Upper West Side Cantors Rebecca Garfein and Dan Singer Perform at Enrico Caruso Room, 8/28


Two of the Upper West Side of Manhattan's most renowned Cantors – Rebecca Garfein, Senior Cantor of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and Dan Singer, Cantor at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue – will perform at the Enrico Caruso Room at Grotta Azzurra Ristorante in Little Italy on Tuesday, August 28, at 8 PM. Both singers are opera-trained and have performed on operatic and concert stages all over the world and will offer an exciting program of memorable arias and American Songbook favorites.

Their performances are part of the Enrico Caruso Room's Tuesday Night Opera Series which began this past April in the very same room where the legendary Neapolitan-born tenor Enrico Caruso frequently sang after his performances at the Met nearly 100 years ago. There is a $20 cover charge. Food and drinks are available in the room starting at 7 PM. There is no food or drinks minimum. For reservations: 212-925-8775.

Cantor Rebecca Garfein, a mezzo-soprano, is the first female Cantor ever to hold the position as Senior Cantor at Congregation Rodeph Sholom. She has also performed in numerous recitals throughout the United States, Israel and Europe. In 1997 she was invited to participate in the Jewish Cultural Festival in Berlin, Germany, and was the first female Cantor to give a solo concert in the same city her late grandfather fled at the start of World War II. The following year, at the same cultural festival in Berlin, she became the first female Cantor to preside in a German synagogue, and released a CD of the live recording of the 1997 concert, Sacred Chants of the Contemporary Synagogue.

On November 10, 2005, at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, she presented the concert and historic CD debut of Golden Chants in America…. Commemorating 350 Years of Jewish Music, 1654-2004. Including music from the Spanish-Portuguese Jews, the synagogue and the Yiddish and Broadway theater, the CD is the first US recording to feature Jewish music spanning 350 years of life in America. Cantor Garfein is also featured soloist on two recordings from the Sacred Music Press, Celebrating the Past and Present, honoring the 50th anniversary of the School of Sacred Music, 1999, and Kol Sasson Kol Simcha, a commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2001.

A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Cantor Garfein has been a featured soloist with the Ra'a'na'na Orchestra and the Zamir Chorale at the Jerusalem Theater in Israel and in 2001 was a soloist at the 350th anniversary concert of the Curacao Jewish Community.

Cantor Garfein made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2005 with Mandy Patinkin in a benefit concert for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater. In 2003, she made her debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in a concert celebrating the release of Dr. Ruth Westheimer's book, Musically Speaking. She has been a participant in the opera program at Di Capo Opera in New York City and at the Aspen Music Festival. She recently made her Town Hall debut with Neil Sedaka and Jay Black in another benefit concert for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater. As a teenager, she was a participant in the Young Artists' vocal program at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts.

Some of her operatic credits include: Isabella in L'Italiana in Algieri (Opera Scenes concert) with DiCapo Opera, NYC; Third Lady in Spring Awakening, Aricie in Milhaud's Trois Opera-Minutes and Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte (Opera Workshop performance), at the Aspen Music Festival; as well as Alto Soloist in Handel's Messiah, and roles in Werther, Faust, Marriage of Figaro and La Boheme in Shepherd School of Music productions. She was winner of Houston's Gilbert and Sullivan Society Award.<

Cantor Garfein graduated cum laude from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music with a degree in vocal performance and opera. In 1993, she received her Master's Degree in Sacred Music and Cantorial Investiture from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JJR).

Dan. Singer, Bass-Baritone, is known to many Upper West Siders in New York City as the Senior Cantor at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. What many of the members of his congregation may not know is that he is also an award-winning internationally recognized vocal artist with a very broad range of rare vocal talent. His operatic repertoire includes Bartolo and Figaro in Nozze di Figaro, Basilio in Barbiere di Siviglia, Sarastro in Die Zauberflote, the title role in Don Pasquale, Banco in Macbeth, Don Ruy Gomez de Silva in Ernani, Sir John Falstaff in Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor and Mephistopheles in Faust. Also, Marullo and Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Jacopo Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Colline in La Boheme, King Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and others.

He also sings musical theater, light opera, and oratorio. His musical theater repertoire includes Emile de Becque in South Pacific, The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, and other bass-baritone classic repertoire. With an affinity for singing the bass classics in spirituals, Showboat, and Porgy and Bess, he was a national finalist in the Paul Robeson Vocal Competition and the MTNA-Wurlitzer Vocal Competition, among other recognized singing competitions. He has been selected to sing in master classes and has performed in opera programs with Licia Albanese, Joan Dornemann, Martin Katz, Justino Diaz and others. He holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan and is now pursuing an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration at NYU. In addition to his singing talent, Dan is also a working voice actor and has vocal credits for commercials, documentaries and corporate videos, consumer electronics, video games, and animated films.

Cantor Singer, who lives in New York City with his wife Lauren and his newborn baby boy, Aiden Singer, serves on the Advisory Committee to the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music and the American Conference of Cantors Convention Committee, as well as the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York. He has served numerous pulpits, beginning as a Cantorial soloist at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, student cantor pulpits at Temple Adas Israel of Sag Harbor, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah of Manhattan, and as an invested cantor at Temple Shaaray Tefila of Manhattan and now Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

He holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin with classical guitar and vocal studies, a Masters Degree in vocal performance from the University of Michigan, and a second Masters Degree in sacred music from the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music in Manhattan.

Both Cantors are very excited about performing together in the Enrico Caruso Room on August 28th. "This might be the first time that two Cantors from Manhattan's Upper West Side have appeared together in a secular performance of mostly operatic music," said Singer. "It should be a lot of fun and I hope that members of our congregations will turn up to cheer us on."

Cantor Garfein says, "If many of our congregations attend, it will be like a wedding with our supporters seated on opposite sides of the room. Hopefully some of them will mix with each other. In any event, it will be a lot of fun and I know Dan and I will make great music together!"