Reading club starts season with opera

HOWELL — The Howell Library, 318 Old Tavern Road, will kick off its adult summer reading club with a “novel” event on June 4 called “Opera at the Library.”

The theme of the summer adult reading program this year is “Novel Destinations,” and will offer readers a live operatic tour of composers and well-loved arias. This free program begins at 2 p.m. For more information, call 732-938-2300 or visit

This operatic tour de force will feature tenor Michael Anderson and soprano Bethany Richards, accompanied on piano by John Balme. Anderson and Richards will perform operatic arias and classical songs from the baroque era through the 20th century. The June 4 program will include musical compositions from Verdi, Handel, Donizetti, Schubert, Vaughan-Williams and others.

Anderson is currently a student at Manhattan School of Music, and a student of former Metropolitan Opera baritone Mark Oswald. He is a graduate of Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, where he studied with Kris Zook and privately with Cynthia Springsteen and John Balme in the Concordia Youth Chorale. Anderson will study this summer with Dolora Zajick at the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Utah.

Richards attended Bard College and studied in Florence, Italy. She has sung with theAmerican Symphony Orchestra, and interned with Chelsea Opera, Little Opera Theatre of New York and Regina Opera. She also sang with the Concordia Youth Chorale under the direction of John Balme and Cynthia Springsteen.

Balme has served as the general director of Boston Lyric Opera, the Lake George Opera Festival and as Music Director of New York City’s Liederkranz Foundation. He has accompanied Beverly Sills, Jerome Hines and many other internationally acclaimed singers and has served as a faculty member at the University of Texas, the University of Connecticut, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Northeastern University.