Manhattan Opera Association Hits High Note at Bar Harbour

Opera company takes part in distinguished artists program.

It may not have been the Met, but an opera performance at the still brought spine tingling thrills to a Massapequa audience recently.

Music fans young and old were entranced by the magical vocal performance by The Manhattan Opera Association, who took part in the Town of Oyster Bay's Distinguished Artist Series.  

 The group consisted of five members:  soprano Tonia Manteneri; mezzo soprano Antonia Garza Szilagi; contralto Barbara Norcia-Broms; tenor Martin Broms and pianist Richard Mechamkin.  

They worked together seamlessly, putting together a two hour program featuring arias, duets, and trios from a wide range of operas.  

Martin Broms created the Manhattan Opera Association when he gathered a group of his friends to perform. They started out as a full blow opera company.  

“We used to have a full orchestra, staged show with costumes," said Norcia-Broms, the artistic director for the group. "But in 1992 we changed it to a concert version."

It seems to have been a smart move. The company put together a moving program.

Highlights included Szilagi’s performance of "Habenera" from Georges Bizet's "Carmen," the ensemble’s performance of the opening scene from Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" and the tear jerking performance of Manteneri in the aria "Meine Lippen, Sie Kussen so heib" from the opera "La Guiddatta" by Franz Lehar.  

The group also lent a hand to those who might have been opera novices. They handed out a program that described each opera they sang selections from, along with a description of the song's context within the opera. This gave the audience a point of reference to envision each selectin. Each piece was sung  in the opera's original language.   

“I used to explain each piece verbally but I was told my explanation was longer than the actually piece,” Norcia-Broms joked.  

The performance would not have been as successful if it wasn’t for the brilliance of accompanist Richard Mechamkin. He effortlessly transitioned between styles and tempos creating the perfect mood for each piece lulling the audience into various fantasy worlds.  

The program was very well attended. Sue Makysm, the activities assistant for The Bristal Assisted Living in Massapequa brought a busload of eager residents to see the performance.  

“We get a lot of the mailings from various libraries, but when they heard about this, they really wanted to come," she said. "They love opera music and I love seeing them happy."  

At the end of the performance, the audience gave the Manhattan Opera Association a standing ovation. There was no dry eye in the house.  



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