goleader.com - Union County, NJ Newspapers 97sep11

mountainside nj
Local Youngsters Perform Opera at Festival in Rome

Celine Mogielnicki, Kevin Anderson, and Charlie Barber of Westfield, and Kassy Ciasulli, Scott Foster, Noelle Tate and Beatrice Von Seckendorff of Mountainside, performed in Humperdinck’s masterpiece opera Hansel und Gretel before audiences in Rome, Italy during July.

The young singers did their musical preparation for the event with The American Performance Studios in Westfield, before joining the "Young Artists in Rome" program in Italy.

For two weeks, the youngsters lived in the historic center of Rome. They rehearsed the opera, staging, blocking and dancing with artists-teachers of the festival.

Young professional singers from the United States, the Philippines, Germany, Korea, Italy, Colombia, and Japan sang the lead roles. The large cast of singers, the Rome Festival Ballet, and the Rome Festival Orchestra -- made up of 50 musicians from eight countries -- performed the opera.

The Young Artists appeared in four performances of Hansel und Gretel, sang solos and ensembles for a Chamber Music concert and visited historic monuments and churches.

Dawn Ciasulli, Kassy’s mother, designed and painted backdrops for the opera. She and her daughter, a sophomore at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights, are graphic artists.

When the Rome Festival Orchestra and Chorus performed in Marino, a town just outside of Rome, Beatrice and Charlie went along, enjoying the performance with the chorus, orchestra and Jeannette Ferrell (Maraffi), soprano soloist. Mrs. Maraffi, who teaches the American Performance Studio voice classes, is also the principal vocal coach with the Rome Festival.

A highlight of the group’s visit to Rome was the Young Artists’ audience with Pope John Paul II on July 23 in Vatican Square. The youngsters sang the prayer from Hansel und Gretel for the Pontiff. The group returned to the United States July 24.

The American Performance Studios and the Rome Festival will again collaborate with chorus and vocal workshops and performances in Rome for the 1998 festival. Singers age 15 and older are eligible to participate.

For information, please call (908) 233-7214.

ROMAN HOLIDAY…Youngsters from Westfield and Mountainside recently traveled to Rome, where they sang in the opera Hansel und Gretel. Pictured, left to right, are Kevin Anderson, Kassy Ciasulli, Beatrice Von Seckendorff, Charlie Barber, Celine Mogielnicki, Noelle Tate, Scott Foster and Cornelia Stearns.

Copyright 1997
TheWestfield Leader
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Revised: September 14, 1997.