18th-Annual Christmas in Italy® starring Cristina Fontanelli
CRISTINA FONTANELLI, award-winning singer and PBS/WNET and NY affiliates host for Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble and Il Volo (www.cristinafontanelli.com), will perform her program of Italy’s best-loved songs, arias, and Neapolitan and Christmas classics in her 18th Annual “Christmas In Italy®” show at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood in Little Italy, NYC on Saturday, December 11 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, December 18 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $50, $45 (Seniors) and $25 (Children under 12) and are available thru Musae Tickets by calling (646) 481-9890 or on-line: Cristina Fontanelli | 18th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN ITALY® - Little Italy, NYC (musae.me) More information and group ticket discounts are available thru the office of The Cristina Fontanelli Foundation Inc./Fontanelli Productions LLC (212) 967-1926.
This beloved concert/event now in its’ 18th season, features award-winning Soprano Cristina Fontanelli singing traditional Italian songs including Torna a Surriento, Mamma, O sole mio and the classic Ave Maria plus Christmas classics such as White Christmas.
Accompanying Ms. Fontanelli are world-class musicians from The Metropolitan Opera: mandolinist Joyce Balint, and additional musicians t/b/a/ on piano, additional mandolins, guitar, accordion, trumpet and organ. A guest tenor will join Ms. Fontanelli to sing the famous duet “Brindisi,” from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and a crowd-pleasing tenor opera aria. The Christmas in Italy® Choir will sing “Silent Night”, a children’s choir/youth will sing the traditional Italian Christmas carol “Tu scendi dalle stelle” (“You came down from the stars”) and the children/youth of Staten Island’s Dream Studio for the Performing Arts (taught/choreographed by Melissa Ottaviano) will dance to “Dominick the Donkey” and more. If the supply chain “issues” are resolved we may even have a visit from Santa Claus!
Cristina Fontanelli has appeared often on television speaking about “Christmas in Italy®”. Here is one of her CBS-TV Weekend interviews and a performance of the well-known Neapolitan folk song “O sole mio”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0bBTUrqNug. Hailed a “Vocal Genius” by the New York Sun, Cristina Fontanelli’s “Christmas in Italy®” show is a love letter to her Italian heritage. Ms. Fontanelli says, “I began this beloved annual Holiday tradition to preserve Italy’s great classic and popular songs and to teach them, and more importantly the values and joy they represent, to younger generations. [HEADLINE]: “Cristina Fontanelli, Preserving Values Through Opera,” The Epoch Times, January 2014.
“Although we have been blessed to have held our beloved show in important music venues such as Carnegie Hall in the past, we have been able to go forward during this dreadful Covid pandemic by performing in wonderful and historic churches.” This year’s performance will take place in the Shrine of the Most Precious Blood in Little Italy, the little church built by the Italian immigrants because they were not allowed into the large cathedral in NYC’s Little Italy. This is bringing even more meaning to the 18-year history of “Christmas in Italy®”. Cristina Fontanelli’s family owned the original Italian Food Center on Mulberry Street and her great-grandfather, Rocco Maria Marasco, was a true immigrant success story becoming a wealthy real estate owner in Little Italy and helping to found the Italian Savings Bank, the Italian Hospital and founding Columbus Day as a legal holiday thru his work as a NYS Assemblyman.
Audiences and critics alike LOVE “Christmas in Italy®” - “A feast for the eyes as well as the ears.” “She (Cristina Fontanelli) has the kind of gift, and the kind of skill, that’s liable to make you feel like a piker no matter what you do in life. If you’re a plumber, you’ll say “I’m okay at my job — but I sure wish I was as good at plumbing as she is at singing.” On the other hand, she has this down to earth personality that seemed to shrink the large auditorium down to the size of a family kitchen. Her aunt was there; Fontanelli dedicated a song to her, and got us all to join her in “Happy Birthday”. She greeted old friends in the audience. She grieved for the loss of her mother, who passed away this year. There were hundreds of us in the audience, but the distance between us seemed very small.” TRAVALANCHE Trav SD (2016) and https://www.theepochtimes.com/cristina-fontanellis-13th-annual-christmas-in-italy_2200737.html?slsuccess=1
Brooklyn-born Cristina Fontanelli has performed all over the world. She completed three world tours with the Mantovani Orchestra and has sung title roles with the Palm Beach Opera, the Cairo Opera, Opera of Hong Kong, the New York Grand Opera, and the New Jersey State Opera. She was awarded the OSIA (Order Sons of Italy in America) Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts (previous recipients include Luciano Pavarotti), has been cited as one of the top alumni of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and has been named “Woman of the Year” by many Italian organizations throughout the country. She has performed for the Clinton White House, the President George W. Bush Inaugural Ball, with The Boston Pops, the St. Louis Symphony, annually at Feinstein’s at the Regency Hotel/Feinstein’s/54 Below. She won Best Actress in two International Film Festivals in 2018 and 2019 (Cutting Room International Film Festival, NYC; Venus International Film Festival, Las Vegas NV) for her role in the National Italian American Foundation’s NIAF/Russo Brothers grant-winning film, SANTINO. She has performed for Jimmy Kimmel’s “Feast of San Gennaro” in Hollywood CA, is the voice of “Nonna” on PBS Chef Lidia Bastianich’s animated Christmas special, and is the “voice” of Domino’s Pizza on the national radio commercial. Ms. Fontanelli was chosen by the Italian Government as a world-wide representative artist of Pugliese descent.
The Cristina Fontanelli Foundation Mission Statement (www.thecristinafontanellifoundation.org): To produce family-friendly media projects across the spectrum of the media giving young people performance opportunities on world-class stages and/or with world-class talent; raising funds for charity; giving free tickets to Veterans and the underprivileged, and to grow awareness of the scientifically proven health and societal benefits of classical music and the arts.
“CHRISTMAS IN ITALY®” is a 501© (3) charitable project raising funds for charities. A portion of the proceeds to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Food Pantries in NYC and for the refurbishment of the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood.. (Full list upon request.)
For more information: www.cristinafontanelli.com Press Inquiries: Please contact the office of The Cristina Fontanelli Foundation, Inc./Fontanelli Productions, LLC, 212 -967-1926. More performance photographs available on request.
Venue: Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood
113 Baxter St.
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