Saturday, April 6, 2019

A Classic Opera Gets a Jersey Shore Update

Father Alphonse Stephenson and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea Present Puccini’s Much-Loved “La Bohème” on April 27 & 28

A beloved opera meets a Jersey Shore twist in Giacomo Puccini’s fantastic “La Bohème” with Father Alphonse Stephenson and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea.

Imagine four young, bohemian artists renting a Jersey Shore apartment. Seem farfetched?
Imagine that it's Friday of Labor Day Weekend, complete with a power outage and a cold snap. Possible?
Imagine the landlord looking for the rent from the musician, poet, the painter and the philosopher, or the girl next door looking for a match for her candle, and love-affairs that are on again, off again.
This is exactly the setting for this season's production of Puccini's much-loved opera “La Bohème”, a staged, costumed and recreated performance with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea and its conductor, Father Alphonse Stephenson at Algonquin Arts Theatre.
“I know that updating an operatic masterpiece is a stretch for the imagination sometimes, but this concept is a natural,” said Father Alphonse during a recent interview. “I’ve found the best cast for our endeavor. They not only have magnificent voices, but they actually look and act like the roles they’re singing!”
Magnificent voices indeed, beginning with the role of Mimi, a young and bashful maker of silk flowers, sung by Angela Jihee Kim of the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Jihee Kim has established roots in the New York and started her professional career as a principal artist at the Metropolitan Opera New York in 2011 right after her graduation from the Yale School of Music in the United States. 
“I’ve heard Mimi’s Act One aria, ‘Si. Mi chiamano Mimi, sung hundreds of times; Angela’s interpretation brought me and our stage director, veteran tenor Edward Perretti, to tears, literally,” the maestro said.
Complete with supertitles to translate the not-to-be-missed dialogue, a full, 45-member symphony orchestra and a chorus of Labor Day Weekend boardwalk bar patrons, this promises to be an amazing performance.

In addition to Ms. Jihee Kim, the staged concert features a cast with international roots and international credits to their names.
Ganson Salmon, both a published poet and an avid surfer, is perfectly cast in the leading tenor role as the Jersey Shore’s Rudolfo (the poet). Freehold, N.J., native and Julliard alumna Nicolette Mavroleon, a soprano, joins the cast as Musetta following recent engagements at Carnegie Hall, the Pittsburgh Festival Opera and Cantori New York.

Hyungjoo Eom, a native of South Korea who comes by way of the Manhattan School of Music, and Andrew Thomas Pardini, a native of California known for his vibrant tone and thrilling character portrayals, perform the baritone roles of Marcello and Schaunard, respectively.

The lone carryover from last spring’s sold out performance of Madame Butterfly, Vartan Garielian, a bass who originally hails from Toronto, rounds out the cast as Colline.

A matinee on Sunday, April 28, has sold out. Seats remain for an evening engagement on Saturday, April 27 at 7. Regular tickets are $45 for adults, $42 for seniors and $35 for students. To order, visit or call the Algonquin Box Office at 732-528-9211.

La Bohème” is presented by Algonquin Arts Theatre and the Festival of the Atlantic as part of the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Series.

About Algonquin Arts TheatreAlgonquin Arts Theatre (AAT) is a 501c(3) non-profit center for performing arts, providing cultural enrichment and arts education for residents and visitors of Central New Jersey and the Jersey Shore through high quality performances and programs in theatre, music, dance and film.

Located in Manasquan, N.J., AAT is an integral part of the Shore Region, offering broad access to arts experiences across multiple disciplines. Deeply committed to education, AAT serves students of all ages not only through art and music instruction, but also through the unique communal conversation that exists between audience member and performer. The theatre provides a platform for local and regional 

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