New Jersey State Opera Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition Finals

Posted: May 4, 2017
New Jersey State Opera Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition Finals

Saturday afternoon, April 29, the handsome music room of the Van Vleck Mansion was filled with guests anticipating a feast of opera. During intermission, they enjoyed the beautiful gardens - the magnificent wisteria whose two massive trunks threaten to bring down the columns they encircle were just beginning to bloom, the many flowering bushes and trees at their peak and the noble rooms of the beautiful turn of the century Italianate Villa built by the Van Vleck family of Montclair.

Presented by the New Jersey State Opera, the finale of a series of auditions and competitions presented twelve singers - tenors, baritones, basses, sopranos, well - trained young professionals who were competing for three awards: the Alfredo Silipigni Memorial Prize ($3,000); the Dr. Ennio Callouri Memorial Prize ($2,000), and The New Jersey State Opera Guild Prize, honoring Florence Infante ($1,000). Each performer sang the aria of his/her choice, from well-known masterpieces like O Patria Mia from Verdi's Aida to the rarely performed O Mairia, Maria from Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa. All were accompanied by pianist John F. Spencer.

The gentlemen were all in black tie; the ladies in glamorous gowns which enhanced the character they were portraying. Executive Director of the New Jersey State Opera, Ed Perretti, himself a renowned tenor, provided witty but informative introductions to each of the arias, which were sung in the language in which they were written: Italian, French, German or Russian.

After all had performed, each of six singers chosen by the highly-qualified judges as candidates for the awards sang a second aria, demonstrating range and consistency. The winner was Kidon Choi, singing an aria from Verdi's Rigoletto. Runner up was Seok Jong Baek. Third place went to Sueng Hyen Baek. A reception followed where guests mingled with the performers and trustees of the New Jersey State Opera.

The New Jersey State Opera has a long 40-plus-year history in the music world. Under the leadership of the late Maestro Alfredo Silipigni, the company, based in Newark, presented grand opera. It also performed at other venues in New Jersey and internationally, the highlight of which was a production of Aida in China in 2001. Many years later, after Silipigni's death and some reversals, it is once again presenting opera to New Jersey audiences.

June 3rd will feature a gala performance of winners of the New Jersey State Opera's Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition in solo, duo, and trio combinations, at an elegant home donated for the event by generous supporters in Paterson, NJ. Cocktails 6-7pm; concert 7:15pm. For tickets and further information, please contact Ed Perretti at 973-202-7727.