Cheryl Warfield and Randy Pradera Headline Opera Night in Little Italy
Soprano Cheryl Warfield and tenor Randy Pradera will be the headliners tonight, April 24, at 8 PM in the newly opened Enrico Caruso Room at Little Italy's legendary Grotta Azzurra Ristorante , located at 177 Mulberry Street on the corner of Broome Street. The performance will mark the second week of Tuesday Opera Nights at the new music venue which has been established to showcase established and emerging opera performers. Last week's premiere performance with soprano Shana Farr and tenor Vincent Ricciardi drew an SRO audience.
For those who to dine and later enjoy the music, dinner is available in the Caruso Room at 7 PM before the performance begins at 8:15 PM. Ms. Warfield and Mr. Pradera will be supported on the keyboard by David Schaefer. There is a $20 Music Charge and a no minimum policy. Reservations are suggested by calling Grotta Azzurra Ristorante at 212-925-8775.
Randy Pradera was born in Cuba and came to the United States during the Mariel Boat Lift at the age of three. He graduated from New Jersey City University and presently teaches English/ESL at the Jose Marti Freshman Academy in Union City, NJ where he also leads the school Drama Club. After taking a long break from operatic singing to concentrate on securing a stable teaching position, Randy is very excited to be back on stage. Prior engagements and roles include Tamino in The Magic Flute, Beppe in Pagliacci, Rudolfo in La Boheme and multiple seasons as soloist with the Orchestra of St. Peter's by the Sea. When not singing opera, Randy enjoys performing traditional boleros with his guitar and conga group Los Nostalgicos at various venues and for charity groups catering to the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Cheryl Warfield has performed over 15 lead roles in the standard operatic repertoire. This season, Cheryl sings the Countess with Amore Opera and Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore with the Manhattan Opera Repertory Ensemble. Career highlights include debuts on Broadway and at the Chicago Lyric, and a guest soloist appearance for the 2010 NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Canton, Ohio. Cheryl is also a recognized opera and concert producer and teaching artist.
The new Enrico Caruso Room also features a weekly Thursday Open Mic Opera Night starting this week --Thursday, April 26 -- where singers will perform two musical pieces each. The Thursday Open Mic Opera Nights are open to 10 applicants and singers who must be signed up in advance to guarantee a slot. There will be a waiting list at the door in the event some singers fail to show up. At the end of each month, one male and one female Open Mic singer will be engaged to sing at a future Tuesday Night Opera performance where they each will be paid $200/night.
The music performances at the Enrico Caruso Room are being presented by Mort and Ray Productions and LS Communications.
The upcoming schedule of the Tuesday Night Opera Series is as follows: Tuesday, May 1 -- Caranza and Sungji Kim Tuesday, May 8 – John Carelli and Shana Farr Tuesday, May 15 – Dan Singer and Jacqueline Thompson Tuesday, May 22 – Joshua Benevento and Jacqueline Thompson Tuesday, May 29 – Vincent Ricciardi and Maria-Cristina Necula
The room has been "redecorated" to honor the great Enrico Caruso, the Italian-born tenor who ruled the international opera world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The walls feature framed authentic collectibles, including vintage photos, old acetate music discs and records, caricatures drawn by Caruso himself and other memorabilia, donated by Cav. Uff. Aldo Mancusi, founder and curator of the Enrico Caruso Museum in Brooklyn.
In the early 1900's, Enrico Caruso would spend many of his leisure hours in Little Italy and would often dine – and sing – at Grotta Azzurra. He is known to have entertained many of his friends and associates in Little Italy, an area where he felt most welcome since many of the residents at the time were Italian-speaking immigrants from his native Naples and where he could enjoy his favorite Neapolitan cuisine. He also befriended the owners of the Italian language newspaper La Follia Di New York, which was published near the corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets and which regularly published well conceived and drawn caricatures created by Caruso, who was also an expert sketch artist.