St. Nicholas of Tolentine Italian Festival
Sunday, October 1, 2023
1:00 – 2:00 PM
1700 S. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
What's an Italian Festival without opera?
ePOP is bringing the best of opera (and some of Philly's best opera singers) to St. Nick's!
The Annual St. Nicholas of Tolentine Authentic Italian Festival is the first Sunday of October each year. It is held on the 1700 Block of South 9th Street.
Presented annually since 1987, St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish has been dedicated to keeping alive the spirit and faith of the early Italian immigrants.
Abigail LaVecchia, pianist
Abigail LaVecchia is a pianist based in Philadelphia. She is on the faculty of the classical voice and choir departments at the Boyer College of Music at Temple University. Abigail is music director at Morrisville United Methodist Church, where she is organist and director of the chancel and bell choirs. She is a piano teacher at Friends Select School.
Abigail holds a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Temple University where she was a student of Charles Abramovic and Lambert Orkis. She lives in South Philadelphia with her husband Patrick, daughter Socorro, and dog Wolfgang.
Angel Raii Gomez, tenor
Angel Raii Gomez, an emerging power on the opera stage, is presently making his mark as a third-year resident artist at the Academy in Vocal Arts. He recently claimed the first prize in the much-coveted Meistersinger Competition at AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies), underlining his extraordinary talent.
Gomez's list of roles reflects a remarkable capacity for versatility. His portrayal of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni, performed May 2023, was admired not just for technical excellence but also emotional depth. Earlier in February 2023, he offered audiences an unforgettable Ernesto in Donizetti's Don Pasquale.
In November 2022, he shone as Gastone in La Traviata, displaying his ability to contribute to ensemble harmony while standing out in his role. With each performance, Gomez captures the rich spirit of the opera and continues to enthrall audiences with his charisma and talent making his blossoming career one to watch closely in the Opera World.
Ashley Marie Robillard, soprano
Ashley has performed in prestigious halls including War Memorial Opera House, Verizon Hall, the Academy of Music, Jordan Hall, the National Portrait Gallery, and esteemed organizations including Opera Philadelphia, Washington Concert Opera, Opera Lafayette, Wolf Trap Opera, the Merola Opera Program, Opera Grand Rapids, the Amarillo Symphony, and the Dolce Suono Ensemble. She’s performed under the baton of Corrado Rovaris, Karina Canellakis, Daniela Candillari, George Manahan, Patric Furrer, Kelly Kuo, David Hayes, and in collaboration with directors R.B. Schlather, Stephanie Havey, Tara Faircloth, Emma Griffin, Gina Lapinski, kt shorb, and Alessandra Premoli.
An artist who holds recital and chamber music close to her heart, Ashley has collaborated with respected instrumentalists and chamber ensembles including the Dolce Suono Ensemble and Seraph Brass. She has performed in recital tours and recital series since 2013 including her staged rendition of Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch toured alongside pianist Mikael Eliasen and baritone Dennis Chmelensky with Curtis on Tour, Music for Montauk, and the La Jolla Athenaeum. Ashley attended the renowned Curtis Institute of Music and is an Alumna of the Merola Opera Program, Wolf Trap Opera, and Opera Philadelphia's Emerging Artist Program, Ashley received her Master of Music in Opera and Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2020 and 2018 respectively.