She’ll Sing for Your Supper: Opera Songstress Brings Her Chops to Nunzio in Collingswood

Shanley Horvitz is performing operatic arias, romantic ballads and folk songs from various cultures on Wednesdays at Nunzio through August.

Shanley Horvitz singing at Carnegie Hall.
Shanley Horvitz, seen here performing at Carnegie Hall, is singing at Nunzio in Collingswood on Wednesdays this summer. Photo: Courtesy of Shanley Horvitz

Jerseyans, whether or not their heritage is Italian, know and love Italian food. And judging by its popularity and ecstatic online reviews, Nunzio by Chef Michael DeLone in Collingswood is molto Italiano. A master of the cuisine, DeLone has perfected recipes from every region of Italy’s boot. The restaurant resembles an Italian palazzo, with soaring ceilings and hand-painted frescoes on terracotta walls. Tote some Italian wine to this BYO, and presto—you’re in Italia.

And this summer, Wednesdays are even more Italian. There’s live music—romantic, rousing and everything in between—sung in Italian and other languages (sometimes ours) by Shanley Horvitz, who’s been singing since childhood.

Shanley Horvitz at Nunzio in Collingswood

On Wednesdays at Nunzio this summer, Horvitz sings operatic arias, romantic ballads and folk songs from various cultures. Photo: Courtesy of Shanley Horvitz

“There must be something in the water,” Horvitz says of her native Voorhees, “because the community is passionate about music and the performing arts, and kids have every chance to learn and perform. […] There was no question about my becoming a professional singer.

“I went to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, now part of Ryder University. I trained as an operatic mezzo soprano and moved to Genoa in northwestern Italy for its many opportunities for singers. I performed frequently and became known for playing the title role in the beloved [Bizet] opera, Carmen.

‘Then the pandemic came and the doors closed on singing in public. I came home to Voorhees, and kept up singing lessons and practice.

“When things started to reopen, I made the rounds at restaurants. It was natural for me. I’ve been singing in restaurants since before I could drive myself to them. As a teen, I sang in Beach Haven at The Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, [part of the] Surflight Theatre, which they call Broadway at the Beach. There,” she adds with a laugh, “trained vocalists sing as they scoop.

“Singing for customers isn’t Carnegie Hall—where, later, I actually performed a well-received concert. But these local gigs keep your voice in shape, and diners enjoy the change of pace. I was so pleased that Nunzio was open to my proposal.”

Affirms Nunzio general manager Anthony Masapollo: “When Shanley knocked on our door, we loved the idea. We like to keep things exciting, and to be an Italian dining destination for multiple reasons. Shanley has a beautiful voice, and adds major entertainment and cultural value. She has brought in a lot of new customers.”

“When I perform at Nunzio,” Horvitz says, “nostalgia and joy fill the room. I sing lovely operatic arias full of feeling, plus romantic ballads and folk songs from all over.

“South Jersey is so diverse; there’s usually someone who approaches me after the show to say something like, ‘Thank you for making me cry. My grandparents from Sicily—or Ireland, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Cuba—played that record.’

“All in all, it’s incredibly rewarding to sing in a sophisticated, multicultural place like Collingswood. And talk about singing for your supper! I get to relish chef Michael’s luscious, authentic Italian dishes. They all reflect the part of Italy they’re from. Eating one dish, suddenly I’m in Napoli. Another, I’m in Tuscany.

The truffle gnocchi at Nunzio

The truffle gnocchi at Nunzio is a favorite dish of Horvitz’s. Photo: Courtesy of Food Shelter PR

“I’m especially partial to chef Michael’s gnocchi with black and white truffle cream. Plus anything with pesto, like his burrata ravioli. Pesto originated in Genoa, where I lived the operatic life,” she adds, a bit wistfully.

“From July 19 through 30, Nunzio’s Christmas in July menu spotlights the Feast of Seven Fishes, Italy’s Christmas Eve tradition,” Horvitz notes. “I’ll be singing at Nunzio every Wednesday through the end of August, and I’d love to sing for you.”

Find more info and upcoming events on Shanley Horvitz’s website, and check out her YouTube channel here.

Nunzio  by Chef Michael DeLone, 706 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood; 856-858-9840. BYO. Reservations are recommended for Horvitz’s Wednesday appearances.

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