Annaliese Klenetsky, a junior at John P. Stevens High School in Edison, was chosen the winner of the Third Annual Curtain Call Award, which was held at Montclair State University on Sunday, June 3. More importantly, the event, which was created to showcase New Jersey high school singers of opera, provided proof that there is still plenty of young, classically trained talent capable of singing the works Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, and other operatic composers.
In addition to Klenetsky, four other high school students were chosen from more than two dozen applicants to perform during the June 3 finals that took place in the Jed Leshowitz Recital Hall at the John J. Cali School of Music. In addition to Klenetsky, two other juniors – Maria Servodidio of Moorestown, and Mount Laurel’s Gabriella Will – plus two seniors – Sarah Finnan from Cinnaminson; and Antonia Kitsopoulas from Chatham – were the finalists who also sang.
As part of the reward package for reaching the finals, each singer was given a free private coaching from New Jersey Opera’s Head of Music, Keith Chambers. The young women will also be invited to audit Opera New Jersey master classes. Moreover, Klenetsky will be invited to sing in a master class as part of Opera New Jersey's Summer Season.
During the competition, which was hosted by the program’s creator and former Montclair State student, Jenna Rocca, and current senior, Tiffany Fattizzi, a Communication Studies major, each singer sang two arias to an audience that included judges Marissa Silverman, assistant professor of music at Montclair; Jan Wilson, a renowned concert mezzo-soprano; and Stephanie Sundine, internationally acclaimed operatic soprano and dramatic.
According to the latest research conducted by Opera America, the audience growth for opera was approximately eight percent. With the Curtain Calls providing a template for showcasing outstanding high school operatic talent, the audiences can only increase.
About Montclair State University/School of Communication and Media
Montclair State University celebrated its centennial in 2008, was recently named “Best Public University in NJ” and 17th nationally by Forbes Magazine. Its Communication Studies Department, which will help promote the Curtain Call Awards, won the 2006 United States Postal Service Executive Public Relations Challenge competition, performed public relations for 2006 and 2007 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, Lorena Ochoa, the fifth annual Andy Kaufman Award in 2010, Hackensack University Medical Cancer Center, and Autism NJ. On July 1, the departments of Communication Studies, Broadcasting, and Filmmaking will merge and create the School of Communication and Media, the university’s second school under the College of the Arts' aegis (the John J. Cali School of Music is the first).
About Opera New Jersey
Opera New Jersey is the Garden State's largest and busiest opera company. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, Opera New Jersey presents a summer season of fully staged opera at Princeton's McCarter Theatre in July, with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as its official orchestra. In addition, the company performs one opera in February in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Princeton and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, in partnership with NJPAC. Three times awarded a Citation of Excellence by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Opera New Jersey has become known for the highly artistic quality of its productions. Opera News has called Opera New Jersey one of the Garden State's most enticing summer offerings.
In addition to its main-stage offerings, the company brings its "Interact with Classics" education programs to schools throughout the state. Opera New Jersey presents outreach programs to a diverse community and also performs free concerts in venues throughout New Jersey.
Opera New Jersey is funded in part by grants provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation and other foundations, corporations and individuals. For more information, visit www.OperaNJ.org.