Opera Exposures Presents Free Recital 'ROME' at St. Marks Church, 10/28


Opera Exposures, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to presenting concerts and recitals featuring seasoned professional musicians and young operatic artists in accessible venues at affordable prices, will celebrate National Opera Week by presenting a FREE recital on Sunday, October 28, at 3 PM at St. Marks Church, 131 East 10th Street at 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. This performance is made possible by a generous donation from the Hahn/Block Family Foundation.

The recital -- titled “ROME -from Mozart to Britten” – is described by Mr. Owsley as “a brief Musical Glance at the importance and influence of the Italian capital in Operatic Drama from the inception of the Empire to the 20th Century.”

The program will feature sopranos Mikayla Sager and Manna KnJoi, tenor Joseph Valone and bass/baritone LaMarcus Miller. They will be accompanied on piano by Kevin Miller. The Narrator is Dwight Owsley, the Opera Exposures Artistic Advisor and a well known New York bon vivant. The recital is being produced by Edna Greenwich, Founder and President of Opera Exposures.

Seats may be reserved online at www.operaexposures.org. Light refreshments will be available for purchase. Since it is Halloween, children in costume will be welcomed.

According to Ms. Greenwich, organizations that support young people in New York City are urged to come and bring their young constituents. “In addition to scheduling recitals in accessible venues to showcase the talents of seasoned and up-and-coming opera singers, Opera Exposures is also committed to inviting and introducing young audiences to classical and operatic music,” she said. “We believe it is imperative to build new audiences for opera.”


Mikayal Sager (Soprano), praised for her mature artistry and colorful lyric voice, is a young singer whose list of accomplishments far surpasses that of a 21 year old. Currently she is in pursuit of her under-graduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music, studying under the tutelage of Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. This past summer, Ms. Sager was seen as Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Novize in Puccini's Suor Angelica, and was featured in several concerts across Italy with the Montefeltro Festival. In North America, she has performed in various opera excerpts as Adina from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Susanna from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Rosina from Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia, and Zerlina from Mozart's Don Giovanni. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic in Henry the Fifth, as well as in master classes with esteemed teachers such as Danielle Orlando, Rita Shane, Enza Ferrari, John Darrenkamp, Claude Corbeil, Maria Russo, Donata D'Anunzio Lombardi, Ubaldo Fabbri, Nancy Hermiston and Judith Forst. In December, she will be heard in her own recital at the Manhattan School of Music, as well as in recital in her native Vancouver.

Samantha ‘Manna’ KnJoi (Soprano) is a multi-talented musical artist who grew up in Huntsville, Alabama before embarking on her college career. An emerging artist in opera and classical voice, Manna is the 2012 winner of the Elaine Malbin competition sponsored by the Mario Lanza Society in New York City. Most recently, she made her debut as Micaela in Carmen for the Metropolitan Opera Guild at Lincoln Center. In early 2010, she won the District Metropolitan Opera council auditions. In December 2009, she was the recipient of the Lily Pons scholarship from the Palm Springs Opera Guild and she has sung for legendary Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne who called her voice "an incredible instrument." Ms. KnJoi made her concert debut as a soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Valley Conservatory and was featured in a solo recital during their 10th anniversary Lyceum series. As an artist with the California Opera Association, Samantha sang the title role in Puccini's Suor Angelica to rave reviews. This performance also received critical acclaim as one of the top 10 performances in Central California for 2009. A year earlier, she was a national finalist in the All-Tech opera competition, 1st place winner for the National Society of Arts and Letters Voice Competition (Birmingham region) and received accolades for Excellence in Artistry from the California Opera Association. She also is an accomplished violist/ violinist who has played professionally in numerous symphonies in the southeast region, often as a principal player. She attended the University of Alabama and Florida State University where she received her Bachelor's degree in both Music and English.

LaMarcus Miller (Bass-Baritone), who The Rockwell Music Festival hailed as "a voice to remember," is currently a Masters candidate at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He has sung leading and supporting operatic roles such as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Les Comte Des Grieux in Manon, Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Dancaire in Carmen, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and Simone & Marco in Gianni Schicchi. He made his musical theatre debut as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Mr. Miller has performed many oratorio and sacred works including Te Deum (Kodaly), Requiem (Malcolm Archer), Messiah (Handel), Missa Sancti Nicolai (Haydn), and Requiem (Mozart). He has been a soloist with the Rockwall Philharmonic Orchestra, Dallas Baptist University Chorale, Texas A & M Chorale, and has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He was 1st place winner of the vocal division at the 2009 Delta Symphony Concerto Competition and 2nd place winner at the 2011 African American Business and Professional Women's Vocal Artist Competition in Houston, Texas. Recently, he was awarded 1st Place in the Nico Castel International Master Singer Competition at Carnegie Hall.

Joseph Valone (Tenor) recently made his tenor debut this past spring as a soloist in the Mozart Requiem with the Garden State Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Valone began studying as a tenor in 2010 under the guise of acclaimed teacher Michael Paul. Previously, as a baritone, Mr. Valone sang Marullo in Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera North and was a young artist with the Sarasota Opera. Originally from Rochester New York, Mr. Valone attended Boston University where he received degrees in vocal performance and Italian Studies.

Kevin J. Miller (Pianist) is a graduate of University of Michigan where he received his Artistic Diploma and Masters of Music degree in Collaborative Piano with the world renownEd Martin Katz. A native of New York City, Mr. Miller completed his Bachelor of Music degree from Mannes College of Music. In July 2010, he collaborated in recital with countertenor David Daniels at the Glimmerglass Opera. In March 2010, he worked with Jessye Norman at Carnegie Hall on Laura Karpman’s production Opera Exposures Free Recital on Oct. 28, 2012 Page 3 of Langston Hughes’s Ask Your Mama. Mr. Miller made his international solo debut in recital at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Netherlands in June 2008. His honors include full scholarships to the Aspen Summer Music Festival in 2006, Boston University Tanglewood Institute of Music in 2001 and 2002 and the Bart Pitman Piano Competition Prize. Two of Mr. Miller’s original compositions, Psalm 13 and Psalm 145, were premiered in February 2004 with the Mannes Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with a chorus under the direction of Chantell Wright. From 1993-2002, he attended the Choir Academy of Harlem, the school of the Boys Choir of Harlem, Inc. During this time, he also performed in Holland, Israel, Austria, Japan, and throughout the United States, occasionally serving as accompanist. He participated in symphonic works with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was an alto soloist in Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria.

Dwight Owsley (Host/Narrator), born in Texas, owes many of his early musical influences to Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters and Leontyne Price, as well as to the excellent and loving “home training” received at the knee of his mother Mary Veche Owsley (aka Jiveass). Also, much of his inimitable “joie de vivre” springs from her firm love and tutelage. He has lived in New York City for more than 25 years. An enthusiastic performer since infancy, he has appeared on stage in recitals, operas, musicals, and in night clubs internationally. His musical interests have always been divided between grand opera and American jazz and folk standards. He has sung with Barbara Carroll, Bobby Short, Hank Jones, Billy Joel and Kurt Wieting. As he has for the last seventeen years, he continues to usher in each coming New Year by singing at midnight for The Revelers in the Carlyle Hotel’s Bemelman’s Bar. Currently he presides over the concierge desk at the prestigious Manhattan hotel advising the rich and powerful how to allocate their opera ticket budgets. In his role as concierge he has received awards and editorial praise from GQ, Harpers and Queens, WWD, the New York Times, Where Magazine, the New York Hotel Association and many others. In 2004 Dwight was selected by American Express’ travel magazine Travesías as one of the twelve most important people to know in the world of travel, and especially music. Just ask him.

In June 2004, the newly-formed Opera Exposures launched its premier operatic event at Saint Mark’s Church in Manhattan with great success. Several artists performed for an audience of almost 500 concert-goers, among them many newcomers to the world of classical music as well as experienced aficionados, who responded with standing ovations and received the program with great warmth, enthusiasm and civic pride. Opera Exposures, under the leadership and guidance of its founder Edna Greenwich, has since hosted a number of additional performances at Saint Marks Church and is well on its way to achieving its stated mission of presenting seasoned vocal professionals and bright upcoming talents in diverse venues at accessible ticket prices. Over the past two years, Opera Exposures has presented recitals at St. Marks Church and St. Bart’s in Manhattan and two Staten Island recitals at the historic Reformed Church of Staten Island in Port Richmond.

Opera Exposures’ vision is (1) To present both seasoned professional musicians and rising artists in accessible venues in NYC; (2) To develop the future audience for opera by reaching out to non-traditional concert and opera goers; (3) To provide for the opportunity for the performers and audience members to interact after the performance; (4) To actively seek young operatic artists and provide them with a per diem, a venue and an audience to perform; and (5) To expand the repertoire of its operatic recitals by including traditional arias, duets and ensemble numbers from well know operas, but to also include spirituals, show tunes, standard cabaret songs, folk tunes, and popular songs.

Opera Exposures’ Artists Services include the following: (1) Assistance with wardrobe and performance presentation; (2) Providing Sheet Music for learning and performance; (3) Providing Vocal Coaching with respected accompanists; (4) Introduction to a community of opera lovers and supporters; and (5) Provide all artists with Payment for their services, including performances.

EdOpera Exposures has an active Education and Community Outreach Program in which they: (1) Invite students to open rehearsals; (2) Present history of early operatic artists and traditions by way of lively narrations during concerts; and reach out to new and young audiences who are non-traditional opera-goers and provide them access to the performances at reduced ticket price.

The Opera Exposures Board of Directors is composed of Edna Greenwich, Dwight Owsley and Carl Sylvestre.

Pictured: Soprano Mikayla Sager