Biography:

Soprano, Donna Zapola-Connolly, has garnered acclaim in her international career from locales as diverse as Bangkok, Cairo, Manila, Hong Kong and Korea as well as the major opera and concert houses in New York City and elsewhere around the United States.

First coming to the opera-loving public's attention with Opera Theatre of St. Louis' acclaimed production of Il Viaggio a Reims, she has appeared as Violetta in La Traviata in Manila, Micaela in Carmen in Cairo, Agnese in Opera Orchestra of New York's concert of Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda conducted by Eve Queler, and under the direction of Leonard Slatkin with the St. Louis Symphony in Janácek's Danube at Avery Fischer Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. She has also toured the United States as Violetta in La Traviata with the New York City National Company and the Western Opera Theater touring company from San Francisco Opera. The soprano has toured and performed extensively in the Middle and Far Eastern countries.

Ms. Zapola-Connolly debuted as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus in New Orleans and Tampa, and returned to Tampa Bay Opera as Liù in Puccini's Turandot. Ms. Zapola-Connolly has also appeared as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte for Western Opera Theatre, Clorinda in Opera Theatre of St. Louis' Cenerentola by Rossini, and the Countess and Fiordiligi in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte for the June Opera Festival of New Jersey. She had performed the lead in the world premiere performance of the late Jerome Moross' Sorry, Wrong Number, which will be recorded on the Helicon label.

In the concert repertoire, Ms. Zapola has sung Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2., "Lobgesang", with the Brevard Symphony; in Janácek's Danube, Leonard Slatkin conducting; with the Pittsburgh Oratorio Society in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis; with the Albany Symphony Orchestra in Mozart's Requiem, Paavo Järvi conducting; with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in Orff's Carmina Burana; and with the Cayuga Chamber Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Carl St.Clair in Mozart's Requiem and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass. For the Millennium, Maestro Jesus López-Cobos selected her for his Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Millennium presentation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that sent patrons "soaring into the new era," according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

A Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition winner, as well as a first prizewinner in the Liederkranz Foundation Competition, and the National Federation of Music Clubs National winner, the soprano is also a recipient of the Sullivan Foundation Grant and the Puccini Foundation Award. Born in Johnstown, PA, Ms. Zapola-Connolly apprenticed at Chautauqua and Merola and was a member of the acclaimed Opera Music Theater International, Jerome Hines, Director. Ms. Zapola-Connolly was an Artist-in-Residence at the internationally admired Ruth Eckerd Hall and Performing Arts Center in Florida. In addition, Ms. Zapola-Connolly was presented with the "Distinguished Alumni" award from Seton Hill University and most recently had the honor of being selected for the distinguished Voice Internship at Mount Sinai's Grabscheid Voice Center in New York City under the leadership of Dr. Peak Woo.

Most recently Ms. Zapola-Connolly was a featured recitalist in a tour of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the Holy Land sponsored by Bravo productions and the Abu Dhabi Music Foundation. This year found Ms. Zapola-Connolly appearing at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Stephen Crawford's Ave Maria Mass. Later this year she will perform Rodrigo's Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. Recently Ms. Zapola-Connolly performed the role of Tosca in the opera Tosca in Dubai, UAE

Dr. Zapola-Connolly holds a Bachelor's Degree in music Education from Seton Hill College in Greensburg, PA, a Master's degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and has her DMA degree from Rutgers University. She was a member of the faculty at the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music and presently she is Coordinator of Vocal Studies in The Music, Dance, and Theater Department at New Jersey City University. Dr. Zapola-Connolly had the esteemed pleasure of serving as a faculty member of the AIMS Summer Music program in Graz, Austria and most recently served as a faculty member of Summer Music Study Abroad program in Tuscania, Italy under the auspices of the Lorenzo de Medici School in Italy.

Born in Johnstown, PA, Ms. Zapola apprenticed at Chautauqua and Merola and was Artist-in-Residence at the internationally admired Ruth Eckerd Hall and Performing Arts Center in Florida. She is currently an active member of the National Teachers of Singing, Inc., Music Teachers National Association, New York Singing Teachers' Association, Inc., Music Educators National Conference, and the New Jersey Educator's Association.


Press Acclaim:

As La Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio A Reims:

"All superlatives apply to soprano Donna Zapola as the fashion-crazed widow Folleville."

OPERA - Harold Blumenfeld

"Donna Zapola's ravishing presence and vocal promise made her a beguiling Folleville."

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - Thor Eckert

"She recovers in an incredibly long aria - cities have been destroyed in less time - which soprano Donna Zapola turned into a hilariously funny epic.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"There were strong contributions from the soprano Donna Zapola, possessed of an opulent and clear sound, and a stage presence big enough for her to act the prima donna."

ST. LOUIS TIMES

As the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro:

"Donna Maria Zapola sang the Countess' arias with style and beauty."

OPERA NEWS

As Constanza in The Abduction from the Seraglio:

"Donna Maria Zapola was an outstanding Constanza, negotiating the heights and breakneck runs of her music fearlessly and shiningly."
THE VILLAGE VOICE - Leighton Kerner

As Mrs. Henley in Sorry, Wrong Number:

"Only the central character of the doomed Mrs. Henley absolutely must be of operatic quality. In this production, Donna Zapola was that one big operatic voice. She utterly held the stage, singing the lengthy role of the bedridden invalid while lying down or propped in bed by pillows." That was a "tour de force….Her voice was strong in all registers….Most importantly, she was able to capture the increasing tension and fear in the story with unforced, quite natural acting."
CLASSICAL NEW JERSEY - Paul Somers

As Violetta in La Traviata:

"In the aria 'Ah, fors'è lui,' she opted for a slower tempo to savor every phrase within her vocal power. One quickly detected the Mozart singer in her. Her legato line had the fresh ring of spring and the projection never wavered down to the concluding 'Sempre libera' where she earned her first round of bravos. Singing 'Addio del passato', Zapola revealed the extent to which she could color her voice in relation to another emotional situation. She mustered as much pathos but in my mind I was seeing a perfect Countess in Marriage of Figaro."

THE DAILY GLOBE (Manila)

"The rendition by Donna Maria Zapola, portraying the role of Violetta, was absolutely superb. Her histrionic capability was more than evident, matching her vocal excellence at every turn."

THE PHILIPPINE STAR

"Donna Maria Zapola, the imported Violetta, is simply fabulous. She is not only a singer with a large soprano of great agility, she is an actress of the first order. I can attribute the seemingly unceasing inspiredness to the stunning ability of Donna Maria. I insist that she is a far better singer and actress than the much-touted Eva Marton was when she came to the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1980 to sing in the San Francisco Opera Tosca with Placido Domingo.
THE MANILA CHRONICLE - Roland S. Tinio

"La Zapola's voice rang with a resonance that was considerably expressive, especially in the middle and higher registers."
THE MANILA BULLETIN

"Donna Zapola was equal to the demanding soprano range of Violetta, notably in 'Ah, fors'è lui' from Act I and in the later heart-rending 'Dite alla giovine'."
THE NEWS AND OBSERVER (Raleigh, NC)

"Donna Zapola made a wonderful and convincing Violetta, capturing nicely the transition from carefree courtesan to a woman tormented by love and wracked with illness. Zapola had no trouble tossing off the Verdi. She has a big, but nimble soprano that was able to easily negotiate the heights and hairpin turns in her 'Sempre libera', yet still sound intimate and delicate for her deathbed scene."

THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL

As Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte:

"Soprano Donna Maria Zapola, in her first appearance here, showed musicianship and presence, as well as a voice that is agile, complete and attractive. She faced the terrors of Fiordiligi's music unflinchingly, sang the wide intervals with one voice rather than two or three, and found much of her characterization in the music itself."
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

As Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, continued:

"Making a triumphant festival debut as Fiordiligi is Donna Maria Zapola, a luscious soprano, both vocally and visually. We are dealing here with an instrument of potential importance....La Zapola's voice sounds big and moves with agility. The top is brilliant, the line is seamless. She sings with intelligence and taste. And she commands the range to accommodate 'Come Scoglio' and all the other minefields strewn with explosive technical challenges.
THE NEWARK STAR-LEDGER

"Donna Maria Zapola is particularly strong as Fiordiligi, singing some of the more difficult solo arias, as 'Like the Island'."
THE TRENTONIAN

As Micaela in Carmen:

"Donna Maria Zapola, as Micaela, provides the perfect counterpart for Carmen, her higher register soared, thrilling the audience."
CAIRO TODAY

As Musetta in La Bohème:

"Donna Zapola's Musetta had lots of pizazz. Her big soprano voice handled 'Musetta's Waltz' impressively."

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"The voice that pleased me the most was that of soprano Donna Zapola. She set a high standard that the evening sustained."
HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN

As Liù in Turandot:

"Soprano Donna Zapola reveals a magnificent vocal talent as Liù, the young woman so in love with Calaf she takes her life to save his. Zapola's crystalline tones denote fine technique and seemingly effortless vocal expression."
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE

As the Sweetheart in Leonardo Balada's Hangman, Hangman!:

"The loveliest vocalism came from Donna Zapola as the Sweetheart, her velvety soprano rendering the 'Irish Song' with such beauty of sound that the hardest of heart could not have resisted her appeal for Johnny's life."

OPERA NEWS - Robert Croan

As Agnese in Beatrice di Tenda:

"Zapola, as Agnese, had a warm and sometimes gentle voice, which she employed to help with the characterization, and quite successfully."
THE NEWARK HOME NEWS

In concert:

Mozart's Requiem:

"Donna Zapola's sumptuous, glistening soprano was a particular pleasure to hear."

THE ITHACA JOURNAL
Royal Concert:

"With a full round voice even in her very low register, Zapola shows no strain in giving out her high and pure notes and has sure intonation in bridging wide intervals. Her eloquence and lovely mid-register were in evidence in 'Signore Ascolta' from Puccini's Turandot."
THE NATION (Bangkok)


Operatic Repertoire:

Ballada HANGMAN, HANGMAN Sweetheart
Bellini BEATRICE DI TENDA Agnese
Bizet CARMEN Micaela
Handel GIULIO CESARE Cleopatra
Moross SORRY, WRONG NUMBER Mrs. Henley
Mozart LE NOZZE DI FIGARO Countess
DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAGLIO Constanza
COSÌ FAN TUTTE Fiordiligi
DON GIOVANNI Donna Anna
Donna Elvira
IDOMENEO Elettra
Puccini LA BOHÈME Mimì
Musetta
TOSCA Tosca
TURANDOT Liù
SUOR ANGELICA Suor Angelica
Rossini IL VIAGGIO A REIMS La Contessa di Folleville
LA CENERENTOLA Clorinda
Strauss, J. DIE FLEDERMAUS Rosalinda
Stravinsky MAVRA Parasha
Tchaikovsky EUGENE ONEGIN Tatiana
Vaughan-Williams SIR JOHN IN LOVE Mistress Page
Verdi LA TRAVIATA Violetta
NABUCCO Abigaille
IL TROVATORE Leonora
OTELLO Desdemona

Orchestral/Choral/Orchestrated Song:

Bach CANTATAS, BWV 109, 202
MAGNIFICAT
ST. MATTHEW PASSION
Beethoven MISSA SOLEMNIS
NINTH SYMPHONY
Brahms DEUTCHES REQUIEM
LIEBESLIEDER WALZER, OP. 52
Britten SONG CYCLES
Bruckner TE DEUM
Crawford AVE MARIA MASS
Dvorak SONG CYCLES
Handel MESSIAH
JUDAS MACCABAEUS
Haydn CREATION
LORD NELSON MASS
Janácek DANUBE
Mahler WALDMÄRCHEN
(DAS KLAGENDE LIED: I)
Mendelssohn ELIJAH
LOBGESANG
Mozart REQUIEM
MASS IN C-MINOR
EXSULTATE, JUBILATE
Orff CARMINA BURANA
Pergolesi STABAT MATER
Poulenc GLORIA
Rodrigo CUATRO MADRIGALES AMATORIOS
Rossini STABAT MATER
Rutter REQUIEM
Schubert MASS IN G
Strauss, R. FOUR LAST SONGS
Vaughan-Williams HODIE
SERENDADE TO MUSIC
Verdi REQUIEM
Vivaldi GLORIA



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