been seen on the stage of NJ State Opera singing Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Manrico in  Il Trovatore (June 2006).  In October he sang Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana with Verismo Opera New Jersey.   He was most recently heard as the tenor soloist in the late Maestro Alfredo Silipigni’s memorial service.  This past spring he was featured in concerts in New York City’s Little Italy Summer Festival and this past February as a soloist with the Queens Symphony Orchestra.

A native of North Tonawanda, New York, bass-baritone Richard Zuch is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music from which he holds both an Artist’s Diploma and a Certificate for Advanced Vocal Studies.  A frequent performer, Mr. Zuch has appeared as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Buffalo Philharmonic, The Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, The Haddonfield Symphony, The Tulsa Symphony, The Pennsylvania Symphony, and The Hilton Head Orchestra.  He also was a soloist with The Curtis Orchestra at the Verbier (Switzerland) Music Festival under the direction of Kurt Masur.  He has been a member of the Philadelphia Singers, appearing as soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.  Mr. Zuch joined the voice faculty at Valley Forge Christian College in 2005

The conductor will be Tom Berdos, Director of Music Ministries at Fanwood Presbyterian Church.

Tickets for this performance of the Messiah are $20.00.  Tickets are available at the door, and also at the Double Dipper Cafe (38 S. Martine Avenue, Fanwood) and Young Paint & Varnish (1 South Avenue, Fanwood).  Call 908-889-8891 ext. 17 for more information.

Fanwood Presbyterian Church is located on the corner of Martine and La Grande Avenues, with parking off La Grande Avenue.

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