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Our Lady of Mercy Hosts Successful Opera Night

On Saturday, Dec. 3, an enthusiastic crowd welcomed American soprano Barbara Divis and Italian tenor Francesco Pavesi to Our Lady of Mercy’s “A Night at the Opera.” Divis and Pavesi performed a mixture of classical, popular, and seasonal favorites including Libiamo, Con Te Partiro, and O Holy Night.

Barbara Divis has performed over 35 lead roles throughout the country. She is known primarily for roles that demonstrate her expressive ability and acting prowess. She has performed Madama Butterfly with six opera companies and Mimi in La Boheme with seven opera companies. Companies of note that Barbara has performed with are Atlantic Opera, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Santa Barbara Opera, Opera San Jose and Hawaii Opera Theatre. Music from her two CDs is currently being featured with author Michael J. Vaughn in his novel, Operaville; sold on

“They played many of my favorites,” said music enthusiast and church cantor Sister MaryBeth Faber.

Francesco Pavesi is from Parma, Italy, and is a graduate of the esteemed L’Accademia Verdiana under the guidance of Maestro Carlo Bergonzi. Francesco has performed in many cities across Italy including Rome, San Remo and Taranto at the International Festival Giovanni Paisiello. Francesco recently performed at a Puccini Festival along with Andrea Bocelli, and just one week ago Francesco debuted at Carnegie Hall performing for the Italian Academy Foundation, Inc.

“If I knew the caliber of performers, I would have brought my Sons of Italy lodge here,“ said one Our Lady of Mercy parishioner, adding, “I loved it! What can I say? Italian is such a beautiful language.”

The singers were accompanied on piano by Thomas Beckner and on violin and cello by the young sister and brother duo Marisa and Anthony LaBarca.

Thomas Beckner earned a degree in music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied classical and jazz piano, composition and recording. For eight years Tom toured with and provided musical accompaniment for comedian Bob Nelson. Tom has also worked as a musical director and accompanist for many musical theater and dance productions. Tom’s compositions include music for web sites, video games, and commercials and Tom has tracks for sale on both iTunes and Currently Tom works for several club date agents in the New York metropolitan area performing either solo or with groups for weddings and bar mitzvahs, all while Tom continues to compose, record, and teach. On Sunday mornings Tom contributes to the music ministry at Our Lady of Mercy Church.

The crowd stayed well after the performance was over, purchasing CDs and requesting autographs and pictures with the performers at the reception that was held in the church basement following the concert.

“It was magical,“ said Our Lady of Mercy school parent Rachel Wetzel. “It brought me back in time to the Sundays growing up where I heard such beautiful arias that played throughout our home. As I told my dad who accompanied me, his love of such beautiful music inspired me growing up. It is my profound hope that this wonderful parish and school, Our Lady of Mercy, will continue to work diligently to enrich our families and children with such amazing programs. “

Our Lady of Mercy Parent Association member Stefania Glusic, who organized the event, said, “Thanks to everyone who shared their time and talent with us. It was a group effort that made this event such a success.”

Sr. Joanne Deegan, principal of Our Lady of Mercy School, was very pleased with the event, saying, “The Our Lady of Mercy Parent Association keeps coming through.”