Soprano Kirsten Chambers and bass baritone Andrew Richardson explored the realness in opera through operatic selections with relatable story lines reflecting the drama of real life. Reality and truth were revealed through operatic scenes with more realistic behavior than typically seen in dramatic opera. The program included selections from musical theater.
The singers were accompanied by organist Frank Fano and pianist and Artistic Director, Mary Pinto. Narration was provided by Mariana Karpatova.
2021 Viva Verisimo
"Or siam soli Leonorsa di Vargas" from La Forza del Destino at Opera at Florham
"Ben io t'invenni" from Nabucco at Opera at Florham
"Ella giammai m'amo" from Don Carlos at Opera at Florham
Kirsten Chambers is most known for her portrayal of the title role of SALOME, which she has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Hong Kong, and with Florida Grand Opera. Her Carnegie Hall debut came on two days’ notice when she sang the fiendishly difficult role of Maria in Richard Strauss’ FRIEDENSTAG with the American Symphony Orchestra. She first joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in 2016 as a cover of Isolde in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE and rejoined the Metropolitan Opera roster for DIE WALKÜRE.
Other highlights were a return to the Met as cover for Marie in WOZZECK, a return to Odyssey Opera to sing the title role in Strauss’ DIE ÄGYPTISCHE HELENA, creating a new opera with White Snake Projects in Boston and a new feature opera film FREYDIS AND GUDRID.
She made her Lincoln Center debut starring in the soprano monodrama NORA, IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS with American Opera Projects, followed by a staged performance of TOSCA with the Martha Cardona Opera and a return as Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA.
Additionally, she makes house and role debuts with Indianapolis Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Marchesa del Poffio in Un Giorno Di Regno. Other roles include Leonore in Fidelio and Elsa in Lohengrin.
A champion of new music, Ms. Chambers has been recorded on the Newport Classics Label and has appeared with American Lyric Theater and American Opera Projects.
Andrew Richardson has been called a bass baritone with a “powerful and beautiful voice, reminiscent of an older generation, recalling George London.”
In 2018, Richardson began study with Armen Boyajian. During the past three years of intense study, Richardson has developed a true Bel Canto technique. This new technique has opened up a new dramatic repertoire including the Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer), Amfortas (Parsifal), Scarpia (Tosca), Wotan (Ring Cycle).
Richardson’s current repertoire includes Wotan (Das Rheingold), Scarpia (Tosca), Four Villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Olin Blitch (Susannah), Filippo II (Don Carlos), Silvio (Ernani), Die Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Escamillo (Carmen).
Richardson finished his graduate work at Indiana University and his undergraduate work at DePauw University.
Richardson was a young artist with Sarasota Opera where he made his debut as the Doctor in Dialogue of the Carmelites. While a young artist with Palm Beach Opera, Richardson covered Scarpia in Tosca, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, and was the bass soloist for Beethoven’s 9th with the Florida Atlantic Symphony.
Born and raised in downtown Jersey City, Frank J. Fano is currently the organist and music director of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich Parish in Bayonne, New Jersey.
Frank began his career in liturgical music at the early age of 15 as the associate organist at Saint Mary Star of the Sea Church in Bayonne, and eventually became the music director of Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, at age 17.
He has held various directorships throughout the Archdiocese of Newark and New York throughout the years, most recently at Saints John and Paul Church in Larchmont, New York, where he presided over adult, children, and French choirs.
Frank’s higher education in organ performance began at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Paul-Martin Maki. While a student at Montclair State University, he studied under Mr. Kenneth J. Hamrick.
In addition to his musical studies, Frank holds a masters degree in Divinity from the Immaculate Conception School of Theology in South Orange, NJ.
Frank continues to enjoy an active schedule of accompanying and being an organ recitalist.
Artistic Director & Piano Accompanist
Mary Pinto, an 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 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 honor the 75th Birthday of Jessye Norman. 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. She spent three summers on the coaching staff at Masterclass d' Ischia, Italy.
Since 2007 Ms. Pinto has been on the faculty of Montclair State University as a private coach, accompanist, and to prepare students for opera productions. She serves as the Vice-President and Artistic Director 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 2018 & 2020, Ms. Karpatova helped organize and performed in the “Unbeaten Path” chamber music festival in her native country, Bulgaria. In 2018, she performed songs by Brahms and Bulgarian and American composer. In 2020, during COVID times, she performed virtually Dobrinko Tabakova's Songs for the Seasons: Summer and Autumn.
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.