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Jason C. Tramm Conducts Puccini's TOSCA, 11/16

Jason C. Tramm will conduct a concert version of Tosca, Giacomo Puccini's visionary and dramatic operatic masterpiece on November 16 at the South Orange Performing Art Center. Inspired by the French playwright Victorien Sardou's 1887 widely popular play "La Tosca" (which stared the great Sarah Bernhardt in the title role) Puccini's exquisite music, propelled the veristic tale of an unlikely heroine into one of the most beloved and frequently performed operas of all time.

With Tosca we recognize in Puccini's composition a brilliant and original synthesis of the German symphonic tradition, French harmonic and orchestral traditions, and the Wagnerian leitmotif (musical phrases used to identify characters and ideas). Dramatically, Puccini's first work of the 20th century (Tosca premiered on January 14, 1900) capitalized in giving voice to a new female protagonist whose actions on stage defied the expectations of critics and audience alike.

Jason Tramm leads the MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra, the Seton Hall University Choir and an international cast of guest soloists in this production of the Seton Hall Classical Concert Series which proudly takes place during SOPAC's Tenth Anniversary Season. Tosca represents a joint venture of Seton Hall University's Classical Concert Series and the Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies Institute and is partially supported by the generosity of the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation. A Pre-Concert lecture will be presented in the SOPAC Loft at 5:30PM with filmmaker August Ventura

Dena Levine, Director of the Seton Hall Classical Concert Series, views this production of Tosca as "a supportive platform for artistic dialogue among disciplines" and points out that Tosca is the fourth artistic collaboration between Seton Hall University and the MidAtlantic Opera. Previous joint ventures have included Viva Verdi in honor of the Verdi Bicentennial, Leoncavallo's one act opera I Pagliacci and Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aneas.

For Tosca, the co-presenters have assembled an impressive cast of internationally acclaimed singers for the principal roles. Soloists include American soprano Rochelle Bard as Floria Tosca, Australian tenor Benjamin Sloman as Mario Cavaradossi, Peruvian baritone Jose Saci?n as Baron Scarpia, Greek-American baritone Stefanos Koroneos as the Sacristan and American bass Stephan Kirchgraber as Angelotti. Joining the professional cast, Seton Hall University seniors Augustine Glazov and Devin McGuire will make their SOPAC concert debuts singing the roles of Spoletta and Sciarrone respectively.

Soprano Rochelle Bard, who sings the title role of Tosca, has been described as an 'exquisite singing actress, brilliant and heart-breaking' and is quickly becoming a highly visible operatic leading lady. She has been recognized with prestigious awards and grants from the Classical Singer Competition, Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, George London Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards (San Francisco and Boston), the Seoul International Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition. A recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Music from her alma mater the College of the Holy Cross, she holds a Master's Degree from the New England Conservatory,

This past season Ms. Bard performed her second Donizetti queen, Maria Stuarda, this and recently made an acclaimed debut as Bellini's Norma. Ms. Bard's upcoming leading roles for the 2016/2017 season included the ruthless Lady Macbeth in Macbeth in Middlebury, VT, Tosca with MidAtlantic Opera, Micaëla in Carmen in Connecticut, and the ill-fated queen Maria Stuarda in Knoxville. Past seasons have included Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux with the Opera Orchestra of New York as the cover for Ms. Mariella Devia, the title role in Norma as well as Leonora in Il Trovatore with Knoxville Opera, and the title role of Tosca in Boston. She performed Violetta in La Traviata twice this season with Shreveport Opera and with the Opera Company of Middlebury. In concert, Ms. Bard performed a concert of arias with the Opera Orchestra of New York and maestro Eve Queler at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center and made her mainstage Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C and again as a soloist in the MidAtlantic Opera's Carnegie Hall concert, A Prayer for Peace, under the baton of Jason Tramm.

Tenor Benjamin Sloman, in the role of Mario Cavaradossi, is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting young Australian tenors of his generation. He has studied in Italy and the United States under the tutelage of Gioacchino Li Vigni, Nicola Martinucci, and Salvatore Fisichella, and in 2013 and 2016 was awarded fellowships from the Mediterranean Opera Studio (Italy) for intensive study with opera luminaries Marcello Giordani, Pietro Ballo, Mariella Devia, Jennifer Larmore, and Giuseppe Filianoti. His early professional engagements included The Duke (Rigoletto) with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera under the auspices of Lucine Amara; Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera) and the title role in Roberto Devereux at the Lincoln Center in New York City; Alfredo (La Traviata), Don Jose (Carmen), and Avito (L'amore dei Tre Re) for which Benjamin was hailed as "an absolutely splendid voice... so heroic and resonant" by ConcertoNet.

In 2012 Benjamin became the first Australian to sing in a fully staged operatic production in New York's Central Park in a leading tenor role when he sang the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the New York Grand Opera under the baton of Vincent La Selva. Reviews of that performance described Benjamin in "brilliant tenor voice with torrents of golden sound" (La Voce Italiana).

In recent seasons Benjamin has sung Alfredo (La Traviata) and Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi) at Teatro Dell'Orca in Caltagirone, Teatro Eschilo in Gela, and Amphitheater di Palazzolo Acreide in Siracusa; Ismaele (Nabucco) with Taconic Opera and Opera Theatre of Montclair; Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera), and Cavaradossi (Tosca) with Sydney Lyric Opera, Regina Opera and the Gateway Orchestra; Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) with Opera Lancaster and Teatro Lirico D'Europa; and Canio (Pagliacci) with Opera Camerata of Washington, New Rochelle Opera, Taconic Opera and Connecticut Concert Opera. For his performances as Cavaradossi in Tosca, Benjamin was celebrated as "a first-rate tenor with a golden sound ... masterful ... his voice is exceptionally beautiful with superb breath control and a unique sense of phrasing" by the Brooklyn Eagle.

In 2015, Washington DC, Benjamin created the title role in the world premiere of The Apotheosis of Aristides, an oratorio detailing the true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands fleeing the Nazis in World War II. Benjamin returns for the 2016/17 season with Teatro Lirico D'Europa for performances of Cavaradossi (Tosca), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) Don Jose (Carmen), Alfredo (La Traviata), and his role debut as Calaf (Turandot). December 2016 also sees Benjamin make his role debut as Andrea Chénier with Theater Erfurt in Germany and Antipolis Théâtre d'Antibes in France.

As Baron Scarpia, baritone Jose Saci?n possesses a sturdy, commanding voice with the versatility and musicality that make him perfectly suited for the roles of Puccini, Verdi and verismo opera. His recent performances include the roles of Scarpia in Tosca and Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte with Opera Camerata of Washington and Opera NOVA, Marco in East Coast Premiere of Franco Faccio's Amleto with OperaDelaware, Count Almamviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC and at the Teatro Municipal in Lima, Peru; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Opera Camerata of Washington, Ein Bote in Guntram with Washington Concert Opera, Germont in La Traviata with the In series, Figaro in The Barber of Seville also with OCW. In 2013, Mr. Saci?n returned to Opera Camerata of Washington to perform Tonio in I Pagliacci and Die Sprecher in Die Zauberflo?te, Germont in La Traviata at Opera in Williamsburg, cover Macbeth at Opera Delaware, perform Roque in Marina at Teatro Lirico DC, and Payador in Maria de Buenos Aires with Connecticut Lyric Opera. In 2012, he was seen at Opera Delaware as Tonio in I Pagliacci and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, and as Lucas in La Dolorosa with Zarzuela Di Si. Lescaut in Manon at New York Lyric Opera, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Opera Camerata of Washington, David in Barber's A Hand of Bridge, and Don Juan Peralta in El Barberillo de Lavapies with In Series (Washington, DC).

Among his numerous credits in previous seasons, Mr. Saci?n has performed the title roles of Rigoletto and Don Giovanni, Conte Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Valentin in Faust, Danilo in The Merry Widow, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Dapertutto in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. He has worked with Washington National Opera, Opera de Lima, Opera Delaware, IVAI Festival (Tel Aviv), Baltimore Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington, Caramoor Opera Festival, Opera North, and Maryland Opera Society. Jose Saci?n has performed and collaborated with many leading figures in the music world, including: Gregory Buchalter (Metropolitan Opera), Veronica Villaroel, Alessandra Marc, Enrique Ricci and Will Crutchfield. He performed at a nationally televised event for Pope Benedict XVI alongside Placido Domingo at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC, and sang the world premiere of selected passages from the newly discovered version of La Forza del Destino with Philip Gossett at Caramoor International Music Festival. Upcoming performances include the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Camerata of Washington, conductor Treemonisha for Opera NOVA and numerous recitals.

Conductor Jason C. Tramm's work in the symphonic, operatic, and choral repertoire has received acclaim both nationally and internationally. Noted productions under his baton include a world premiere of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess in Tirana, Albania; the MidAtlantic Opera Company's inaugural production of Verdi's Rigoletto in 2014 and their mainstage production "Verdiana" in honor of the Verdi Bicentennial. As Artistic Director of the New Jersey State Opera from 2008-2012, Tramm's performances included the 75th anniversary production of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at Newark's Symphony Hall and the 2009 HDTV broadcast presentation with PBS affiliate NJN, of "Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove which garnered a regional Emmy Award nomination. Since 2006 Tramm has held the position of Director of Music Ministries for the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, where he conducts both sacred and secular works. National broadcasts from the historic 6,500 seat Great Auditorium, home to the magnificent Hope - Jones Organ have included Léon Boëllmann's Fantasie-Dialogue for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 35 with Gordon Turk, organ; Rittenhouse Orchestra and Alexandre Guilmant's Symphony Number 1 in d for Organ and Orchestra presented by American Public Media's classical music show "Pipe Dreams", aired locally on New York's classical music station WQXR. Tramm also serves as Artistic Advisor for the New Jersey based Adelphi Orchestra.

In 2015 Tramm made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in "A Prayer for Peace" featuring the works of Behzad Ranjbaran (Elegy for Cello and Strings), Leonard Bernstein (Chichester Psalms), Vaughan Williams (Dona Nobis Pacem) and Adnan Saygun (Selections from Yunis Emre). He returns to NYC in March of 2017 to conduct the second concert of the Prayer for Peace trilogy at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. An accomplished educator, Tramm serves on the faculty at Seton Hall University as Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities, College of Communication and the Arts where he leads the University Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, and teaches voice and conducting.

Jason Tramm's guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Oltenia Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Academic Choir of Romania in December concerts (12/21-23/2016), and with Narnia Festival 2017 in Italy, where he will conduct Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica. In February 2017 Tramm returns to conduct Verdi masterworks, "Rigoletto" with South Carolina's Palmetto Opera (2/20/17) and "La Traviata" with Opera New Hampshire (2/25/17).


The Seton Hall Classical Concert series presents world-class soloists and ensembles from around the globe. Blending education with artistry, the series offers preconcert lectures and workshops on a regular basis which are offered to students and the public free of charge. All concerts are held at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. Many of the concerts in the series have reflected successful interdisciplinary collaborations within and without the Unvirsity. Among the collaborations featured are the Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies InstituteAlberto Institute's Italian opera concert productions of Viva Verdi and I Pagliacci; Seton Hall University's Poetry program which brought about the Shostakovich Quartets and the work of poet Carolyn Forché; Seton Hall University's Unanue Institute which presented a recital of Cuban pianist Adonis Gonzales and SHU's College of Communication and the Arts - which resulted in the fully staged production of Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aneas, a partnership with the SHU Academic Theatre, Music Programs and the New Jersey based MidAtlantic Opera.

Seton Hall University is the oldest and largest Catholic university in New Jersey. It was founded in Madison in 1856 and shortly thereafter moved to its present location in South Orange. It is aptly described as "a home for the heart, the mind and the spirit." Its Catholic roots have made the University home that is open to people of all faiths, creeds and colors.

MidAtlantic Opera is a professional opera company with a regional profile and a mission of bringing the finest professional operatic performances to audiences throughout the tri state and midatlantic region.

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