New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s Artistic Director, Lucine Amara, announces the cast performing in the company’s debut of Giacomo Puccini’s last opera, Turandot. Verismo Opera is the Bergen Performing Arts Center’s (bergenPAC) house opera company.

See this dramatic opera set in ancient China on Sunday, April 22, 2018. The performance begins at 3:00 p.m. at bergenPAC.  The theatre is located at 30 North Van Brunt Street, in Englewood, New Jersey. Previously, Verismo Opera performed act three in concerts in 1997 and in 2009.

            Verismo Opera’s spectacular production will thrill the audience. “This great but difficult opera is the most audacious opera the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera has attempted. Musically and visually, we have pulled out all the stops on this one! Be prepared to be amazed!” said Amara, who performed the roles of Turandot and Liu several times throughout her long career at The Metropolitan Opera.

Turandot Cast

Amara presents the cast of artists performing in the company’s debut of the dramatic production Turandot.

Zhanna Alkhazova performs the title role in Turandot.

Zhanna Alkhazova debuts with Verismo Opera in Turandot.

Soprano Zhanna Alkhazova debuts with the company as the ice princess Turandot. Recent engagements include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Geneva Opera.  In addition, she performed Leonora in Il Trovatore with Roman Borgman Opera and Tamara in Rubinstein’s The Demon with Commonwealth Lyric Opera. Among her operatic credits are title roles in Tosca and Aida and Elisabetta in Don Carlo.  Other roles are Micaela in Carmen and Nedda in Pagliacci. Furthermore, Alkhazova was the first place winner in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 2016 Annual International Vocal Competition.  She was the cover of Aida in the company’s 2017 production.

Philip Alongi appears as Prince Calaf in Turandot.

Philip Alongi performs the role of Prince Calaf in Turandot.

Tenor Philip Alongi performs the role of Prince Calaf, Turandot’s suitor, who must solve her riddles or die. Opera lovers and newcomers recognize and respond to Alongi’s moving performance of Calaf’s famous aria “Nessum dorma”.  Notably, this New Jersey native received praise from the Miami Herald for his “clarion top notes and striking physicality.

Alongi performed throughout the United States in leading roles, including Cavalleria Rusticana’s Turiddu, Carmen’s Don Jose, and others. Previously, he performed with Verismo Opera in Tosca (Cavardossi) and Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton). Alongi sang at Tim Russert’s funeral, and he also performed in the televised memorial service at the Kennedy Center. In addition, his credits include six live televised performances, with two on the TODAY show.

2017 Vocal Competition Winner Performs

Yulan Piao assumes the role of Liu in the New Jerrsey Association of Verismo Opera's debut of Turandot.

Soprano Yulan Piao debuts with Verismo Opera as Liu in Turandot.

Korean-Chinese soprano Yulan Piao debuts with Verismo Opera to perform the love torn, tortured Liu.  Most noteworthy, she received first prize in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 2017 Annual International Vocal Competition and the Vienna Summer Music Festival Competition. Also, Piao made her professional debut singing Rigoletto’s Gilda in South Korea.

Furthermore, the stellar cast includes a range of singers debuting and returning to Verismo Opera’s stage. Singers making their first appearance with the company are tenors Tai Collins (Pang) and Hao Hu (Pong). Also, bass-baritone Roland Burks (Timur), baritone Fredrick Redd (Ping), and baritone Jonathan Green (Mandarin) perform. In addition, tenor Giovanni Simone (Emperor) join the company again to perform in this stunning production.

Dramatic Fairy Tale

Verismo Opera presents this 18th century dramatic fairy tale by Venetian playwright Carlo Gozzi in three acts, with the libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. In Puccini’s extravagant portrayal of both ancient China and the opera’s namesake Princess, Turandot, the musical genius masterly shows how true love can conquer sacrifice, hate, and vengeance.  Ultimately, an ice cold heart melts.

Once again, under Principal Conductor/Music Director Lucy Arner, a live orchestra accompanies the performance.  Chorus Director/Associate Conductor Michael Wittenburg leads the Verismo Opera Chorus. General Manager/Stage Director Evelyn La Quaif directs the fully staged opera. Furthermore, the cast appears in period costumes and performs in Italian. The audience follows English supertitles projected on a screen.


Tickets are on sale at bergenPAC’s box office.  Purchase tickets at 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey.  Furthermore, patrons may call (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW to buy tickets. They may also be purchased online.

The theatre is handicapped accessible. Designated handicapped parking spaces are available. For further information about bergenPAC’s Accessibility Services, contact the theatre’s Americans With Disabilities Coordinator at (201) 816-8160, extension 31.

The season is made possible, in part, with funds provided by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.