By Nino Pantano
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Giulio Gari Foundation, named for the esteemed Metropolitan Opera tenor (1909-1994), has done much valuable work in its goal of assisting young talented singers to go forward in their careers via grants and scholarships.
Gloria Gari has continued her late husband’s work by establishing The Giulio Gari Foundation. Stephen De Maio, artistic director of The Giulio Gari Foundation, introduced operatic manager Robert Lombardo. He offered scholarships honoring his mother, who was an actress, and his grandfather, Louis D’Angelo, longtime Metropolitan Opera (Met) bass baritone comprimario (1917-1947).
The scholarship winners then demonstrated their talents. Baritone Tobias Greenhalgh performed a spirited “Largo al Factotum” (Figaro aria) from “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” He negotiated this vocal terrain with ease and sang it with a rapid-fire delivery with machismo bravado and manly swagger. He charmed and delighted the audience.
Soprano D’ Ana Lombard sang “Depuis le Jour” from Charpentier’s “Louise.” Her voice has a lovely creamy texture, and despite having arrived from L.A. that morning, she sailed smoothly and conquered. The finale was spun on a golden thread. The Met should return this long neglected masterpiece just for Ms. Lombard.
The final singer was Juan Jose De Leon from Corpus Christi, Texas, who sang Rossini’s “Si, Ritrovarla, io Giuro” from La Cenerentola with ease. His flexible tenor voice has a beautiful sheen and a robust quality. His upper reaches were thrilling.
The superb pianist Arlene Shrut accompanied the singers with exciting virtuosity.
The rest of the evening in Gloria Gari’s spacious West Side apartment on Dec. 20 allowed us to meet, greet and eat!
Like the venerated party giver Elsa Maxwell, Gloria Gari’s guest list featured a “Who’s Who” of charming and talented people -- family, patrons and performers alike. Among the many were such luminaries as former Met star Elinor Ross, famed Brooklyn-born soprano Elaine Malbin, conductor Eve Queler; Brooklynite Ken Benson, vocal consultant and Opera Quiz guest host for WQXR radio; cabaret star Paula Baron, columnist Polly Guerin and patron Louise Martone-Peluso, all of whom lent their enthusiastic support for the scholarship winners.