Our growing up was rich with music. The mandolin, accordion, trumpet and piano were as much a staple in our home as were flour, Parmigiano, and tomato sauce. One grouping fed our hearts, and the other fed our stomachs. If our Sicilian mother, Giuseppina, wasn't singing in the kitchen, then our Neopolitan father Filippo was either teaching trumpet to the boys or playing instruments himself. It was no small wonder then, that my younger sister, Isabella, took to the old piano like a fish in water, and made teaching and performing her life's work. Did I say work? No, I meant her life's love! We really weren't exposed to Opera, save for arias contemporized by singers like Mario Lanza, Sergio Franchi and Tito Schipa, because my Dad would say "Madama Butterfly make me too sad" and my Mom would say that the arias would "go into your brain." When the opportunity to accompany singers at a local cafe some twelve years ago presented itself, Isabella began an adventure that would take us to wonderful places and I hung on for the ride. The series "Opera Night" was born. Over the years, the caliber of singers has been stellar, the venue host always gracious and accommodating, and a future full of the prospects of bringing great music to our devoted patrons ensued. Many accomplished musicians have graced our stages as have interesting characters. The world of art and music, which Opera Night often pairs together, can be most colorful. Singers have gone on with our blessings to further their careers, and we joyfully are thrilled when they return to perform. Our family has grown to include interns, artistic directors, designers, chamber musicians, and a lovely growing audience. We thank our donors of the past, and we ask future patrons to help our series move forward.  What would our parents have thought if they were still singing and cooking in the kitchen and playing instruments in the living room? I can almost hear them now.  

July, 2016
 July 1st, (Friday) at 8:00 pm: Opera Night, Long Island performs in Huntington Station)

Robert Cinnante, tenor
Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano
Lauren Haber, soprano
Bruce Solomon, baritone
Mina Cuesta, soprano


Opera Night in Northport 
Saturday, May 7th, 2016 3:00 pm

Memos from Maddalena

At the helm of Opera Night's production of "Suor Angelica," was soprano with a flair, Danielle Davis. Her artistry of vocal and administrative acumen was only surpassed by her ability to orchestrate an extraordinary event such as this Puccini's masterpiece. The eight chosen singers, in full concert attire were assembled and rehearsed by Danielle, Jessica Stolte Bender, and pianist Isabella, to near perfection. The somber tale of a woman banished away to a convent because of disgracing her noble family, was underlined and driven forward by the wonderful pianist, Jesse Pieper, and performed by singers, Danielle Davis, Kristin Starkey, Jessica Stolte Bender, Theresa Dunigan, Sonya Rice, Lorraine Helvick, Kate Wood and Emillee Carratala. A tear was not spared by our patrons, nor were the compliments during the reception. But then again, the elements were all there. The genius of Puccini, the beautiful voices, the storyline of love, loss, scandal, betrayal, and unbounded human cruelty. For this is the essence of opera, and when our opera devotees come and become a part of Opera Night's event such as Suor Angelica, an emergence of creativity on all levels arise, and we are indeed awed and made better for it. It is a held notion that although Puccini was not political, his operas were a way of sending a message to a larger audience. In a review of "Il Trittico" from a 1920 New York Times paper, a critic speaks of women who were weeping in the aisles. When Danielle Davis sings "Senza Mama," I too get weepy. Oh those Italians! How impressive to us that eight women in limited space, one opera, one pianist, could fill the room with so much joy as it did. Special mention to contralto, Kristin Starkey in her gripping role of "La Principessa." Puccini understood the range of the singing voice, and how the musical score can enliven all emotions in us, good and evil, and translate this to the audience. The production was a hit, and there is now talk of a repeat performance possibly in a new venue. At the risk of blabbing a secret, I hear word around that a "Tosca" presentation is in the works. You didn't hear that from me.   


Opera Night in Northport
Saturday, February 20th at 7:30
270 Main Street
Northport, NY
7:30 pm

Past Concerts and events:
most recent mailing

Opera Night 
270 Main Street 
(St. Paul's United Methodist)

Saturday, December 19, 2015,  
7:30 pm
Entertainment and festivities 

Opera Night Gala, September 13th, 2015
Northport, Long Island

Read our September Newsletter for more detail... Click HERE

August 16th, 2015
 Steinway Piano Gallery, Melville  Long Island
3:00 and 5:00
"Pianists' Gathering" 

Introduction and Performance
Isabella Eredita Johnson
and Joseph Patrych

Daniel Berman:
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): Intermezzo in E-flat, Op. 117, #1
Frederic Chopin(1810-1849): Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53

Doris Anne McMullen:
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Preludes Op. 23 #4 in D major and #5 in g minor

Malgorzata Goroszewska:
Frederic Chopin: F minor Ballade, op. 52

Melissa Lanfrit-Hait: Liszt:
Frederic Chopin: Andante from the Andante Spianato, Op.22
Franz Liszt (1811-1886): Valse oubliee No.1 in F# major

Lance LaBianca:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Rondo in D major, kv 485, Allegro

Daniel Fogel:
Frederic Chopin: Impromptu no. 4 in c# minor, Op. 66 ("Fantasie-Impromptu")

Esther Chung Marks:
Franz Liszt: "Three Concert Etudes" S.144, No.3
"Un sospiro" ("a sigh")
Dedication of this event to Roz Joel
Feb. 15, 1922- July 13, 2014

Isabella Eredita Johnson

"An Afternoon with Robert Nunn's Setauket piano"
Sunday, June 14, 2015 3:00-5:00
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
33 Christian Avenue

Setauket, New York

Isabella Eredita Johnson, piano
Kayla Dempsey, cello
Lauren Murray, violin/viola
Jessica Stolte Bender, soprano
Arthur Lai, tenor
Danielle Davis, soprano
Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano
Cheryl Savitt Spielman, soprano
Bob Westcott, guitarist
Maria Fairchild, folk singer

An Afternoon with Robert Nunns’ Setauket Piano

Charlotte Koons plays the role of Clara Schumann, Bruce Teifer as Robert Nunns.

Clara Schumann’s piano trio in g minor, “Andante” movement
Isabella Eredita Johnson, piano
Kayla Dempsey, cello
Lauren Murray, violin
“I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose - there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?”- Clara Schumann, in her diary on 26 November 1839.

Schubert’s “Gretchen am Spinnrade”                                            
Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano

“M’appari tutt’amor (Cavatina) from Martha by Friedrich von Flotow                        
Arthur Lai, tenor

“Er ist gekommen in Sturm und Regen” (Ruckert poem)
“Liebst du um Schonheit” (Ruckert poem) by Clara Schumann           
Cheryl Savitt Spielman, soprano

Robert Nunns speaks about the piano. Many fine houses and every genteel family owned a piano, a sign of culture and refinement. 

“Ah, Love, but a Day!”
from Three Browning Songs Opus 44 – poems by Robert Browning, music by Amy Beach                             Jessica Stolte Bender, soprano

 “Liebestraum”            by Franz Liszt                                                                                               
            Danielle Davis, soprano


Robert Nunns speaks about the Civil War, and bankruptcy. The Music of popular composers such as Stephen Foster soothed peoples hardships: “Hard times come again no more” was published in New York by Firth, Pond & Co. in 1854 as Foster’s Melodies No. 28. Well-known and popular in its dayboth in America and Europe, the song asks the fortunate to consider the plight of the less fortunate and ends with one of Foster’s favorite images: “a pale drooping maiden”. Foster’s own life ended in abject penury, which adds to the poignancy of the lyrics.

“Hard Times Come Again No More” by Stephen Foster         
Bob Westcott, guitar; Maria Fairchild, folk singer

•  Demonstration of the Nunns piano, renovation by Michael Costa – Costa Piano Shoppes:  •

“Fur Elise” by Ludwig van Beethoven
            Isabella Eredita Johnson, piano

“The Soireé”: Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor, First movement
Isabella Eredita Johnson, piano
Kayla Dempsey, cello
Lauren Murray, violin

Zueignung” by Richard Strauss                                                                              
Danielle Davis, soprano

“The Year’s at the Spring”
“I Send My Heart up to Thee”
from Three Browning Songs Opus 44 – poems by Robert Browning, music by Amy Beach
Jessica Stolte Bender, soprano

“Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway!” by Stephen Foster
“If You’ve Only Got A Moustache”
Cheryl Savitt Spielman, soprano

“Beautiful Dreamer” by Stephen Foster                                                                            
Arthur Lai, tenor

“Deh tu bell’anima” from “I Caopuleti e Montecchi” (from Guilietta e Romeo) by Bellini
Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano

Singers accompanied by Isabella Eredita Johnson, playing a Steinway grand provided by Michael Costa.

A childhood friend from Northport (Michael Costa, owner of the "Piano Shoppe) is restoring an 1860 square grand for the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket 
(the factory was in Setauket from 1856-1867)
The "Nunns and Clark" piano factory is a great interest for the "Three Village Historical Society," and they have asked us to put together a musical afternoon/fundraiser benefiting the Historical Society on June 14th.
We are organizing a piano recital program, with other instrumentalists. Some features will include movements from the Clara Schumann Piano trio in g minor (movements one and three), Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer," a song by Amy Beach, Schubert's "Gretchen am Spinnrade" and more. In this concert, two pianos will be provided. We will play on a piano provided by Michael Costa's Piano Shoppe, along with a short sample performance on the restored Nunn piano.

(Photo above)
March 6th
Opera Night in Northport
270 Main Street
(Suffolk County, New York)

March Newsletter (click the "M")

Opera Night honors

Roz Joel, Feb.15, 1922-July 13, 2014

photo above: Roz's 92nd birthday with friends. 
Opera Night's most enthusiastic member. We thank Roz for her joy and love of music which she shared with so many of us. . 

Past concerts: 2014
October 26th Opera Night in Garden City
Garden City Museum

October 26, 3p.m. (Seating at 2:30) Opera for a Sunday Afternoon:
Production by Opera Night, Long Island. Tickets available at the A. T. Stewart Exchange on the lower level of the Museum. Call: 516-746-8900
Performers: Jessica Stolte Bender, soprano, Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano, Arthur Lai, tenor

A review by Maddalena Harris:
"Album leaf" by Saint Saens performed by Isabella and James set the stage for what evolved into a wonderful evening of music appreciation. This masterful piano duet highlighted the skillful interplay of two artistes and the written notes on the sheet. For these gifted pianists to interpret great music and then share these works of genius.. well what can I say but its a beautiful thing! (especially for those of us whose lives are enriched through music). Bravo tutti due! Bass-Baritone, Gary commands the stage when he sang "La calunnia" from Rossini's Barber of Seville. Later on we were treated to a Broadway classic, "Luck be a lady tonight," from Guys and Dolls. Gary demonstrates that opera singers are a versatile bunch, and lightening up the drama and depth of opera is a refreshing departure every now and then. Soprano, Danielle takes us to Rome when she performs "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca, a heart wrenching plea to God to release her from her tragic circumstance. We all share in her sorrow as she sings in a most engaging fashion,"Dio, why have done me this way." Tenor, Arthur performed for us "Ecco ridente" from Barber of Seville. Arthur's love of opera is not lost on us. We feel his portrayal of Count Almaviva in this aria is of one whose heart is in his hands and his vulnerability gets him caught in life's fickle paths. This is the charge to the singers, to take what the great composers write about send it out there for us to make of it as we will. Art imitates life, and the opera composers know this all too well. "Ecco ridente" is an example of the bel canto style. The words melodic and poetic as one stanza reads,"O moments of love ! Oh sweet contentedness! Precious moment it has no equal!" Thank-you, Arthur. The vastness of the opera world is ours for the asking and soprano, Theresa's repertoire is impressive. Singing "Quando m'en vo," she vamps it up, sits with our patrons at the cafe and lets us know in no uncertain terms that "men find her most desireable." Cheryl is a soprano with a flair for center stage and she easily enveloped us in sweet refrain when she sang "Vilia" by Lehar. James presented Lizst's "Tristan and Isolda" transcription. Our listeners were enrapt. This is no ordinary work in the piano literature. In spite of its difficulty and demands, James managed to caress each note that needed caressing and dominated the notes that called for his control and passion. He leaves us wanting more, and yet we remained fully sated and happy. But then we expect nothing less of a pianist who is complex, driven, sweet and intense. As a bit of trivia,it took Vladimir Horowitz three days to record this piece to his satisfaction and then four days later he died in Nov.1989.

The Opera Night staff would like to thank the Universalist Unitarian for its generosity of heart and enthusiasm for the arts. We look ahead for a busy November and December. Check our web site for details,

Recent program (October 26th in Garden City)

"Zueignung" , op. 10 #1 by Richard Strauss
Jessical Stolte Bender

"Habanera" from Carmen by Georges Bizet
Lorraine Helvick

"La Donna e mobile" from Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi

"Quando m'en vo" from La Boheme, by Giacomo Puccini
Jessica, soprano

"Ai nostri monti" from Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
Arthur and Lorraine

"Air de Lia" from L'enfant prodigue" by Claude Debussy

"O don fatale" from Don Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi

"Ecco ridente" from Barber of Seville by Gioacchino Rossini

"Ave Maria" from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni

"Lakme" Duet by Leo Delibes
Jessica and Lorraine

(Encore: Libiamo from La Triaviata by Giuseppe Verdi
with Jessica, Arthur, Lorraine and Audience)

Opera Night's July, 2014 concert in Oyster Bay
July 12th, 2014 Saturday 7:30 pm
 Opera Night in Oyster Bay
61 East Main Street

Ariana Warren, mezzo soprano
"Things Change, Jo" from Little Women
"Faites lui mes aveux" from Faust

Theresa Dunigan, soprano
Ain't it a pretty night (Susannah)
Si, mi chiamano Mimi (La bohème)

Jessica Stolte Bender
The Song to the Moon
"Chi'l bel sogno" (Doretta's aria) from La Rondine

Arthur Lai, tenor
"Vaghissima sembianza" by S. Donaudy.
"Ah si, ben mio" from Verdi's "ll Trovatore"
Duet with Lorraine: "Ai nostri monti" from "Il Trovatore" with me?

Mary DeMarco Lee, soprano 
Ebben! Non andro lontano, La Wally

Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano
Mon Couer s'ouvre a ta vois, Samson and Delilah, Saint Saens
Joan of Arc's Aria from Pique Dame

Jeanny Schwartz, mezzo soprano
Come away, Death, Roger Quilter
Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffman, duet Jacques Offenbach with Marie Sanfratello, soprano

Maurizio Caza, tenor
Il mio Tesoro -Don Giovanni
Questa o quella Rigoletto

Heather Wells, soprano
'Steal me Sweet Thief' from Menotti's the Old Maid and the Thief
'Les Filles de Cadix' by Leo Delibes

Dawn Zahralban, soprano
Poor Wandering One, Gilbert and Sullivan
Lo! Hear the Gentle Lark by Henry Bishop 
Leslie Strait, guest flutist

7:30 pm: pre-concert of piano selections performed by James Besser and Isabella Eredita Johnson. Mendelssohn's "Allegro Brillant" op.92, four-hand piano duet,
Debussy's "Clair de Lune" and Improvisation

Below: Past concerts include: 
Sunday, February 23, 2017

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Add caption

A note from our assistant director:
What has become of our Opera House? 

Inisfada: 1920-2013
Nearly half of the immense, 93-year-old St. Ignatius
demolished, Dec. 2013

Dreams are never dashed, only transformed and created anew.  Adversity 
can empower us in our quest to further the good news about opera. All our 
patrons know that one of our biggest and most triumphant galas took
place in the Manhasset mansion "Inisfada" on May 19, 2013. How we 
dreamed and fantasized having our own Opera home there, made many 
phone calls and worked hard towards that goal. Although that majestic 
estate has been reduced to rubble, it only served to strengthen our resolve 
to shore up the new "Opera Night" series in many positive ways.  Our board
of directors have grown in numbers, and we hold brainstorming 
sessions often to see how we can change, grow and improve. Our schedule
 of events are planned in six month increments and are usually posted in 
the back of our programs.  The monies we raise are judiciously spent towards
 this end, many times on a shoe string budget.  We have gained our 
not for profit status and our generous contributors can accrue tax incentives 
by donating.  The stipends we can give our singers assures us of their 
professionalism and participation in our concerts. Our contacts are growing
 as is our wonderful reputation. 2014 will see additional venues, new
 singers, and excitement that grows with every performance.  We now can
 offer free passes to newcomers, with hopes that they fall in love with what we 
 do.  Let us know your ideas, help us fund our projects and bring friends to 
make a great night of it! 

"Art on the Vine" Opera Night performs for the Friends of the Seminary of Lloyd Harbor
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Opera Comes to Garden City
photos, click  here


November 17th:
Opera comes to Garden City
Garden City Historical Museum
Sunday at 3:00
Barbara Divis, soprano
Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano
Robert Murphy, tenor
Isabella Eredita Johnson, piano accompanist
reservations required.
Call:Garden City Historical Society Museum

109 11th StGarden CityNY 11530
(516) 741-4145

program: "Habanera" from Carmen by Georges Bizet
Lorraine Helvick, mezzo soprano
"Quanto e Bella" from L'elisire d'amore by Gaetano Donizetti
Robert Murphy, tenor
"O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
Barbara Divis, soprano
"Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" from Samson and Delila by Camille Saint Saen
Lorraine Helvick
"Un bel di vedremo" from Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Barbara Divis
"Ah, mes amis" from the Daughter of the Regiment by Gaetano Donizetti
Robert Murphy
Duet from Lakme by Leo Delibes
Barbara Divis and Lorraine Helvick

November 15th
Sons of Italy of Franklin Square
Celebration of Verdi's 200's birthday
Barbara Divis, soprano
Isabella Eredita Johnson, piano accompanist

for additional info: 631-261-8808

(read about our 10th year anniversary here)

Below: An Opera Night Highlight that took place
May 19th, 2013 
Opera Night Gala
at the "Inisfada" mansion in Manhasset

mansion: 1920-2013

more photos by Ed Lee, click here

This large body of professional operatic singers plus their piano accompanist will present an entertaining assortment of vocal excerpts from famous and beloved operas.
for information:

pictured (above) Opera Night in South Huntington, December 1, 2012
Bethany Presbyterian Church

(Below) Pianist Roman Markovich plays Chopin 

Opera Night Gala
Sunday, October 28th, 2012

 Photo credit: Mike Krasowitz

Click here for more photos-- enjoy the many photos taken by Mike Krasowitz and Bruce Johnson.


Click here to subscribe to our newsletters.

Who Are We?

Opera Night Long Island is a not-for-profit community-based arts organization. It started seven years ago when Isabella Eredita Johnson took command of a honky-tonk piano at Caffe Portafino on Main Street in Northport and invited a handful of residents each month to enjoy an evening of classical music. Since then, Opera Night’s audiences have grown substantially. Our performances now take place at St. Paul’s Church and other venues on Long Island. Audiences typically number between 100 and 200 people.

What Do We Do?

Nowadays, attending an opera or a classical music concert in New York City can cost a family hundreds of dollars. At Opera Night Long Island, we provide quality performances for a fraction of that amount at easily accessible local venues. Although our concerts focus primarily on opera arias, our professional artists also perform art songs, Neapolitan classics, show tunes, and piano pieces. Enthusiastic audiences enjoy listening to a variety of musical masterpieces.

for more information: call 631- 261-8808

Click this image to read recent article

Click this image to read recent article
Opera Night in Lindenhurst