Rockville Centre residents support Madison Theatre with opera preview


Rockville Centre residents Marty and Sue Bevilacqua recently opened their home to nearly 100 guests for an intimate performance by Long Island Opera.

The “Cocktails and Arias: For the Love of Opera” event introduced community members to Long Island’s oldest opera company and provided a preview into the company’s debut performance of Rigoletto at the Madison Theatre at Molloy College on Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.

“For the Love of Opera” guests enjoyed an intimate performance of famous arias and duets performed by professional opera singers.

Over the years, Bevilacqua has been to many performances, even taking his wife Sue to see “Die Fledermaus”on their first date. An avid support of Long Island Opera, he is eagerly anticipating the upcoming performance at Madison Theatre. He urges those who may be on the fence about attending the opera to give it a chance.

“Opera is a beautiful art form that combines the richest vocal abilities, the most intimate depictions of human drama and magical orchestral music that stimulates imaginations and awaken passions,” Bevilacqua said. “If you think you would like to give opera a try, this production of Rigoletto will be the right one to start with. An intense story about love, lust, revenge, and sacrifice is weaved together by powerful, familiar music and then ignited by truly talented artists dedicated to making a lasting impact on Long Islanders.”

Set in northern Italy in the town of Mantua during the 16th century, Rigoletto is a tale of love, loyalty, revenge and tragedy. The opera is focused around Rigoletto, a hunchbacked court jester cursed by the Count of Monterone. Despite his attempts to defy the count’s curse, Rigoletto cannot fool fate and loses the most important person in his life, his daughter, Gilda.

Ted Labow, a professional baritone and cantor at Temple Isaiah in Smithtown, will star in the title role. Additionally, Rockville Centre’s own Jennifer Caruana, a mezzo soprano, will make her Long Island Opera debut as the sultry “Maddalena” while tenor Paolo Buffagni will star as the “Duke of Mantua’ and soprano Mary Thorne will take on the role of “Gilda.”

For Bevilacqua, support of Long Island Opera stems even deeper than his love for the art. As owner of Oceanville Mason Supply, Bevilacqua played a prominent role in the construction of the Madison Theatre, donating the bricks to build the Public Square building, which houses the state-of-the-art playhouse on Molloy College’s Rockville Centre.

“The Madison has superb acoustics and clear sightlines from every seat.  It is an intimate space of nearly 600 seats so all will feel a connection to the performers,” said Bevilacqua.

With the theater’s mission to provide a versatile, first-class facility that will offer a diverse range of world-class entertainment for the South Shore and greater Long Island region, Bevilacqua is also working to see Long Island Opera establish its home at the Madison.

Long Island Opera was established over 50 years ago as an adult education course offered in Floral Park by Nino Luciano, a leading tenor of New York City Opera and today the non-profit organization remains the oldest opera company in existence on Long Island.

Last month, the opera company presented a stellar performance of George Bizet’s Carmen at Guild Hall in East Hampton and, the Oct. 6 performance of Rigoletto will not only be Long Island Opera’s debut at Madison Theatre but also its first full-staged with orchestra performance in over a decade.

“This production of Rigoletto will be the ‘litmus test’ of Nassau County’s desire to experience opera,” assured Bevilacqua. The Madison Theatre at Molloy College is located 1000 Hempstead Ave. in Rockville Centre. opera lovers,” he said.

Tickets for Rigoletto are $75 (limited VIP reserved seating and pre-show wine reception); $35 (orchestra); and $20 (balcony). Additionally, $20 tickets will be available to groups of 20-plus. To purchase tickets for the Oct. 6 performance of Rigoletto, visit the Madison Theatre website at or call the box office at (516) 678-5000.

For Rigoletto, contributors who make a $150 donation to Long Island Opera will receive two Supporter tickets to any one opera of the 2012-2013 season along, admission to the wine reception and an exquisite Italian opera print; for a $250 donation, contributors will receive two VIP tickets with above benefits plus preferred seating and backstage access. Contributions to Long Island Opera are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

To make a donation, obtain more information or join the Long Island Opera mailing list, visit the or call (631) 772-9544.