ARIA Benefit Concert for St. Joseph's Church
Allegro Repertory International Artists (formerly Albany Ensemble) is a classical vocal ensemble, founded in 1999 by Mimi O'Neill. Having focused initially on performances of operatic repertoire presented mainly in the Capital District, ARIA expanded its scope to include a wider mix of music, including jazz, world music, Jewish music, Broadway, and contemporary American composition. ARIA also extended its performance horizon to further vistas. In recent years, in addition to its annual holiday concerts at the Pruyn House in Latham, NY, ARIA has pursued its musical interests by concertizing mainly in Europe. In 2002 and 2003, Mimi O'Neill traveled to Germany and Poland with selected members of group, where they presented unique concerts of American and world music, in Bremen, Germany, and Gdansk, Poland. In 2005 the full ensemble toured Poland, presenting concerts in Gdansk and Warsaw, and hosting a music and meditation camp near Sopot, Poland, on the Baltic Sea. ARIA was honored to be the first musical group since 1939 to perform in the historic Jewish Museum, in the center of Warsaw, on the former site of the Warsaw Ghetto. At this concert ARIA performed "Of Bondage and Freedom," a holocaust remembrance piece by Albany composer, Max Lifchitz. In 2006, ARIA was on the road again, performing a concert of American Gospel and traditional American spirituals, German art song, and contemporary American operatic works in Bremen, Germany. In Fall, 2007, ARIA returned to Bremen for an encore engagement in the celebrated Friedenskirche, the "Peace Church," for a concert of peace and renewal.