Suor Angelica with Chicago Summer Opera
I’m sure some of you recall getting an urgent email from me about a last minute fundraiser around the end of May. I was accepted to two summer programs and was able to attend both of them which was rather costly. I’d managed to secure scholarships for the tuition, found a home stay In Chicago (my awesome aunt and uncle), and received a ticket to Montreal from a family friend, leaving me with the cost of my bills at home, transportation, and food. After everything had been set, scheduled, and paid for, my well loved, 10 year old car, died completely. Since it would have been thousands of dollars to fix and the value of the car in working order was around $800, I ended up using all of the money I’d saved for the summer expenses, on getting new car. Thanks to your generous donations, I raised approximately, $2800 to replace the money for food and transportation while away, and now have a reliable way to get to rehearsals, gigs, and my day job! I truly cannot thank you enough for supporting me in such a meaningful way.
I spent all of June 2015 in Chicago. I had originally planned on spending only a few weeks there performing in Chicago Summer Opera's production of Suor Angelica, but decided to enter the Classical Singer Convention competition, which was also taking place in Chicago.
Classical Singer magazine is another great resource for singers and other classical musicians. They also host an annual convention with masterclasses, mock auditions, and a plethora of other offerings to help high school through emerging professionals better themselves as performers, business women, and artists. They heard an imaginable number of singers starting in November, 2014, at Universities across the US. The singers who auditioned and won locally were advanced to the second round of the national competition. I waited until I got to Chicago but even still, they had at least 400 singers in the first round of the competition in Chicago. I was extremely honored and excited to be one of the eight national finalists for my devision. I’m truly so happy for and proud of the top three winners Zoie Reams, Zachary Elmassian, Maria Jose Badano. At this level, everyone is dedicated, hard working, talented, and deserving, so congrats! The video of my performance during the finals is available HERE.
The day after the finals concert, the first rehearsal for Chicago Summer Opera's production of Suor Angelica took place.
The Chicago Summer Opera program consisted of coachings, voice lessons, a dramatic prep class, as well as masterclasses, all in addition to their double bill of The Medium and Suor Angelicat. I really enjoyed working with voice teacher Julia Faulkner while I was there. She had some great ideas and gave me some useful new tools. Codrut Birsan was the conductor and is quite masterful while still being very accommodating to the singers, which is not something you come across too often. The shows were directed by George Cederquist who was so fun to work with. He brought a great perspective of ‘legit’ theater and had the attention to detail coupled with the intense history of the operas which made it easy to bring his vision to life. He had very clear ideas but was very open to our interpretations of the characters. I have to say I enjoyed the other singers most of all however. Everyone was extremely talented and had their own forte and niche within opera, which let us all to be teachers. Everyone was very supportive and encouraging. I can’t say enough good things about the program. I have some excerpts from Suor Angelica posted HERE.
I know it has been quite a while since you've heard from me, but I've been busy singing and have some exciting things to share with you.
With the new year comes resolutions, mine is to post weekly about my summer projects, which you all so generously helped me fulfill, until I've caught you up. At which point I'll continue to post weekly about upcoming events, news, auditions, gigs, etc....
I cannot express how meaningful your continued support is and am so happy to share my journey with you!
So the wonderful Chris Bott, picked Beyonce's 'Ave Maria' for me to sing at church this morning. I kept an open mind and it turned out great. Can't wait to sing it again.
PS - Dear Beyonce, please don't sue me.
My family and I went to this awesome Ethiopian restaurant and they had a wonderful Jazz duo, who asked if I would sing a song with them. Here it is...the only torch song I remember from high school!