HEROINES, HARLOTS & THE HEARTBROKEN
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Musical director Mary Pinto crafted a program of exceptionally challenging arias and ensembles - some familiar and some rarely performed opera gems. Coloratura soprano Holly Flack, mezzo-soprano Maria Zoi and soprano Claire de Monteil dazzled the audience with their impeccable vocal technique, range and artistic abilities. By the vocal fireworks of these stunning performers, the audience in Lenfell Hall experienced the vulnerability, passionate drama, vengeance and joy of the heroines throughout the operatic journey. Mariana Karpatova enhanced the experience with her colorful narration.
CLAIRE de MONTEIL
Claire de Monteil is quickly gaining recognition around the world as an important soprano on the rise. Currently a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, her performances include the title roles in Suor Angelica and Ariadne auf Naxos, Leonora in Il Trovatore, and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, as well as Simone in Les Mousquetaires au couvent in her European debut at l’Opéra Grand Avignon, among others.
A Paris native, Ms. de Monteil received her education at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva and has gone on to win many important competitions' prizes, including an encouragement in Opera Index Competition, a Grant in Guerda Lissner Opera Competition, First Prizes in France's Opera en Arles Competition and Opera Grand Avignon Competition, First Prize in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition and Australia's prestigious Elizabeth Connell Prize.
Most recently, she was a semifinalist of the 38th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Villach, Austria and the 3rd prize winner of the Loren L. Zachary Society for the Performing Arts Competition in Los Angeles.
Coloratura soprano Holly Flack has a unique range that extends beyond an octave above high C. Praised as an "explosive talent" with her flowing and warm middle voice, rippling coloratura and effortless trills, she “wields an impressive range, effortlessly reaching higher than high notes” with her stratospheric vocal extension.
Ms. Flack’s recent roles include Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), Ophélie (Hamlet), Morgana (Alcina), Elvira (L'Italiana in Algeri), and Gilda (Rigoletto). As a young artist, she covered Marie (Daughter of the Regiment) with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with St. Petersburg Opera, and performed Maggie Anderson (Brigadoon) with Ohio Light Opera.
As a featured artist with the iSing! International Young Artists Festival, she was specifically chosen to perform for China’s National Day Celebration on Dragon TV, one of the largest official television networks in Shanghai. She also performed on Jiangsu Weishi TV, a national network, in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Since those appearances, she has traveled regularly to China for concerts in different cities around the country.
Ms. Flack made her international debut at the Trentino Music Festival in Mezzano, Italy singing the role of the Vixen (The Cunning Little Vixen). She has also performed with the Bel Canto Opera Festival, Astoria Opera Festival, and Operafestival di Roma.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance from St. Olaf College, and a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Kentucky.
Described as a real mezzo-soprano, Maria Zoi has been praised by critics for her wide vocal range and her unique, colorful timber. She recently won 3rd Prize in the Edward M. Murray International Opera Competition 2019 of Opera Ithaca, New York. Maestro Jose Carreras selected her among young Opera singers from all over the world to take part in his 4th International Singing Masterclass in Pesaro, Italy. She was one of the 11 best singers and the only mezzo-soprano chosen to sing at the final concert of the program at Auditorium Pedrotti.
Upcoming engagements include performances with the Met Opera Guild and Opera Ithaca NY among others. Until now she has compellingly portrayed roles of the lyric mezzo-soprano repertoire including Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Flora Bervoix (La Traviata), with the Greek National Opera, and in freelance productions in Germany and Austria.
As a concert and oratorio singer, Ms. Zoi has accumulated significant experience performing at distinguished venues worldwide in Munich, Nuremberg, Athens, Turkey, Vienna, Baden, Pesaro Italy, and New York. She has collaborated with the Nuernberger Symphoniker and most of the symphony orchestras of her native country, Greece, including the Kammerorchester Orpheus Wien in a series of concerts dedicated to Greek Art Song.
Ms. Zoi graduated in 2015 from the University of Music & Performing Arts in Munich with the highest degree (Meisterklasse Gesang). In 2016 she was awarded a scholarship for the Bayreuth Festival from the Richard Wagner Association of the city of Duesseldorf. Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis discovered her natural vocal gift at the age of 15. She took part in numerous concerts and recordings interpreting works by Theodorakis and was regarded as one of the most authentic interpreters of his music.
Ms. Zoi resides in New York and London.
Artistic Director & Piano Accompanist
Mary Pinto, an acclaimed accompanist and vocal coach, has worked with international opera singers and major American opera companies for the past 25 years. As Opera at Florham's Vice President, she serves as Musical & Artistic Director and provides piano accompaniment at musicales.
Ms. Pinto is a student of John Wustman, the renowned accompanist for Luciano Pavarotti. She began her professional career as a rehearsal pianist for several noted opera companies: Dallas Opera, Chicago's Lyric Opera, Omaha Opera and others.
In 2012, Ms. Pinto coached and served as rehearsal pianist for Metropolitan Opera star and international soprano Deborah Voigt as she prepared for the three Brünhilde roles for the Met's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. In 2014, she performed with Opera Noire's Ensemble in the American Embassy in Moscow and St. Petersburg and spent the past several summers coaching at Masterclass d'Ischia in Italy. In March 2018 she was the official accompanist for the Deborah Voigt International Competition in Vero Beach.
Ms. Pinto has been a private coach and accompanist on the faculty of Montclair State University since 2007. In Fall 2018, she joined the adjunct faculty at SUNY Purchase College teaching Italian and French lyric diction, operatic styles, and coaching.