March 9, 2019 – NEW YORK CITY – Matthew Laifer Artists Management presents the Opera Gala to tribute the genius composer Giuseppe Verdi. The incredible young, mid-career, and established artists will perform at the concert at the National Opera Center.
Natasha Novitskaia is a dramatic mezzo-soprano whose roles include Amneris (Taormina, Italy), Santuzza (Liderkranz Foundation, NYC), Fricka, Carmen (with NY Opera Forum), Principessa (Tuscia Opera Festival, Italy), Azucena (One World Symphony, NYC), to name a few. Along with that, she has been singing arias and duets in an array of concerts of high caliber such as Giuseppe Giacomini Gala in Carnegie Hall (2017), Mascagni Gala and the Closing Night Gala in Taormina, Italy (2018). She performed under the baton of such prominent conductors as Eve Quelle, Alberto Veronese, Everett McCorvey. Ms.Novitskaia is a finalist at the Altamura Caruso International Voice Competition and a prize winner in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. In 2018, Ms.Novitskaia also performed at the Holiday Transformation opera concert produced by Lyric Seasons and RE:ARTISTE and at the Christmas Ball (Carnegie Hall) where she sang Carmen. In the upcoming season, she’s singing in concerts together with Francisco Casanova in Maestro Pier Miranda Ferraro Concert Series. She’s also on hold for a few productions in the USA and abroad.
Alla Perchikova is a dramatic soprano, relatively new to the United States. Ms. Perchikova is well-known in her native Russia and in Germany, her current residence, for interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s Tatiana, Maria, and Lisa, Wagner’s Elsa, Venus, Freia, Gerhilde, Rossweisse, and Adriano (Rienzi), Verdi’s Amelia, Leonora (Il Trovatore and La forza del destino), and Lucrezia (I due Foscari), Leonore (Fidelio), and the title role in Rusalka. She has distinguished herself at the Marinsky Theater in “Stars of the White Nights” conducted by Valery Gergiev, New Israel Opera, Helikon-Opera, and Alte Oper Frankfurt among others.
Zoya Gramagin is a lirico-spinto soprano who has been praised for her beautiful, vibrant voice with characteristically warm Slavic colors, while maintaining a very Italianate sound. The Petersburg-Concert (Russia) called her a “true Verdian soprano, [with] fascinating richness of the voice and fiery musicality.” Her performances include Liza in Tschaikovsky’s “Queen of Spade” (Lowell House Opera at Harvard University), a guest artist at the annual Sergio Franchi Memorial Gala where she “wowed the crowd” of 4,000 with her “thrilling” interpretation of “Un bel di”. In Fall 2017, Ms. Gramagin became a finalist in the Altamura International voice competition in NYC. In Spring 2019 Zoya Gramagin is performing a lead role of Cio Cio San in Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly”, St.Petersburg Opera Company, Florida. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and a Master of Arts in Marketing. Using her musical, artistic, and organizational skills, Zoya founded and serves as Artistic Director of Lyric Seasons, an organization that produces an array of performance events that provide a platform for well-established and emerging artists to experiment with various music genres.
Jacqueline Quirk is a lirico-spinto soprano who is making her mark in the realms of operatic performance throughout the world as one of opera’s outstanding stars. She most recently made her Carnegie Hall Debut as a finalist in the International Verismo Opera Competition. She is celebrated as a leading interpreter for her roles as Mimi (La Boheme), Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly) and Nedda (I Pagliacci). After her return from a concert tour in Italy, Ms. Quirk’s upcoming engagements include many debuts. First starting with Opera Idaho, as Marguerite in Faust, then a return to Hawaii Opera as Ortlinde in Die Walkure, a debut with Opera Jacksonville as Micaela (Carmen), Mimi (La Bohème) with Miami Lyric Opera, and Nedda (I Pagliacci) in the Bechstein Concert Series at the Players Club in Gramercy Park, NYC. Jacqueline is set for numerous concert tours of her All American Concert “Of Thee I Sing” in New York, Florida, Hawaii.
Francisco Casanova is lyric tenor and a frequent guest artist at the major theaters of the world, appearing both at the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall of New York, the Teatro alla Scala, the Vienna State Opera, the Rome Opera Theater, Arena di Verona, the Concertgebuow (Amsterdam); the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, the ABAO theatre of Bilbao, The Teatro Colóm of Buenos Aires, The Opera of Tel-Aviv, among many others. Francisco Casanova has received numerous awards and prizes around the world. His interpretations of operas by Giuseppe Verdi, of whom he has sung 20 titles, have been praised for their depth, as well as for his adherence to what has been defined as the Verdi Style. He has been called a generous tenor with a real verdian timbre by reviewers of major publications such as Il Corriere della Sera. Francisco Casanova’s recordings include the last opera of Amilcare Ponchielli, recorded for RADIO FRANCE, a collection of Latin American gems, Cuando se quiere de veras, and the recording Reflejos del Alma.
Mikhail Svetlov is a world-renowned bass whose international career began with a successful debut at the Wexford Festival in Ireland. He is a winner of Viotti International Competition and was nominated for a Grammy award and was also honored with two Telerama Awards on Le Chant du Monde for the world premiere of works by Rachmaninoff “Miserly Knight” and Serov “Judit”. A principal soloist of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow and Metropolitan Opera of New York he also has been an acclaimed guest the many of the world’s opera companies, festivals and orchestras having also performed at leading venues such as: Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Carnegie Hall, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg Staatsoper, Teatro Colón, Salzburg Landes Teater, Bregenz Festshpiel , Santa Fe Opera, Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice, New York City Opera, San Diego, Florida Grand operas, Opera de Bellas Artes and many others.
Gustavo Ahualli is a baritone who is hailed for his rich and powerful voice. Mr. Ahualli has performed over 45 roles including Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Alfonso Xl in La Favorita, Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Silvio and Tonio in I Pagliacci, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Germont in La Traviata, Posa in Don Carlo, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, title roles in Macbeth, Nabucco and Rigoletto, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Scarpia in Tosca, Michele in Il Tabarro, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, to name a few. Since his debut in the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Teatro San Martin in his native Tucumán, Argentina, Mr. Ahualli has sung at the iconic Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as well as other Argentinean venues such as Teatro Argentino de La Plata, Teatro Avenida for Buenos Aires Lírica and many others. In the United States he has sung with the Palm Beach Opera, Sarasota Opera, Central City Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Opera in the Heights in Houston TX, the New York Opera Society and many others. Recent performances include Dido and Aeneas at Teatro Isabel la Católica in Granada Spain, Escamillo in Carmen, Mario in La Leyenda del Beso, Germont in La Traviata, Juan en Los Gavilanes, Tony in The Most Happy Fella, Alfonso Xl in La Favorita, Silvio in I Pagliacci next to Jose Cura at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Operatic Recital next to Aprile Millo in Canada and recital tour next to Arianna Zuckerman.
Kristian Benedikt is a tenor who has built up a reputation as one of the leading international singers of Verdi’s Otello. He sang this role more than 100 times: at Wiener Staatsoper, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Mariinski Theatre in St. Petersburg, to name a few. Mr. Benedikt’s other roles include Jose in Lithuanian National Opera, Herman in Luzern Festival, Cavaradossi in Llangollen (Wales), Radames in Estonian National Opera, Dick Johnson in Trieste and Siegmund in Odense New Opera House. Highlights of the recent seasons are Don José (Carmen), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Samson (Samson et Dalila), Calaf (Turandot), Pinkerton (Madame Butterfly), Canio (I pagliacci), as well as roles like Eleazar (La juive), Manrico (Il trovatore), Dick Johanson (La fanciulla del West), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), the title roles in ”Andrea Chenier”, ”Ernani”, ”Rienzi”, ”Lohengrin” and Hoffmann in ”Les Contes d’Hoffmann” in Munich, Saint Petersburg, Santiago de Chile, Mexico, Beijing, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Tallinn, Barcelona, Bergamo, Palermo among others. Currently, you can enjoy Kristian Benedikt’s singing at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City.
Craig Ketter is a pianist acclaimed for “transporting the listeners to extraordinary heights” and “into a world beyond time and space,” pianist Craig Ketter is known for playing with powerhouse sonority combined with long-lined, dulcet lyricism. Mr. Ketter has performed as soloist with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Mobile Symphony, the South Orange Symphony, the Raleigh Symphony, the Garden State Philharmonic, the Durham Symphony, the Rocky Ridge Music Festival Orchestra, and the American Festival for the Arts Orchestra. His solo concerts have taken him to Mexico, Argentina, Barbados, France, Germany, Japan, and across the United States and Canada. Complementing his solo performances with collaborative ventures, Mr. Ketter regularly joins forces with international singers and chamber groups. Venues include NPR’s Performance Today series, CBS Sunday Morning, Sirius Satellite Radio, Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall.