Celebrating Around the World
December 4, 2022
Tenor Theron Cromer, mezzo-soprano Cornelia Lotito and baritone Matthew Ciuffitelli performed holiday selections from around the world celebrating what brings people together this time of year. The concert included the young voices of rising stars from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Montclair State University. Musical commentator Mariana Karpatova stepped from behind the podium to sing in her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice a Bulgarian folk song from her homeland.
The singers were accompanied by Artistic Director, Mary Pinto.
Holiday Spectacular from around the World
Tenor, Theron Cromer, has performed lead roles in various operas including Don Giovanni, Goyescas, La Cambiale di Matrimonio, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Albert Herring, Il Giovedi Grasso, The Abduction from the Seraglio and Nabucco, as well as many musicals theater credits from Miles Gloriosus in A Funny thing happened on the way to the Forum to Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie and Jacey Squires in The Music Man. His concert work includes tenor solos in Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s The Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and concerts of Broadway, spirituals and popular music with a group of tenors called "Tenors on stage."
Mr. Cromer received his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Montclair State University and a Masters of Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Mr. Cromer has been a church soloist and tenor section leader at the First Presbyterian Church of New Vernon since 2018. He is excited to be singing his second Christmas concert for Opera at Florham!
Praised for her "rich sound" and "remarkable agility" (Brooklyn Daily Eagle), Cornelia Lotito recently completed her 2021-2022 season as a young artist with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, performing in scenes as Carmen (Carmen), Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena), and others. Previously, she was a resident artist at Indianapolis Opera. In 2021, she completed her Master of Music degree at the University of Tennessee where she starred in several operas. At Knoxville Opera’s Studio program, she performed the role of Stephano in the company’s 2020 production of Romeo et Juliette.
Currently based in New Jersey, Cornelia assumed the roles of Dorabella in a concert production of Così fan tutte and Berta in The Barber of Seville with Light Opera New Jersey. She has also performed with Opera Theatre of Montclair. In 2016, she debuted with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, performing a solo in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A frequent vocal competitor, Ms. Lotito most recently won the Idaho-Montana District of the 2023 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and the Indiana District in 2022. In 2021, she won Encouragement Awards from the Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Gerda Lissner Foundation. She was a finalist and semi-finalist in numerous other vocal competitions. Recently she was selected to compete in the December 3 finals of the 2022 SAS Performing Arts Vocal Competition.
Ms. Lotito will spend the 2022-2023 season as a resident artist with Opera Idaho performing the roles of Berta in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and La dama in Verdi's Macbeth. She will be the alto soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Cathedral of the Rockies and solo in Bernstein’s Mass with Critical Mass Vocal Artists. https://www.cornelialotito.com/
“Truly an anthem of our times” said Classic FM in regards to Matthew’s AKA (Opera Daddy)’s ‘Figaro’ parody.
Mr. Ciuffitelli spent this past winter singing with New York City Opera originating the role of Giampi Malnate in their world premiere of The Garden of the Finzi Continis. He could also be seen singing in the Broadway’s 10th Anniversary Concert of A Tale of Two Cities.
Mr. Ciuffitelli had the unique opportunity to perform with the Rolling Stones at Chicago’s United Center and to appear in the U.S. premiere of the mixed-media work, Mountain Top, by Dutch avant-pop composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis. Many of his operatic roles include Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Sergeant Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Eisenstein and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Valentin in Faust, Marcello in La Bohème, and Figaro in The Barber of Seville.
He was the recipient of the 2018 Career Bridges Grant as well as the winner of the 2018 New Jersey State Opera Competition Award. He can be seen touring internationally with the world-renowned Sharpe Family Singers. You can find him on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram as @Operadaddy.
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. Ms. Pinto's career began as a rehearsal pianist for noted opera companies: Dallas Opera, Chicago's Lyric Opera, Omaha Opera, and others. In 2012, Ms. Pinto coached and was 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 which was featured in the documentary Wagner’s Dream: The Making of the Met's Ring Cycle and premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
In 2022, Ms. Pinto was invited to be official accompanist for the Giulio Gari Competition and to accompany singers in the Gerda Lissner Song, Zarzuela and Aria Competition. She made her Carnegie Hall debut playing for the winners of the Gerda Lissner Winners Concert. In 2021, Ms. Pinto coached and directed scenes at the Summer Opera Festival of Morelia and coached at the Queens Summer Vocal Institute. In the fall of 2020, she performed at Black Opera’s tribute to Jessye Norman. She spends her summers on the coaching staff at Masterclass d' Ischia, Italy. She has worked with the NJ State Opera and Light Opera of NJ, and internationally with Opera Noire’s Ensemble in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Ms. Pinto is on the faculty of Montclair State University as a private coach, accompanist, and prepares students for opera productions. She serves as Artistic Director and accompanist for Opera at Florham while maintaining coaching studios in New Jersey and New York City.
Mary received her Bachelor’s degree in Music for piano performance from DePauw University and a Master’s in Music degree for piano and voice accompaniment from University of Illinois.
Narrator and Vocal Instructor
Mariana Karpatova, mezzo-soprano, appeared “Live from Lincoln Center” in Maurice Sendak’s Hänsel und Gretel as the Mother and the Witch while studying at Juilliard. At her debut with Sarasota Opera, was praised for “acting and singing with passion and power.” She was an Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Award recipient and cited by the New York Times under the headline, “A Debut with Signs of the Future.”
Opera appearances include Sarasota Opera, Michigan Opera, Metropolitan Opera, the Bulgarian National Opera and many more. Her concerts include Symphony No. 8, Verdi’s Requiem, Ravel’s Scheherazade, Bach’s Magnificat and St. Matthew Passion, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and others.
During 2021-2022 season, Ms. Karpatova appeared in Opera at Florham's holiday concert, and in the BCENY Gala concert at Carnegie Hall and concert series. In the summer and fall of 2022, she debuted as Florence Pike in Princeton Festival’s “Albert Herring” production and appeared with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Annually since 2018, Ms. Karpatova has co-created and participated in the “Off-the Beaten Path” Chamber Music Festival held each summer in her native Bulgaria.
Ms. Karpatova is on the Board of Opera at Florham, provides musical commentary for their opera concerts and sings in ther holiday concerts. She is on the teaching faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University and maintains the Mariana Voice Studio in Madison, NJ.