7th Annual Sing For Their Supper
On Sunday afternoon June 12 at 3pm Milton Community Concerts presents the seventh annual “Sing For Their Supper” benefit concert at the historic First Parish Church of Milton (535 Canton Avenue). This popular event will feature ten opera singers from around New England in a program of opera and musical theater favorites to support two local charities.
This year’s concert features a completely new lineup of artists: sopranos Rochelle Bard, Mary Letellier, Olga Lisovskaya, Brianna Robinson, and Emily Tweedy; mezzo-soprano Roselin Osser; tenors Giovanni Formisano, Wesley Hunter, and Francis Rogers; and baritone Philip Lima. They will be assisted by pianist Timothy Steele. Collectively they have sung roles with many notable opera companies, both nationally and internationally. They have sung in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, and regularly in venues around New England. They also have distinguished careers as recitalists and concert artists.
This is a FREE concert (no tickets needed) with all net proceeds collected from a free-will offering to benefit the Milton Food Pantry and Milton Residents Fund. All performers are donating their time and talent to support these two important charities.
Arrive early for best seating. There is ample parking available and the venue is accessible. Masks are required for all audience members. This concert series is partially supported by a generous grant from the Milton Cultural Council, a part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Artist Headshots and Bios
Soprano Rochelle Bard has been described as an ‘exquisite singing actress, brilliant and heart-breaking,’ particularly in bel canto and Verdi repertoire. Performances include the title roles of Tosca, Aida, Maria Stuarda, Norma, and Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Merry Widow, as well as Odabella in Attila, Abigaille in Nabucco, Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux, Violetta in La Traviata, Leonora in Il Trovatore, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, at such companies as Hawaii Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, Opera Tampa, Boston Lyric Opera, Knoxville Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, and Sacramento Opera. Next season’s schedule plans a reprisal of Abigaille in Nabucco, as well as the title role in Norma with Opera Tampa.
Opera News acclaimed her tour de force performance of the four soprano roles in Tales of Hoffmann: ‘Bard’s transformative ability is uncanny, I had to double check the program to be sure that they were all the same woman...an astonishing display of versatility.’ and of her performance in Nabucco: ‘The star of the night was the Abigaille of Rochelle Bard. Her arias were simply sensational. She has a very rare talent combined with instinct that will place her in the pantheon of the very greatest of the great...a dazzling display of vocal fireworks.’ On the concert stage, she has been a soloist on the stages of Carnegie Hall with a recent Carmina Burana with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Chorale, and Opera Orchestra of New York. Ms. Bard earned a Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from her alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross. A pianist before finding her classical voice, she is also an accompanist and music director at a church in Connecticut.
A native of Torre del Greco (Naples, Italy), Giovanni Formisano has been called, “Truly an Italian tenor in the grand tradition.” He has received high praise for his interpretations of the Italian lyric tenor repertoire, with a special affinity for the classic songs from his native Naples. Winner of the “Talents of the World” voice competition in Boston and recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, Mr. Formisano was featured in a tribute concert in honor of the legendary baritone Dimitri Hvorostovsky at Carnegie Hall, alongside renowned mezzo-soprano Nino Surguladze and many others. His operatic and concert appearance include the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Don José in Carmen with the Commonwealth Lyric Theater, the tenor solo in Verdi’s Requiem with the Paul Madore Chorale and Salem orchestra in Salem MA, Alfredo in La Traviata with Opera Providence, The Young Gypsy in Rachmaninoff’s Aleko with the Commonwealth Lyric Theater, Camille in The Merry Widow with Opera Providence, and Rodolfo in La bohème with Boston Opera Collaborative. Mr. Formisano’s past roles include the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Amherst College, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Center City Opera Theater in Philadelphia and Opera del West, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Commonwealth Opera, Cavaradossi in Tosca with the Lowell House Opera, Pong in Turandot with the Connecticut Grand Opera and Lowell House Opera, Spoletta in Tosca with the Cape Cod Opera and the Ruggero in La rondine at the Longy School of Music.
Praised for his "drama, heart, and shining tone," tenor Wes Hunter built a career as a charismatic interpreter of both standard repertoire and new works. A native Floridian, he now resides in Boston with his husband Marc where he performs as a soloist and choral musician. Passionate about musical storytelling, he’s created and produced his own cabaret shows for audiences in Boston and New York City. In addition to performing, Wes now also works as an Income Manager at The Bulfinch Group focused on wealth-building strategies for his clients.
Performance highlights include the title character in Rossini's Le Comte Ory with Lowell House Opera, Oronte in Handel's Alcina with Opera del West, Gastone in Verdi's La Traviata with Southern Vermont Lyric Theatre, the workshop of Rev 23 with Beth Morrison Projects, among others. Wes received his M.M. in Opera Performance from The Boston Conservatory in May 2015. In 2013 he graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in Vocal Performance and a minor in Germanic Studies. While attending the University of Maryland he made his operatic stage debut as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte with Hub Opera Ensemble.
Lyric coloratura soprano Mary Johnston Letellier brings her warm, expressive voice and strong dramatic instincts to a wide variety of repertoire.
This spring, Ms. Letellier will originate the role of Conrad/Conradine in The Secret Princess at Snowlion Repertory Theatre and make her debut as soprano soloist in Haydn's The Seasons with Assabet Valley Mastersingers. This past fall, Ms. Letellier appeared as Violetta in Mass Opera’s unique production of La Traviata. Recently, Ms. Letellier covered the role of First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Maine, where she appears regularly as a member of the company’s professional ensemble. This summer, she joins their production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.
Ms. Letellier originated the role of the Narrator in the premiere of Mesmerized with Snowlion Repertory. Other recent engagements on the musical theater stage include Julie/Carrie/Nettie/Louise in Carousel at Tophat Toy Theater, Franca Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza and The Ghost of Christmas past in The Christmas Carol: The Musical, both at Biddeford City Theater. Broadwayworld.com called her performance as Franca “one of the highlights of the show.”
Also a sought after concert performer, Ms. Letellier has recently been a featured soloist in programs with Lyric Music Theater, Opera Maine, Port City Blue, Biddeford City Theater, and others. This past season, she was particularly proud to lend her voice to the concert Still Dreaming: A Tribute to MLK at Milton Community Concerts, and to the Black Lives Matter Faculty Concert at University of Southern Maine. She is an active performing member of Opera on Tap: Maine (where she is also the Founder and Co-Manager), The Portland Rossini Club, and the Marston-Kotzschmar Music Club.
This fall, Ms. Letellier will start work on her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at New England Conservatory. She received her Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Opera Performance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she appeared as Peep Bo in The Mikado, Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief, The Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas and many others. She was a member of the Young Artist Program at Seagle Music Colony and has also studied at Flagstaff in Fidenza (Italy). She is currently on faculty at the University of Southern Maine, 317 Main Community Music Center, and the Portland Conservatory of Music, in addition to maintaining a busy private vocal studio.
Baritone Philip Lima has regularly garnered critical acclaim for his performances on both concert and operatic stages: “His singing was glorious” (The Boston Globe) – “vibrant baritone and a commanding presence” (Cleveland The Plain Dealer) – “keen musicianship along with total dramatic intention.” (Opera News Online).
He has sung leading operatic roles in Germany and for regional American opera companies in repertoire ranging from traditional favorites by Handel, Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi; to important works of twentieth century masters such as Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, and Viktor Ullmann; to the comic masterworks of Gilbert and Sullivan. Of particular note have been his featured roles in the world premieres of operas by jazz greats Leslie Burrs, Nathan Davis, and Mary Watkins, and by award-winning composer Larry Bell.
Mr. Lima has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops and over seventy orchestras, choral societies, and concert series across the United States and in Korea and Ukraine in beloved choral works of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Fauré, Handel, Mendelssohn, Orff, and Vaughan Williams, as well as works by Bernstein (Arias and Barcarolles and major excerpts from Mass), Dave Brubeck (The Light in the Wilderness), Mahler (Kindertotenlieder), Ravel (Don Quichotte à Dulcinée), and Lee Hoiby (his setting of the “I Have a Dream” speech of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).
The Assistant Chair of Berklee College of Music’s Voice Department, Mr. Lima is a frequent recitalist whose performance of Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Beverly Orlove was cited by The Boston Phoenix in an annual summary of Boston’s “Unforgettable Classical Events.” Mr. Lima’s work is featured in the recording of pioneering African-American composer Florence Price’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight that won the 2020 American Prize for the Performance of American Music.
More information about Mr. Lima is available at philiplima.com, and at his YouTube channel, PhilipLimaSings.
Native of Kyiv, Ukraine, Olga Lisovska holds degrees from Middlebury College, École Normale de Musique d'A. Cortot in Paris, France and L'Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris, France. A critically acclaimed classical singer, Olga's career involves both singing on prestigious concert stages, including Carnegie Hall, and producing successful projects with Talents of the World, an international concert organization. Olga produced award-winning opera productions at Commonwealth Lyric Theater, a Boston-based opera company, and Talents of the World's Annual Music Festival at Carnegie Hall. As a performer, Ms. Lisovska’s concerts have been featured on Ukrainian, Italian and American TV. She is a director and judge of the prestigious Talents of the World Annual International Voice Competition. Olga is also a founder of a nonprofit organization, Music, Arts and Fashion Productions. Being a passionate connector, Olga serves as Managing Partner at Sky International Center, the largest international social, cultural and business network of 20,000 members in New England. Ms. Lisovska is a sought-after voice teacher. As Russian and Ukrainian diction coach she has coached Tanglewood Festival Chorus at Boston Symphony, Odyssey Opera, New England Conservatory and Commonwealth Lyric Theater. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Olga has partnered up with a team of friends to found Sky Philanthropy, a non-profit organization, which seeks to support people in crisis. Current mission is to help as many Ukrainian children and adults with humanitarian aid, accommodations for refugees and medical assistance as possible.
Olga’s life purpose is to inspire positive change through connections for life, coaching and art performances. www.OlgaLisovskaya.com
Praised as a “gorgeous, mellifluous mezzo. . . with vivid expression and engaging intensity," by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, mezzo-soprano ROSELIN OSSER has excelled in comic and whimsical opera roles including The Fox in The Little Prince with NEMPAC Opera Project, The Astronomer in Jack and Jill and the Happening Hill with Salt Marsh Opera, the title role in El Gato con Botas (The Spanish “Puss-in-Boots”) with OperaHub, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado with Opera Providence, and Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Longwood Opera. Also a passionate concert artist, recent performances include alto soloist in Bach’s Magnificat with the Providence Singers, Mozart’s Requiem with the Masterworks Chorale, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Easton Chamber Music Festival. Osser has combined her lifelong passion for performing arts with strong motivation to reduce human impact on the environment. She earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Building Technology from Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in parallel to her vocal studies, now balancing an unusual dual career as both a classical singer and energy consultant for prominent New England green building projects. To learn more, please visit www.RoselinOsser.com.
Soprano Brianna J. Robinson is a native of Ravenna, Ohio. Recently, Ms. Robinson was named a finalist in the 2021 Benjamin Matthews Vocal Competition with Opera Ebony. She has been a Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist with the Boston Lyric Opera since 2018. During her time with BLO she has performed the role of Lucy in Spears’ Fellow Travelers, and covered three principal roles in The Handmaid’s Tale. In Boston, her most recent work includes singing the role of Florence Price in Florence Comes Home by Francine Trester with Shelter Music Boston, and being a featured soloist in the Boston Landmarks Orchestra 2020 and 2021 summer seasons. Previously, she was a Rising Artist with Pegasus Early Music, performing in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Ms. Robinson performed the title role in Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina with the Baroque performance ensemble, Collegium Musicum. She has participated in international programs including the Berlin Opera Academy and Opernfest Prague. She made her international debut in Ruse, Bulgaria in 2021 creating the role of Ophelia in the world premiere of Joseph Summer’s Hamlet. In January 2020, Ms. Robinson was awarded first prize at the 6th Getting to Carnegie Competition at Carnegie Hall, New York City. Ms. Robinson is a proud graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Eastman School of Music.
Tenor Fran Rogers is highly sought after for his "athletic, free" and "incredibly beautiful" tenor sound.
He has performed on stages around the world and with some of the world's foremost ensembles. For more information and for future engagements, please visit www.franrogers.com.
Fran is also a co-founder of www.sparrowlive.com, a platform dedicated to helping artists scale a career and leverage their artistry to find new sources of sustainable revenue."
Soprano Emily Tweedy has been hailed as “a delight”, “warm and inviting”, and Opera Today praised her voice for its “genuine beauty and control”. She is in demand for her clarity of tone and earnest interpretations, as well as her comedic instinct. Recent seasons included appearances as Gretel in Opera Louisiane’s Hansel and Gretel, Serpina in Painted Sky Opera’s retelling of La serva padrona, as well as her role debut as Susanna in Bel Cantanti Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro. A lover of new music as well, she recently had the privilege of singing in the world premiere of Francine Trester’s Keepers of the Light with Nahant Music Festival. Other recent appearances include artist Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Keiser’s Markuspassion with Nahant Music Festival, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the New England Brass Band.
Previous seasons have included engagements with Des Moines Metro Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, American Lyric Theater, Burnt Hills Oratorio Society, the Boston Art Song Society, and Boston’s Eureka Ensemble. A Georgia native, Ms. Tweedy currently resides in New England, where she earned the degree Master of Music at the New England Conservatory.
Timothy Steele is an active vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and conductor, and has taught for twenty-nine years on the opera faculty at New England Conservatory. He has conducted for outreach tours with the Boston Lyric Opera and is a former music director for Opera Providence. He has served as assistant conductor/pianist for over 190 productions with twenty-five opera companies, including Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera, Central City Opera, and Opera Maine. He assisted with the Pulitzer Prize winning opera MADAME WHITE SNAKE for productions in Boston and Taiwan and the OUROBOROS TRILOGY in 2016, and for three years collaborated with WaterFire-Providence on a unique and popular series of opera evenings. For the last eight years he has been music director at First Parish of Milton-UU and producer of Milton Community Concerts. In Boston he has performed with Emmanuel Music, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, among others.