Arias and Ensembles by Mozart and Vocal Music by Haydn, Beethoven, Richard Strauss, and others

November 14, 2019 | 7:30 PM

On Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 7:30 pm, at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, Friends of Mozart presents young artists from the Juilliard School in New York, in a concert of arias and duets from Mozart operas and music by Haydn, Beethoven, Offenbach, Bizet, Richard Strauss, Barber, and Gershwin.  Deborah Love, soprano, Erin Wagner, mezzo-soprano, Ian Matthew Castro, tenor, and Aaron Keeney, baritone, are accompanied by Grace Francis, pianist, in a program that exemplifies the range of vocal expression in Mozart’s stage works and repertoire from Haydn and Beethoven and music of the 20th century, including vocal duets.


American soprano Deborah Love hails from Harlem in New York City.  Ms. Love is currently enrolled in the Graduate Diploma program at the Juilliard School where she studies with Doc White.  She is a recent graduate of the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, where she earned her Master of Music degree in 2019 and studied with baritone Sidney Outlaw. In 2017, Deborah Love made her international debut as First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, led by Olaf Storbeck at the German National Theater (Deutsches Nationaltheater) in Weimar. She was the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Queens College Choral Society in 2017. She made her American debut as the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in 2018 and sang the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Aaron Copland School of Music in March 2019. Ms. Love graduated with a B.A. in Italian and a minor in music from St. John’s University in 2013.

Mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner, from El Paso, Texas, is a master’s student and studies with Darrell Babidge at the Juilliard School.  During the upcoming 2019-2020 season, her Juilliard performances include the role of Anne in Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, WQXR’s Midday Masterpieces, and Lydia Brown’s Liederabend which will feature new compositions. Her undergraduate degree is from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell and performed in Mozart’s Requiem, as Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring, and participated in the Warren Jones seminar.  She received the 2019 Bonnie Lincoln Voice Scholarship at the Chautauqua Institution where she performed Hippolyta in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, covered Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, and collaborated with Mikael Eliason in recital. In 2018, Ms. Wagner was awarded the Colburn Fellowship at SongFest and attttended Matthew Rose’s Scuola di Bel Canto. Her scene credits include La clemenza di Tito (Sesto, Annio), Così fan Tutte (Dorabella), Le Nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), Pasatieri’s Black Widow (Raquel), and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Dido).

Tenor Ian Matthew Castro, from northern New Jersey, is a first-year master’s student at the Juilliard School where he studies with Dr. Edith Wiens. He received his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Montclair State University. His recent performances included the role of Ferrando in Light Opera of New Jersey’s production of Così Fan Tutte, Oronte in Music Academy International’s production of Alcina, and as the Male Chorus in Montclair State University’s The Rape of Lucretia. Mr. Castro has been awarded Montclair States’ Benjamin Wilkes Scholarship and recognized by the College of the Arts Advisory Board. He has also placed first in the National Association of Teachers of Singing, New York Division Competition. He has gained additional training at well-recognized programs such as the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany, Lingua e Canto, Italy, and Respiro Opera, NYC. 

Baritone Aaron Keeney is a second-year master’s student at the Juilliard School, where he studies with Doc White. Recently, he has performed Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Juilliard Lab Orchestra and covered Leporello in Juilliard’s production of Don Giovanni. He also toured with Apollo’s Fire as part of the group’s Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain concert series. This past summer, Keeney covered Schaunard in La Bohème at Des Moines Metro Opera. Recent awards include an encouragement award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation and the Nelson Eddy Scholarship. Favorite past roles include Guglielmo in Così Fan Tutte, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, and both Count Almaviva and Figaro in Le Nozze de Figaro. On the concert stage, he has been a soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.

Pianist Grace Francis, from Cambridge, New Zealand, completed her Bachelor of Music degree in solo piano performance, with First Class Honours, from the University of Auckland in 2014. She made her professional concerto debut in 2012 performing Mozart’s Concerto in G major, K. 453 with Bach Musica. She has also performed with seven other orchestras throughout New Zealand and given concerts abroad.  Ms. Francis’s love is collaborative music. She has worked as a répétiteur and accompanist for the New Zealand Opera Company, University Opera projects, National Aria Competition, and as Assistant Musical Director of GALS (Gay and Lesbian Singers). She has been deeply involved in the Auckland music community for the past eight years as a mentor and educator, and between 2014 and 2019 acted as Assistant Musical Director of the Auckland Youth Choir, which toured to Carnegie Hall in 2016 and the Australian International Music Festival in 2019. Grace Francis is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at the Juilliard School, where she began studies in the Master of Music in Collaborative Piano (Vocal) program under Professor Lydia Brown this fall. Ms. Francis is a Fulbright Scholar and attends the Juilliard School with the support of a Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Award.