SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit Symphony Orchestra will perform music from operas by Bizet, Verdi and Mascagni -- with Mezzo-soprano Ola Rafalo as the featured soloist -- in a free concert March 19, beginning at 3 p.m., at Summit High School. The concert is supported through a donation from the Summit Area Public Foundation.
Under the musical direction of Michael Avagliano, the orchestra's performance will include elections from Carmen and Samson and Delilah by Bizet, Nabuccho and Aida by Verdi, and Cavalleria rusticana by Mascagni.
Rafało, a Polish-American dramatic mezzo, has been called a “vocal powerhouse” by critics, who describe her voice as “voluptuous, rich, and dusky”, and “a budding next Fiorenza Cossotto”
Her career highlights include performing, to great acclaim, the title role in La Tragedie de Carmen with the Syracuse Opera. Opera Times said “she established her character immediately as a seductress par excellence, and her pitch in the devious Seguidilla was incredibly accurate. She sang the role of 'Fenena' (Nabucco) with Baltimore Lyric Opera, and Opera Carolina.
Rafało was born and raised in the U.S., but is also a citizen of Poland, and her first language was Polish -- making her a natural interpreter of the Slavic repertoire. Rafało was an apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera, where she received the Leo M.Rogers award, as well as a young artist at Opera Tampa, and Palm Beach Opera. In 2016, she received a Giulietta Simionato Career Grant from Altamira-Caruso Foundation for Performing Arts. Rafalo was awarded both the Audience Choice Prize, and the Fourth Prize, at the 2015 Young Patronesses of Opera competition. In 2009, she was awarded the audience prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Southeast chapter. In 2008, she was awarded Grand Prize of the Elgin Opera competition and First Prize of the Sherrill Milnes Opera Idol competition.
For more information regarding the concert, future performances, and about the Summit Symphony Orchestra itself, visit summitsymphonynj.org.