Ernest Revell and Jacqueline Ballarin to Perform at Enrico Caruso Room, 8/14
Tenor Ernest Revell and soprano Jacqueline Ballarin will be the headliners at the Enrico Caruso Room at Grotta Azzurra Ristorante in Little Italy on Tuesday, August 28, at 8 PM, as part of the venue's weekly Tuesday Night Opera Series. They will be supported on keyboard by David Schaefer. Dinner is available from 7 PM. There is a $20 cover and no food or drink minimum. Reservations are suggested by calling Grotta Azzurra at 212-925-8775.
Both singers were selected to perform during the Tuesday Night Opera Series after taking part in the Enrico Caruso Room's Thursday Night OPEN MIC sessions. This will be Ernest's second Tuesday Night engagement and the first one for Jacqueline.
Anyone hearing Ernest Revell sing for the first time will have a hard time imagining that he only first began taking voice lessons several years ago when he retired from the business world. He has a rich, ringing timbre, and the proverbial 'tear' in his voice that has been an essential component of every great tenor's work for centuries. Still, it is difficult to fathom that he was in his fifties before beginning to seriously study music!
The son of a Neapolitan-born mother and a father of French descent, Ernest learned to love music from an early age. His early influences came from movies featuring Mario Lanza and recordings by Enrico Caruso. Ernest became fascinated with singing and hoped one day to be able to share the happiness it gave him with the rest of the world. But years would pass before that dream would become a reality. He got married, and helped raise and support three pre-teen stepsons, all consuming demands of family life. Later came the terminal illness of his father who, on his deathbed, and for seemingly no apparent reason, said to him: "Ernie, you know you could have been a professional opera singer." That statement became an epiphany, and the start of a personal mission.
In 2008, with no idea about where to begin, and armed with nothing but telephone directory listings of voice teachers to guide him, Ernest began his search for a suitable teacher. His first voice teachers, Marlene Delavan and Reegan McKenzie, saw his potential and taught him the great tenor staples, such as "Nessun dorma' and "Recondite armonia.' Auditions, small recitals concerts, operas and musical theater roles would follow, but the road was still not without difficulties.
Finally, in 2010, Ernest entered The Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition and won First Prize. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in January of 2011 at the inners Recital, less than three years after his first professional vocal lesson. He has since performed at numerous New York area venues, including the Kosciusko Foundation Auditorium, The Church of Christ Scientist, The Church of the Savior, The Unitarian Society and The Enrico Caruso Room at Grotta Azzurra Ristorante in Little Italy. His repertoire includes Puccini's Tosca and La Fanciulla del West, Cilia's L'Arlesiana, Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. In 2010, he performed in Opera691's inaugural production at the Carl Pfeifer Performing Arts Center as Amantio in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. He has also performed lead roles in musical Theater Productions of Beauty and the Beast and Annie as Daddy Warbucks.
Soprano Jacqueline Ballarin has performed with The Utah Festival Opera Company, The Opera Festival of New Jersey, The Bronx Opera Company, Opera of the Hamptons, and Chelsea Opera, and has appeared on such stages as The Zoellner Arts Center, The Mann Music Center and The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, and at New York's Madison Square Garden as a back-up vocalist for Barbra Streisand's Farewell Concert under Bob Esty's direction.
In September 2011, Jacqueline Ballarin was awarded the prestigious Sergio Franchi Foundation's Scholarship of the Arts, and performed at its 17th Annual Memorial Concert in Stonington, CT, to critical acclaim. Her performance of "Maritza's Aria" from Countess Maritza by Kalman generated the most intense "bravas" and the longest standing ovation of the many that dotted the concert's second half.
The Enrico Caruso Room at Grotta Azzurra was opened this past April by producers Mort Berkowitz and Les Schecter to provide a new venue for New York's many professional opera singers to show off their voices and performance talents. The room, is decorated with authentic memorabilia from the life and career of the legendary Neapolitan-born tenor Enrico Caruso donated by Cav. Aldo Mancusi, founder and curator of the Enrico Caruso Museum in Brooklyn.