Award-winning singer and PBS/WNET host Cristina Fontanelli, will soon present her 16th Annual Christmas In Italy®” show in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The 3:00 pm show takes place on Sunday, December 8th, where Cristina will present her program of Italy’s best-loved songs, arias, Neapolitan and Christmas classics. Called a “Vocal Genius” by the New York Sun, “Christmas in Italy®” 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 the younger generations the values and joy they represent.”
This special one-day event will feature the award-wining soprano singing traditional Italian songs including Torna a Surriento, Mamma, O sole Mio and Ave Maria, plus Christmas songs such as Santa Baby and White Christmas. Accompanying Ms. Fontanelli are world-class musicians from The Metropolitan Opera, pianist Maestro Steven Crawford; mandolinists Joyce Balint and Tamara Volskaya and guitarist Giacomo La Vita. Making a special trip from Genoa, Italy, will be mandolinist Carlo Aonzo. Grammy-award nominated William Schimmel will guest on accordion. Special guest tenor Riccardo Meri will join Ms. Fontanelli to sing the duet “Brindisi” from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and the Nessun Dorma solo tenor aria from Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot. In addition, The Christmas in Italy Choir will sing “Silent Night,” The Little Language Studio of Brooklyn children’s choir will sing the traditional Italian Christmas carol “Tu scendi dalle stele,” while the children and teens of Staten Island’s Dream Studio for the Performing Arts will dance to “Dominick the Donkey.” Joe Harkins will play Santa Claus and actor Tony Lo Bianco will act as emcee for the show.
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. Cristina has performed for numerous Presidents at the White House, as well as at the Presidential Inaugural Ball. She has sung with The Boston Pops, the St. Louis Symphony and performs annually at Feinstein’s at the Regency Hotel in New York City. Ms. Fontanelli’s role in films recently led to the Best Actress Award in two International Film Festivals for her role in the film Santino.
“Christmas In Italy®” is a charitable project raising funds which benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Casa Famiglia Orphanage in Meta di Sorrento, Italy and Food Pantries in New York City. Among Ms. Fontanelli’s many awards by are the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts by the Order Sons of Italy in America, “Woman of the Year” by many Italian organizations nationwide and she was cited as a top alumni of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cristina is also is the voice of “Nonna” on PBS Chef Lidia Bastianich’s animated Christmas special and is the voice of Domino’s Pizza on its national radio commercial. Ms. Fontanelli was also selected by the Italian government as a world-wide representative artist of Pugliese descent.