We celebrated National Opera Week by showcasing some of the 2014/15 BLO Emerging Artists on our Facebook and Twitter pages. BLO helps nurture these talented young singers through one-on-one coaching sessions, role and audition preparation, paid performance opportunities in fully-staged BLO productions as well as educational and special events, and professional mentorship.
Read on to learn more about these Emerging Artists and why they devote their passion and energy to the operatic art form!
Omar Najmi, tenor, remembers his first opera experience:
“When I was a kid, one of my parents' friends said they just must hear the music of Wagner, so they got a CD of the overtures and preludes to Wagner's operas. The heroic grandeur of this music was the soundtrack of my childhood. When I was taking piano lessons, I really wanted to be able to play Wagner on the piano, so I ordered the piano/vocal score to Götterdämmerung on inter-library loan. I think I didn't realize at the time what an opera was – that not only would it have vocal parts, but that they would be in a foreign language!”
|Ben Gebo Photography|
Mezzo-soprano Heather Gallagher relates to the character that is perhaps opera’s most famous mezzo-soprano, Carmen.
“I like her the best because she's totally fearless, honest, and always exciting to play and to watch.”
Heather is also BLO's Resident Teaching Artist! Here she is pictured leading a workshop for young singers at Wheelock Family Theatre.
Brad Raymond, tenor, loves opera’s universality.
“Opera combines pretty much every art form you can think of (maybe not sculpting, but sometimes!). If you love art, you have to love opera!”
R.B. Schlather, Emerging Artist Stage Director, tells us why he loves opera:
“It's the most satisfying art form to me because it draws on so many other disciplines to produce it…Opera is everything.”
Bass-baritone David Wadden found his way to opera through the gateway of operetta!
“My senior year of high school, I bailed on indoor track and instead joined my friends from the a capella group in our high school's production of The Mikado. Our music director, himself a former opera singer, heard me sing and though I might have a decent operatic voice. He created an a capella arrangement of Mozart's ‘O, Isis und Osiris’, and I sang it for a school concert. It's a piece I still offer for auditions now!”
Chelsea Basler, soprano, says, “I love opera because, to me, opera combines all of the great art forms to create an all-sensory experience. On an opera stage one would not only hear amazing vocal feats but also some of the most beautifully written instrumental music, combined with heart-breaking drama and the visual splendor of costumes and sets. Some operas even have the element of dance. That hits all the high art forms in one experience. I ask, what's not to love!”
We also recognize and thank the two remaining Emerging Artists of the 2014/15 season, Rachel Hauge (soprano) and Jon Jurgens (tenor), for their work, talent, and commitment to opera.