Senior Idol Winner Josephine Dolce Talks Opera and Age

Categories: Q&A
Senior Idol, a Broward competition that pits senior citizens against each other in a singing competition demonstrated that wit, talent, and vibrancy doesn't fade with age.

Many older crooners sing with more feeling and humor because they have life experiences that give them awesome emotional range. And Senior Idol's 12 competitors belted out crowd-pleasing tune after tune, bringing laughter, tears, and joy to a crowd that doesn't always stay out so late.

Crossfade spoke with the winner of Senior Idol, Josephine Dolce, who blew the audience away with her operatic style and solid pipes.

Crossfade: You were wonderful tonight. Are you a trained opera singer?


They said you went to Juilliard?

Yup. Four year scholarship to Juilliard. When I was young out of high school. I was 18 when I got into Juilliard.

You grew up in New York?

I grew up in New York, in Brooklyn, New York.

Did you go to Broadway shows when you were growing up? 

Oh, Broadway shows. I went to the opera. I performed with the local opera companies. I was a finalist with the Metropolitan Opera Company and concert work. I did concerts in the Midwest with colleges and universities. I also am a music director at Church.

Which church?

At Saint Lucy in Highland Beach.

Did you have a favorite musical or opera when you were growing up? 

It's not a matter of the opera. It's a matter of the composers. My favorite composers were Puccini and Verdi. And of course, those are the most melodic operas and beloved operas. I mean, they're romantic and the melodies are unbelievably beautiful. Just fabulous music.

When you're onstage, both of your performances were very emotional. What are you thinking about? 

I'm thinking about what I'm singing and I try to become the person in the piece that I'm singing. Like tonight I sung "O Mio Babbino Caro," which is from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Puccini. So you become the woman in the opera and you try to portray that. She's asking her father to please allow her to marry this man. She wants to get engaged to him. And if he doesn't give his acceptance, she's going to kill herself by throwing herself into the Arno River. This took place in Florence, Italy.

That's romantic!

It's romantic, right? (Laughs) Well, the father gave in anyway. But you try very hard to take the song over, you know. You listen to the lyrics and you try to take on that persona of that person.

How do you feel about being the Senior Idol? Do you watch these types of shows on TV? 

No, to tell you the truth, I came to see Senior Idol here last year for the first time. I didn't know about it. And I said, "Oh, my! This is fantastic." Well, the group of people that were here tonight to perform were wonderful. And they were just a great group of people to be with. So I liked it. I enjoyed it very much.

Do you still sing? 

I still sing. I sing with the symphony orchestras here in South Florida, Symphonic Pops Orchestras, and I do club work as well. I sing in different communities doing concerts. And I'm having a wonderful time with the singing. I love it.

You said your husband was your greatest accomplishment onstage. 

Yes. Best thing that has ever happened to me was my husband.

Do you guys sing together ever? 

No, not really. He just enjoys my singing. [Laughs.] One singer in the family is enough!

What are you going to do with the money? Pay bills, go on a trip? 

To tell you the truth, I really haven't thought about what I was going to do with it. But yeah, a trip sounds good!

How long have you lived in South Florida for? 

It's going to be 11 years.

Do you have a favorite memory of a performance you've seen? 

Going back, yes. One of my very favorite heroines that I've played was Violetta in La Traviata. That was one, the other was Madame Butterfly.

So, you look beautiful tonight, you're wearing a lot of shiny...


Glamorous! Do you feel like that helps you onstage? Do you feel better because you look like a star? 

Yeah. You should always try to look your very, very best when you're performing because it says something about the artist. And also, you're kind of honoring the audience by dressing up for them. It helps with the performance, I think.

How do you feel about being a little older? Do you feel happy that you're still able to perform? 

I've never felt better in my life. I feel better than I did 40 years ago. I'm going to be 68 years old. And believe me, I'm singing better now than I ever did before. I think Florida has something to do with it!

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL. 

Location Info


Parker Playhouse

707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: General

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myh name is Shaw McCUtcheon, and live in John Knox Village, where I head you singlast night, and then I' ve just read your vita. First I was amazed at your age! Me, I will be 91 shortly and play golf three times a week, and piano at the health center for an hour everyweek, and occasioinally I will play some opera. I've done O mio Babbino, vesti le Giubba,One fine day. You favorites are exactl;y the same as mine, Puccini, Verdi, I just saw Rigoletto in Ft Lauderdale, and also on th Live from the Met series at Regal theaters.Congratulations on your opera work!Shaw

lenny dwoskin
lenny dwoskin

I dont want to sound like sour grapes, but both of my performances were flawless like the article said , and in my opinion the awards  were given based on accomplishments and not on performances that night with a bias by the judges against rap song..lenny grandaddyrapper ps I dont care for opera , but gave her a 10 for her first song and no more than 8 on the second song , with a minimum of 9.5 each for myself , and yes I am a handicap amature with post polio , prostate cancer, arthritis and a host of other medical conditions and in a wheelchair, but I wasnt looking for a sympathy vote, only the correct one , and sorry if I offend the judges by saying they were very wrong or by the winner having all the credentials.....lenny aka grandaddyrapper

Sandy Morris
Sandy Morris

Josephine is the best.  She was Musical  Director at my old church where I was lucky enough to have the honor of being a choir member and Cantor under her direction. Jo is a great teacher as well as a phenomenal singer and beautiful person, inside and out.  Love you Jo.Sandy Morris


Josephine Dolce brings life, love, grace, talent and professionalism with her everywhere she goes.  May she continue to live the blessed life for many years to come.  She is our gift as Musical Director at St. Lucy Church,in Highland Beach.  Keep up the good work.  We love you.  Marilyn Fontenelli

Josephine Dolce
Josephine Dolce

The correct name of the church in Highland Beach where I am  music director is St. Lucy, not Lucine.  Josephine Dolce 

Grace Caldwell
Grace Caldwell

While I was not able to attend htis performance, my sister-in-law Jo's reputation precedes her!  She is of a special talent who, like a good wine, gets better with age!  Her beauty speaks for itself, her talent comes thru loud and clear. She is a delight on and off the stage.  That's my take on her and I'm sticking to it!  Grace Caldwell


As they say at Saint Lucine, Mazel Tov!!! 

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