Opera Index honors Stephen De Maio at spring lunch

May 19, 2014 By Nino Pantano Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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On the afternoon of Sunday, May 4 at the Marriott Essex House in Manhattan, Stephen De Maio, president of the Gerda Lissner Foundation, was honored for his outstanding contributions through several organizations to the world of opera, and his leadership and support of the careers of younger opera singers.

De Maio was born in Newark to a musical family and was the director of opera master classes at Marymount Manhattan College for 17 years. Countless singers have attained success through his encouragement and support.

De Maio evolved in time to become a legend in the opera world, loyal to his friends and the singers he supported. His many accomplishments loom large and have set the way for the future of opera.

Murray Rosenthal, the ever-enthusiastic president of Opera Index spoke of De Maio’s countless successes and how helpful The Gerda Lissner Foundation has been in support of Opera Index singers. Opera Index is now in its third decade of assisting young opera singers with talent attain their goals.

Legendary mezzo–soprano Rosalind Elias, a recent honoree, introduced De Maio and spoke with great passion about his numerous achievements and of their first meeting at the old Metropolitan Opera, when she was a “star” and he a “standee with great knowledge and a true love of opera.”

Opera singers Danielle Pastin, Takaoki Onishi, Adam Bonanni and Sydney Mancasola, accompanied by the superb pianist Michael Fennelly sang with fervor and love to pay homage to Stephen De Maio. New Metropolitan Opera star Angela Meade sent a letter of praise.

Other attendees included famed soprano Elaine Malbin, Midge Woolsey of PBS and her husband Jerry Stolt, Metropolitan Opera soprano legend Eleanor Ross, Maestro Eve Queler, Duane Printz from Teatro Grattacielo, Brooklynite Bill Ronayne from the Mario Lanza Society, Cav. Uff. Aldo and Lisa Mancusi from The Enrico Caruso Museum in Brooklyn and opera lecturer Lou Barrella.

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