Cristina Fontanelli has become a well-known personality through her recordings, her appearances on American and Italian radio, TV, concerts, nightclubs, pops and opera appearances, and through her recent acting debut on network television, where she is receiving rave reviews for her beautiful voice and versatile talent. On January 20, 2005 Cristina Fontanelli was invited to open the ceremonies at the Stars and Stripes Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C. where she sang for an audience of over 6,000 invited guests and dignitaries. This following her ?Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts? from the Order Sons of Italy in America (previous honoree Luciano Pavarotti). A listing of the popular ?giants? she has appeared with include Tony Bennett, Joel Grey, Vic Damone, Al Martino, Frankie Avalon, Joan Rivers, Pat Cooper, Joe Piscopo and many others. Recent appearances include her Hollywood CA debut hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Hilton in Atlantic City, St. Patrick?s Cathedral NYC, her 5th-annual ?Christmas in Italy? concert at Lincoln Center, a televised 9/11 memorial concert at Rockefeller Center with the NYPD Concert Band (televised on CNN, Fox National and NY Channels 5, 7 and 9), the role of Santuzza in ?Cavalleria Rusticana? (opposite the singing cop, Daniel Rodriguez) with Opera of the Hamptons and return engagements all over the country. Her ?popular? dates have included appearances at the Trump Taj Mahal and Marina Casinos and the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City and she was written up as ?Artist of the Month? by the Las Vegas ?La Voce? newspaper. Ms. Fontanelli has recorded for the Meadowlands Record Company label - ?Cristina Fontanelli Sings Great Italian Favorites? produced by platinum record award-winning songwriter/producer Sandy Linzer. She received the NYC Transit Authority Columbian Association?s ?Woman of the Year? award and also ?Woman of the Year from the Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey.
Ms. Fontanelli is a favorite guest artist with many prestigious orchestras including the Boston Pops and the St. Louis Symphony performing in major concert halls throughout the U.S. and the world, including the Lincoln and Kennedy Centers, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and major concert halls throughout the Far East and Canada. She has completed three world-tours with the Mantovani Orchestra. Ms. Fontanelli has appeared with opera companies throughout the United States and abroad including the Palm Beach Opera, the New York Grand Opera and the Cairo Opera. Other appearances include the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C., the Rainbow Room for the National Organization of Italian American Women and the Waldorf Astoria for the Order Sons of Italy in America.
She has toured the Middle East extensively as an ?Ambassador of Opera?. Her operatic repertoire includes such heroines as Mimi, Musetta, Violetta and the title role of ?Madame Butterfly?. Ms. Fontanelli has also toured as a solo concert artist in major concert halls throughout Japan, Korea, Italy, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States. She sings and entertains in Japanese, Korean, Italian, Neopolitan, French, German, Spanish and Yiddish. Other awards include winning her Italian operatic debut through the American Opera Auditions, receiving grants from the Puccini and Koussevitsky Foundations, performing at the Casa Verdi in Milan under the auspices of Giulietta Simionato, being named ?Woman of the Year? by the Ethnic Press Council of Toronto, being awarded the ?Italian-American Heritage Award? by the St. Ann?s Festival in Hoboken, New Jersey (past honorees include Frank Guarini and Danny Aiello), being awarded the Sergio Franchi Music Foundation Award and being honored for her service to Boys Towns of Italy.
Ms. Fontanelli has performed with such prestigious theatres as the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. She is a favorite at Italian Festivals throughout the U.S. including Milwaukee (the largest in the world - more than 10 appearances).
Her beautiful soprano voice has taken her to the White House as part of President Clinton?s holiday celebration, to Gracie Mansion at the invitation of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to the Governor?s mansion in Princeton, N.J., to Washington, D.C. for the National Italian American Foundation, to Lincoln Center with stars from the Metropolitan Opera, to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City for the Columbus Citizens Foundation gala honoring Franco Zeffirelli and to a special function honoring Maestro Riccardo Muti.
She is much in demand for radio broadcasts across the country and has had the privilege of appearing on NY?s WQXR Robert Sherman Show, the Joe Franklin Show, the Joey Reynolds Show and Boston?s WGBH with host Ron Della Chiesa. TV appearances have included the ?Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon? and RAI/USA?s ?Italians in America?.
Ms. Fontanelli was born in Brooklyn, New York of Italian heritage and is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has also attended the Juilliard School in New York.
Many major publications, including The New York Times, have praised Ms. Fontanelli?s singing as having ?technical ease? and ?flaunting bravura?, but perhaps this quote taken from a recent review best sums up the artistry of this versatile soprano - she is a ?show stopper?.