On Wednesday, June 30, I attended the Queens Symphony Orchestra’s “A Night at the Opera” at Russo’s On the Bay. This free even featured soprano, Yulan Piao, tenor Alessio Borraggine and conductor, Martin Majkut.
Let me begin with Alessio Borraggine. He is a Roman native and one of today's up-and-coming Italian lirico-spinto tenors. Borraggine has been heard in many prestigious venues such as the Musikverein in Vienna. His voice was so beautiful to listen to. I loved the way he presented the stories. Borraggine is charming and comical and very likeable. Yulan Piao, a Korean-Chinese soprano, engaged in the role of Cio-Cio in Madam Butterfly. She has won many competitions. Piao’s voice is a pleasure to listen to. Opera News spoke of her being extremely sympathetic on stage and phrasing with care and feeling and showing the very lovely lyric voice. Her career is going far from what I see. Martin Majkut, who serves as the music director and conductor, has been with the orchestra for around four years. He graduated from the state conservatory. He also served as an assistant Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic while earning his PHD in conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts. You can tell he is very serious, and he is very involved with the audience. There is perfection in his art. I really enjoyed watching him create magic with his orchestra baton. Everything just flowed that night.
The Queens Sympathy Orchestra was greeted with at least 100 or more guests at Russo Bay in Howard Beach. I spoke with Kenichi Wilson, board president for the Queens Symphony Orchestra. He does not get paid. All he does is from his heart and a love of music. Though not a musician, Wilson has an eye for how everything should be set up.
This event was funded by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with city councilman Erich Ulrich. For a small event, it could cost up to $43,000. The members of the orchestra are longtime members. They do get paid and usually far less than what they normally would. They are all tenors. The Orchestra continues to be in need of corporate sponsors. Con Ed is one. They also get help from grants. But like everything else in this world, to continue the programming so that they do not become extinct, they need your help. To find out more, visit: QueenSymphony.org.
By showing up and helping with financial support, they can continue to do more like going into schools for educational events. They hold big events in the parks about four times a year. On a smaller scale, they can do a salon concert in small venues such as the Yacht Club. The orchestra is here to stay. Their home is in Queens so you will find them anywhere across the borough.
By Theresa M Racine
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