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Opera Essentia’s mission is to bring under-reached communities one of history’s most transfixing art forms. We curate the largely unknown works of Handel, arguably the most important composer for the voice, into approachable performances in NYC gardens, parks, and other neighborhood gathering centers. 


We bring opera “outside”– literally outdoors, but more importantly, liberated from traditional venues. Contrasting opera’s usually expensive and exclusive productions, we offer ours free of charge in Alphabet City, Harlem, Crown Heights, and other locales with little exposure to baroque music.


Delivered in a concise One Act experience, and performed by a diverse company of world-class musicians, we expose new listeners to neglected works by the composer of Messiah.


Handel perfectly conveys character and emotion through deeply expressive writing for the human voice. Opera Essentia presents this vital music on visceral “gut string” instruments, providing a transformational experience that ALL can enjoy.

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Our Team

Artistic Director: Jeffrey Mandelbaum

  Co-Stage Director/Project Coordinator: Rod Gomez

                    Company Advisor: Hannah Arie-Gaifman

Executive Producer: Marty Jeiven

Website Design and Management: Heather Bobeck

Graphic Design: Millaray Quiroga

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Our Artists

Nicole Besa, Soprano


Jeffrey Mandelbaum, Countertenor

Katherine Lerner Lee, Soprano

Kristin Renee Young, Soprano

Nicoletta Berry, Soprano

Melisa Bonetti, Mezzo-Soprano

Hans Tashjian, Bass


Harpsichord: Rebecca Pechefsky   


First Violin: Francis Liu

Second Violin: Amelia Sie


Viola: Kristina Giles  


Cello: Serafim Smigelskiy

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Advisory Council

                   Marty Jeiven             Hanna Arie-Gaifman


Linda Monssen [In Memoriam]                  Ann Mandelbaum                  Wiebke Moore

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