(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- On Thursday, March 9, 2023, Wharton Arts will honor Grammy Award winning opera singer Angel Blue with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its Annual Gala. Angel Blue has taken the opera world by storm with historic performances as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata and, despite being told it would never happen, Ms. Blue was the first black woman to ever sing the fully staged role in Italy at Teatro alla Scala.
Ms. Blue also opened the Metropolitan Opera season as Bess in a new production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and these performances followed her internationally-praised French Opera debut and role debut as Floria Tosca at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. She currently sings the role of Violetta Valéry in the new Metropolitan Opera production of La Traviata.
Wharton Arts’ annual gala is a lavish cocktail party and will feature student performances and a live auction during a three-course sit down dinner. The Gala will take place at the Westmount Country Club, 728 Rifle Camp Road in Woodland Park, NJ. To attend the gala and support Wharton Arts, including its silent auction, please visit WhartonArtsGala.org.
The prestigious Wharton Arts Lifetime Achievement Award distinguishes individuals who, during their lifetime, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the performing arts and represent a beacon of inspiration to Wharton Arts' students. We are extremely honored to have Angel Blue accept the award at the annual event celebrating Wharton's thriving, life-changing performing arts education programs. The event will feature Ms. Blue performing Puccini’s O mio babbino caro as well as collaborations with students from the New Jersey Youth Chorus, New Jersey Youth Symphony, and Paterson Music Project. Previous Wharton Arts Lifetime Achievement honorees were Jamie Bernstein, John Debney, and Paul Shaffer.
Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director of Wharton Arts, shared his enthusiasm for the honoree and said, "Angel Blue is not only an amazing internationally-recognized and celebrated opera singer with huge credentials, but also represents the tenacity and courage necessary to persist in the professional world of classical music. Her career and life path are testimonies to this, and she definitely is an example to all of us."
"I am so honored to be recognized with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award of Wharton Arts, an organization I admire for their work and creative mission of offering accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds stronger communities,” said Angel Blue, Grammy Award winning soprano. “I am very much looking forward spending time with youth musicians and guests at the Gala.”
Wharton Arts’ mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities.
Wharton Arts’ vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.
Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving nearly 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve over 500 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships.
Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.