Monmouth Civic Chorus brings guest artists of the highest quality to our audiences.
Many of our soloists, directors, composers and scholarship winners have moved on to the world stage, thanks in some small part to the artistic growth, exposure and encouragement provided through our performances.
Barbara Dever most recently sang with us in our March 2007 world premiere of Jorge Martin’s Stronger Than Darkness, the performance that won us the Chorus America/ASCAP Alice Parker Award. She is also remembered by our audiences for her stirring work in the Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Handel’s Messiah, and a benefit recital with Mark Shapiro. A New Jersey native, she began her solo career with MCC under William R. Shoppell, Jr. in 1988 in Dvorák’s Stabat Mater. From her sensational debut as Amneris in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in 1994, she has been in demand throughout the world in the dramatic mezzo-soprano operatic and concert repertoire. Dever has been acclaimed by The New York Times for her “vibrant, dusky tone and plaintive beauty.” She has appeared in concert with Luciano Pavarotti on Pavarotti Plus – Great Performances at Lincoln Center, telecast live throughout North America. In 1998 she sang opposite Placido Domingo in Mexico City, and she has performed with such renowned conductors as James Levine and Zubin Mehta. Her recordings include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, and Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites with Riccardo Muti at La Scala in Milan.
Angela Meade made international news in 2007 for her debut at the Metropolitan Opera on short notice, in place of an ailing leading lady in Verdi’s Ernani, shortly after her appearance with MCC in Stronger Than Darkness. She has also been busy collecting top prizes from major competitions, including the Opera Index Foundation, the National Opera Association, the Fritz & Lavinia Jensen Foundation Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, the Loren L. Zachary Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Gerda Lissner Foundation. Her long list of awards and honors also includes first place in the Violetta Du Pont Opera at Florham Competition, first place in the James Parkinson Foundation Opera Competition, international grand finalist in the World Voice Masters Competition in Monaco, and Young Artist of the Year in the National Association of Teachers of Singing of Los Angeles Competition.
Jennifer Zetlan’s performance with us in Stravinsky’s Les Noces in April 2006 was a hit with audiences and critics. As Carlton Wilkinson observed in the Asbury Park Press, “The writing for soprano is particularly brilliant, and Zetlan infused it with power, precision and emotional abandon.” Since then she has performed with the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the New Juilliard Ensemble and the Marilyn Horne Foundation. Local opera fans got to hear her at McCarter Theatre with the Princeton Festival in Puccini’s La Boheme in 2008, and in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2009.
Sasha Cooke, our mezzo-soprano soloist in Les Noces, was seen on national television and in movie theaters worldwide in the Metropolitan Opera HDTV broadcast of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. That performance was singled out by John Yohalem inOpera Today: “of genuine magic there was only one moment all night: the aria of the Sandman, as sung by Sasha Cooke.” She portrayed Kitty Oppenheimer in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic, John Adams’ opera about the Manhattan Project, at the Metropolitan Opera in October 2008, broadcast worldwide in movie theaters and on public television.
Jo Ellen Miller
Jo Ellen Miller, a recipient of our 1999 scholarship, is the daughter of MCC’s treasurer Pat Miller and stage manager Steve Miller. Jo Ellen returned as our guest soloist in several concerts, and performed a benefit recital with Mark Shapiro at the piano in May 2008. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as the featured soloist with the Met Chamber Ensemble under Metropolitan Opera Maestro James Levine on December 6, 2009. As a Vocal Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, she coached with Maestro Levine on scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Jo Ellen sang with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops as soloist in their Bernstein on Broadway production, and worked as an Apprentice Artist with the Sarasota Opera. A graduate of Middletown High School South (Monmouth County NJ), she received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MM from the University of Michigan.
Eric Einhorn was an honoree in our 1998 vocal scholarship competition, and a winner of the 1999 MCC poetry contest with his poem Anonymous Prayer, set to music by composer Tom Cipullo and performed in the MCC commissioned work Voices of the Young. In May 2008, he worked with us again as stage director of the new musical Golden Gate. Eric has served on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera since 2005, working numerous new productions, including two world premieres: An American Tragedy and The First Emperor. He made his Glimmerglass Opera debut with a production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. From 2002-2004, he was the resident stage director for Great Music for a Great City at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a graduate of Holmdel High School and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Opera Directing & Voice Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Jody Sheinbaum won First Place in the 1989 MCC Scholarship Awards, and returned to Monmouth County for a recital in April 2007 to benefit MCC. Acclaimed for her “silky voice” (The New Music Connoisseur) and winsome stage presence, she has performed with opera companies and orchestras across the country, include the New York City Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Santa Fe Opera, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She is a graduate of Marlboro High School (Monmouth County NJ), the University of Pennsylvania and the Mannes College of Music.