We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


Ziwen Xiang, Gloria Kim (accompanist), Hong Kyung Kim, Olga Makarina,  Dina El, Quan Chen,  Daphne Mamoulides, Ephigenia Kastanas, Bin Shang

We love opera singers!  One of the qualities we love the most is their tendency to "pay it forward".  So many of our favorite singers are incredibly generous with their time and effort. By no means is this list complete, but Martina Arroyo comes to mind, and Joyce DiDonato, and Lauren Flanigan.  

Now the beloved soprano Olga Makarina has established Grand Stage International with a mission of establishing a community of young singers. Coachings, performance opportunities, mentoring and guidance will all play a part as young singers get a a chance to try out new material in front of an audience. YOU are invited to become part of this audience and we guarantee a fine listening experience.

Sunday was the initial offering and it just so happened to be Ms. Makarina's birthday, as well as that of one of the cast members. We enjoyed ourself so much it might as well have been a birthday gift for us!

We remembered soprano EphiGenia Kastanas from International Vocal Arts Institute and were very happy to hear her sing once more. We liked the pleading "Signore ascolta" from Puccini's Turandot and we loved "Telephone" by Menotti, due to Ms. Kastanas expressive face and voice which clearly demonstrated reactions to what she was hearing on the telephone.

Soprano Quan Chen charmed us with "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from Puccini's La Rondine. She also performed the passionate "Zueignung" by Richard Strauss.

Mezzo-soprano Dina El performed an aria unknown to us--"Magdalena's Aria" from Wilhelm Kienzl's Der Evangelimann. We thought she could do a lot more with the "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen but there was a good basis from which to expand, incorporating more of Carmen's personality and intention.

Hong Kyung Kim's innocent appearance worked to her advantage in "Depuis le jour" from Charpentier's Louise. She was lovely in the Act I duet from Puccini's La Bohême (which we have reviewed twice since this recital) with tenor Ziwen Xiang as her Rodolfo.

Mr. Xiang also sang "Ideale" by Tosti; well done and needing only a touch more "garlic".

Baritone Bin Shang gave a muscular performance of "Come dal ciel precipita" from Verdi's Macbeth. Banco is warning his son about the evil doings surrounding Duncan's death and Mr. Shang captured the doom.

Soprano Daphne Mamoulides performed Juliet's aria "Je veux vivre" from the Gounod opera and "Ach ich fuhl's" from Mozart's Zauberflöte.

It was a wonderful recital with everyone singing well with plenty of commitment. We are looking forward to the next recital and hope you will allow these young singers to entertain you.

(c) meche kroop


  1. Very beautiful concert. The performances were comnanding. Soprano EphiGenia Kastanas' performance of "Signore ascolta" was par excellence as was Bin Shang's performance of " Come dal ciel precipita".

  2. A very beautiful and riveting concert. Standouts were EphiGenia Kastanas' performance of "Signore ascolta" and Bin Shang's performance of "Come dal ciel precipita".