Madness in Opera Nov 2022
Opera is filled with "madness," the crazy behaviors of characters who are mad and going mad, wrathful and demented. Soprano Joanna Parisi, tenor Samuel White and bass baritone Bradley Walker performed "madness" themed songs from operas portraying insanity, including Lucia di Lammermoor and Otello, and similarly themed songs from musical theater.
The singers were accompanied by Artistic Director, Mary Pinto and commentary by Mariana Karpatova.
Hailed as a “standout” by San Francisco Classical Voice, American bass-baritone Brad Walker is a rising star in the Opera world. Mr. Walker has been seen on stages across the United States, as well as making his debut in Asia as Schuanard in La Bohème with Daegu Opera in South Korea. After winning the district level three times, he won the Rocky Mountain Regional. He was a semi finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and won the Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program Vocal Competition.
Mr. Walker completed his two year residency as part of the world renowned Adler Fellowship with the San Francisco Opera. While in San Francisco Mr. Walker performed as Zuniga in Carmen, as Dumas in Andrea Chénier, as Strojnik in Vĕc Makropolus, as the Mandarin in Turandot, and Schaunard La Bohème. During his fellowship, Mr. Walker received acclaim for his performances both in productions and in concerts with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the UC Davis Symphony and in the Schwabacher Recital Series.
Along with the Adler Fellowship, Mr. Walker has participated in many of the country’s top young artist programs including The Merola Opera Program, Chautuaqua Opera Company, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Joanna Parisi is internationally acclaimed for her portrayals of the most iconic spinto and dramatic soprano roles of Verdi, verismo, bel canto and Wagner. She debuted as Tosca in New York's Central Park, followed by Aida and Abigaille in Nabucco. She was discovered during her studies at Juilliard with Maestro Vincent LaSelva, and was presented at Carnegie Hall in Beethoven's 9th Symphony and featured there as Maddalena di Coigny in Andrea Chenier. She also performed at Lincoln Center. Her performance of the title role Lucrezia Borgia earned her accolades from The New York Times, Opera Magazine of London, Opera News, New York Observer and more.
She is currently performing leading roles in prestigious theaters all over the world. She performed at the Grand National Theater in Beijing, China, Lincoln Center in New York City, the Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonia, Russia, Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the renowned Lotte Concert Hall in South Korea, and the famous pink marble opera house, Teatro Amazonas, featured in the film Fitzcarraldo among many others.
She is especially sought after for her beautiful, powerful and expressive voice at the great outdoor theaters of the world, including the Teatro Antico di Taormina in Sicily, Central Park, the Roman Theater in Bulgaria and many more. She is a frequent invited guest star of Verdi operas during the annual celebrations of The Cultural Capital of Europe.
Joanna Parisi appears in opera films and recordings, including a film version of Carmen featured at the Berlin Film Festival. She has received prestigious awards and recognition from The Metropolitan Opera National Council, Operalia, The World Opera Competition and honored as one of The Next Generation of Great Opera Singers by WQXR Classical Radio of New York. https://www.joannaparisi.com
Praised by Opera News for his "gleaming heroic tenor and a hint of physical danger," Samuel White has covered the roles of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Count Loris Ipanov, Aeneas in Dido & Aeneas, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. His training includes The Aspen Opera Center, The Glimmerglass Festival, The Florida State University, and Manhattan School of Music.
White’s most recent engagement was singing the role of Kalchas as well as Agamemnon in a tour of the new opera (...Iphigenia), composed by jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter and Grammy award winning artist Esperanza Spalding.
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 as Cuniza in Oberto, Michigan Opera as Quickly in Falstaff, Metropolitan Opera as Maid in Elektra and Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, the Bulgarian National Opera as Azucena in Il Trovatore, and many more. Her concerts include Symphony No. 8, Verdi’s Requiem, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, Shoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Ravel’s Scheherazade, Bach’s Magnificat and St. Matthew Passion, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Durufle’s Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and others.
In the summers of 2021, 2020, and 2018 Ms. Karpatova helped organize and performed in the “Unbeaten Path” chamber music festival in her native country, Bulgaria. In October 2021, she performed a set of Rachmaninov songs at the Bulgarian Concert Evenings' opening night gala at Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Karpatova is a recognized specialist training youth and advanced professional singers for contemporary and classical music. She has a private practice (Mariana Voice Studio) and is on the vocal teaching staff at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.