Knowledge is power- Resources for a stellar audition

As many of you know, the fall brings the onslaught of auditions for the upcoming seasons of hundreds of opera companies.  Those of you who are just starting out probably took one look at the YAP Tracker website and just about keeled over!  The benefits of having all of this information at your fingertips are numerous but the sheer number of opportunities is a bit intimidating!

Fear not, young singers!  There are so many resources available to you to help prepare you for this exciting time, including this spectacular series being produced by Carnegie Hall called “The Singers Audition Handbook” written by Claudia Friedlander.  This series puts together a bunch of videos with very helpful information, including the first post, “What do you wish you had known starting out?”  Ms. Friedlander also helps you to figure out what programs and auditions would be best for you as a young singer; the infamous Young Artist Program, competitions, and beyond.

For those of you who are a little more “weathered”, this series will also delve into proper formatting for a repertoire list, polishing your ever-growing resume, and even tips for giving an unforgettable audition.

The Musical Exchange website is also very handy reference point, with many articles, videos, and communities for musicians to join.  I would highly recommend signing up and creating your individual profile!  There are just too many great resources to pass this up!

 

Now, get out there and sing your little hearts out!!!

On the Road with Zachary Ballard

Zachary Ballard, BaritoneZachary Ballard is currently singing in the 2014 Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Program. There he is performing the 2nd Guard in Dead Man Walking and covering the lead, Joseph de Rocher. An avid performer and emerging operatic artist, Zachary most recently travelled across the state of Iowa as part of Des Moines Metro Opera’s outreach educational troupe, OPERA Iowa. There he sang the role of Don Giovanni Pig in The Three Little Pigs (Davies) and Belcore in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. In the summer of 2013, Zachary made his Boston Opera Collaborative debut covering and performing scenes as Dandini in Donizetti’s La Cenerentola. Other 2013 highlights include singing Papageno (Mozart, Die Zauberflöte) with the Manhattan Opera Studio and Junius (Britten, The Rape of Lucretia) as part of the Opera Brittenica inaugural season. Zachary is continually searching for enriching opportunities in the world of opera.

 

What was the audition process like for the Young Artist Program you are currently singing with? 

I auditioned for Des Moines Metro Opera during the regular New York season.  So, I used my YAP Tracker account to send in materials and book a time slot.  I traveled to New York and sang my audition, which was for both the OPERA Iowa and DMMO programs.  Because I indicated that I was interested and available for both contracts, I found out about my acceptance relatively soon after singing for the company.

How did you prepare for your experience? (Music memory, moving, etc.)

Taking on both contracts generally means about a six month commitment.  Because of that, I had to relocate to Indianola, Iowa.  We rehearsed for about three weeks before starting the school tour, so I showed up for the first contract nearly memorized.  We knew about the season for the summer as well, so after I signed my second set of contracts I started learning choruses, small roles, and scene assignments.

What is your living situation like?

During the winter, I lived with one other person (a great guy and roommate) in an apartment.  The educational tour involves a great deal of traveling, though, so I mostly lived out of hotel rooms.  The summer is much different, as the company utilizes Simpson College’s campus and apprentices live in individual rooms with communal bathrooms.

What has the experience been like so far? (classes, rehearsal, etc)

The process has been very busy.  DMMO’s season wraps up earlier than many other programs, so we are constantly moving.  That’s exciting in a way, because there is always another performance to prepare.  However, I have not been vocally challenged like this before.  The same goes for the winter contract.  We sang shows, generally two a day, all week long.  That doesn’t include evening performances, weekend concerts, and a random bar sing or two.

Has anything about your experience surprised you?

I was surprised that everyone got along so well.  My colleagues have been amazing.  Not that I expected cattiness, but I did anticipate that we would be too busy to socialize.  Not the case.  I have made some great friends here and have felt very supported by all of them.  I am also surprised to feel the need to rest.  Usually singers seem to just move from gig to gig without rest, but I can surely say I need a break (at least a small one).  I’m learning that pacing is much more active than I realized, and you need to be careful so you can plan accordingly.

How do you feel you have grown / are growing through this experience?

I have really started to figure out where my individual voice fits into the larger operatic spectrum by being here.  Schools can only show you so much about where you will land after graduating, and having fresh takes on what I do has been truly educational.

What is the next step for your career?

I have a few things in the works, but until anything is set in stone, all I can say is I’m moving with my fiancé (not singing related) to Washington D.C. as soon as I leave Iowa.  More auditions!

Cis’ Diary – Part 3

Take a sneak peak into the making of an opera character!

Follow BOC Member Artist Sarah Shechtman as she takes you behind the scenes of our summer opera as “Cis” in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring

Cis’ Diary – Part 2

Tech Week!

Cis’ Diary – Part 2

Take a sneak peak into the making of an opera character!

Follow BOC Member Artist Sarah Shechtman as she takes you behind the scenes of our summer opera as “Cis” in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring

Cis’ Diary – Part 2

Practice Makes Perfect…

Introducing…Cis’ Diary, Part 1!

Take a sneak peak into the making of an opera character!

Follow BOC Member Artist Sarah Shechtman as she takes you behind the scenes of our summer opera as “Cis” in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring

Cis’ Diary – Part 1

Learning the part

On the road with Stephanie Scarcella…Her experience as a Young Artist

Stephanie Scarcella is currently working with St. Petersburg Opera, as an Emerging Artist. She will perform the role of Margarita and is covering Anita in West Side Story. Stephanie is a proud member of Boston Opera Collaborative.

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1) What was the audition process like for the Young Artist Program you are currently singing with? 
I sang for their general auditions in Spring 2013 knowing  their season included Gounod’s Romeo et Juliet and West Side Story.  I had thought I would be considered for the pants role Stefano in the Gounod, but I secretly wanted to be Anita in West Side Story even though it had been a few years since I’d done any musical theater.  At the audition I sang Stefano’s aria, then was asked for my musical theater piece and then asked to look over Anita’s lines from the bridal shop scene with Maria and read them with the maestro after I was ready.  I was emailed in August being invited to attend a dance call back in New York (which I did) and then the waiting process began until they offered me the contract!
2) How did you prepare for your experience? (Music memory, moving, etc.)
I asked a lot of my colleagues who had a head start on this how they recommended handling everything logistical with my apartment and money and such.  This was my first time not having the comfort of a steady income, so I found a sublet for my room and was very diligent about saving up before leaving to be sure I was set financially.
Since high school I’ve had the mindset that you ALWAYS show up to a gig/rehearsal with music learned and memorized if need be.  For West Side Story, the added difficulty was the dialogue! I actually practiced with my colleagues at my gig prior to coming here. I also recorded myself speaking the other character’s lines with space where Anita has a line.  I know I looked like a crazy person practicing that way…but you gotta do what you gotta do!
3) What is your living situation like?
I am living with a very lovely host who is a big lover of the opera company.  Actually, most people down here are very supportive of it!  But, everyone who is brought in from out of town is living with a host “family”.
4) What has the experience been like so far? (classes, rehearsal, etc)
Rehearsal for this was INTENSE.  We would have 8, 10, 12 hour days sometimes due to the complexity of the choreography.
5) Has anything about your experience surprised you?
Probably the intensity and length of rehearsals!
6) How do you feel you have grown/ are growing through this experience?
 I had the opportunity to step in as Anita in rehearsals when the actual Anita had been released for another performance.  I hadn’t had any rehearsal other than practicing in the back by myself and somehow I was able to do everything.  In the midst of four 12 hour rehearsal days, and three concerts.  I’d say I felt pretty invincible after that and was able to see that if I just put my mind to it, I can get through anything!
7) What is the next step for your career?
That’s always the question…I’m preparing for two recitals in the fall plus audition season!
8) Anything else to add.
I imagined my career to follow a “cookie cutter” path that I figured it HAD to in order to be successful.  Although it hasn’t gone the way I imagined, I am learning so much about myself and still getting wonderful experience.  I still struggle wondering and worrying about what the future holds and how everything will pan out, but lately I am feeling comforted knowing that each year out of school has had a significant step forward and I can only keep going that way if I remain persistent.  I am thankful that I have some wonderful colleagues I’ve met along the way who are supportive and encouraging!

 

Spotlight: Composer Mohammed Fairouz on Sumeida’s Song

Mohammed Fairouz, composer
Mohammed Fairouz, composer

Mohammed Fairouz, born in 1985, is one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of his generation. Hailed by The New York Times as “an important new artistic voice” and by BBC World News as “one of the most talented composers of his generation,” Fairouz integrates Middle-Eastern modes into Western structures, to deeply expressive effect. His output encompasses virtually every genre, including opera, symphonies, ensemble works, chamber and solo pieces, choral settings, and more than a dozen song cycles. Commissions have come from Rachel Barton Pine, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Borromeo String Quartet, Imani Winds, New York Festival of Song, Da Capo Chamber Players, Cantus, and many others. Recent premieres include his first opera, Sumeida’s Song, and his fourth symphony, In the Shadow of No Towers, both greeted with critical acclaim.

You have been hailed as one of today’s leading composers. How did you incorporate elements of Arabic and Western contemporary music? 

I don’t see a conflict here. Having traveled the entire world as a kid has only emphasized to me how small of a place it is. The cross-pollination between Arabic and European culture is also something that has been happening for a very long time now.

Sharing creative ideas about astronomy, mathematics, medicine, the arts, and every other aspect of human invention and culture has enriched the millennia-old dialogue between Arabic and Western civilization. Maqam (the Arabic modal system), with its emphasis on melody finds a natural place of importance for me as I compose works that are largely driven by poetry and text. The Arabic love for storytelling and drama also heavily influences the way I write music.

I believe that music is intuitive, dramatic and communicative on the deepest level. This is something that both cultures share.

Sumeida’s Song was your first opera-what were some of the challenges of composing such a work?

Opera is hard. Naturally, there are a million and seven considerations when composing an opera beyond just the music itself. The libretto has to convey a sense of immediate drama and work together with the music to capture the audience and not let them go till the very end. The story has to be revealed without being overly expository or contrived. The drama has to work itself out in a way that seems natural. The singers and their many concerns, from the passaggio of a lead mezzo to the balance between the trombones and the baritone in his big number (for example), have to be taken into account.

Then come all the concerns of mounting a production: from working with lighting, costume and set designers to directors and musical directors and rehearsal pianists and tech crew and many, many others.

Opera, being the ultimate collaborative art form, is hard but the things that make is so difficult to pull off also make it deeply rewarding.

After studying at New England Conservatory, how does it feel to have one of your works presented in Boston?

I’m no stranger to Boston! My works have been presented and even co-commissioned by the important and great institutions on the Boston scene. But I don’t always get up to Boston for the performances. Getting to come and work with the special talents that make up the Boston music scene is such a treat and always feels a little bit like a homecoming for me.

What drew you to the play, Song of Death by Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim?

It’s one of the absolute classics of Arabic theater in the 20th century. Written in the early 1950s, its also one of Tawfiq al-Hakims earliest plays. I’m really taken by its straightforward classical architecture. al-Hakim said he was influenced by Sophocles and Euripides when writing these early plays. If opera had some early foundation in the formality of greek plays then I think we’ve come full circle.

The story of Sumeida’s Song doesn’t directly deal with politics of Egypt however, it’s difficult to ignore some of the correlations of recent events over the past few years. In what ways were you able to capture the feel of this time in Egypt?

Please remember that Sumeida’s Song was finished in 2008-2009 before the events of the Tahrir square uprising began by a couple of years. Having said this, the themes of the opera are pretty universal. This could happen in a small village in rural Italy or the American South as easily as a small village in Upper Egypt. People standing for education against darkness and insisting on change for the better in their societies has happened again and again in every human society on the planet.

How were you able to project the humanity of the characters so that we the audience could connect with them on a deeper level?

I just stayed out of the way of the characters. It’s easy, when writing an opera like this, to be tempted to provide a sort of musical “commentary” on the characters of the opera but thats not really the point. It is ideal for the music to serve the purpose of furthering the drama of the opera. The music needs to help tell the story.

Just presenting the characters of Sumeida’s Song objectively as human beings goes a long way to making them more relatable to the audience.

What are the over-arching themes of your opera?

Education over darkness and illiteracy, peace and non-violence, a refusal to take up arms and kill, the value of both modernization and tradition and the conflict that arises between them and, of course, change vs the status quo.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

I am thrilled that the Boston Opera Collaborative is taking the initiative to bring new works of opera to the Boston audiences. Boston has not had a really permanent opera house since the days of Sarah Caldwell so it is particularly moving to see the young collective of BOC doing ambitious and great things. I’m honored to join you in Boston for this production.

“What’s Left to Say”: Gina Razón discusses San Diego Opera’s Closure

 

Gina Razon
Gina Razon, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo soprano Gina Razón is from the Dominican Republic by way of New York City. She has performed with the Center Stage Opera, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Opera Fort Collins, Loveland Opera Theatre and OpenStage Theatre.  She is the Executive Director of the Operaverse project, Co-Manager of Opera on Tap Boston and the Director of Development for Boston Opera Collaborative.

 

“What’s left to say:

 News of San Diego Opera’s closure this year and the subsequent movements of their Board, caused an explosion of commentary in music circles about SDO specifically and the survival of opera in general.  Enough commentary, in fact, that we can probably stop fretting that opera is irrelevant or even dying (see Cindy Sadler’s awesome blogpost on the subject http://100lbs.typepad.com/mezzo_with_character/2014/04/index.html).

 It seems that everything has been said and yet…

 In all of tumult about what is to be done to save the genre, there is not enough being said about why.  Why do we deserve to remain part of the conversation?  It is that question that I don’t believe is being asked enough in the board rooms and rehearsal spaces of our opera houses.  The public can be cultivated, polled and analyzed but if producing organizations don’t have a value proposition and a raison d’être then we are truly lost.

 Opera costs money.  Once you employ staff members and pay a living wage to the artists, we are talking a lot of money.  In the panic to raise that money we can sometimes forget why we started creating in the first place.  The truth is that powerful operatic experiences can be created by a couple of singers with a piano in a church basement.  Opera is immensely flexible and highly scaleable which we see in a wealth of companies creating dynamic opera on what many would find an impossible budget—thank God for volunteers!

 I suppose what I find lacking in our industry is vision.  I don’t see the dreams and hopes of some organizations in their work.  There are wonderful exceptions but they are out there quietly succeeding not making headlines for their fiscal woes. One such is Chicago Opera Theater whose stated mission (http://www.chicagooperatheater.org/the-company) is dynamic and specific.  A quick look at their season (and their tax returns) seems to prove their mission is on track and working.  Another is Gotham Chamber Opera (http://www.gothamchamberopera.org/about_us/) who has in just over a decade created a vibrant new voice for the future of Opera. Neither of these companies boasts anything near the 15 million San Diego thought insufficient.   They do however stand in stark contrast to some of our most vaulted companies where it isn’t obvious that there is love and passion and Opera at work at all. 

 Mission and Vision statements cannot be museum pieces; they must actually inspire and drive an organization.  This is exceedingly difficult to do and, not to beat a dead horse, the money required is a huge stumbling block.  We cannot do the work if we don’t know how to pay for it, but no amount of money will save us if we don’t understand why we do the work.  I tend to believe that true Passion always sells.”

The Inside Scoop – Felicia Gavilanes talks about Sumeida’s Song

Felicia Gavilanes, Mezzo-Soprano
Felicia Gavilanes, Mezzo-Soprano

Mezzo-soprano Felicia Gavilanes performs throughout the Northeast and abroad, with recent performances in Europe and New England.  Felicia has performed the role of Mrs. DeRocher in Boston Opera Collaborative’s acclaimed production of “Dead Man Walking”, Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas with Just Love to Sing, Diana (cover) in “Orpheus in the Underworld” with Boston Opera Collaborative, and Erisbe in “Ormindo” with the Harvard Early Music Society.  Felicia sang the role of La Ciesca with the Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra in Fidenza, Italy and recent recital engagements include performances at the Staatstheater Darmstadt and the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome.  Felicia earned a Master of Music with Honors from the New England Conservatory, where she sang the roles of Ora Tre in Cavalli’s “Egisto” and Gossip in “Angelique”.  Felicia will appear next in the role of Asakir in Mohammed Fairouz’s “Sumeida’s Song” with Boston Opera Collaborative, and as Flora Bervoix in Opera Providence’s Summer production of “La Traviata”.

You will be performing the role of Asakir, who is the mother of Alwan. Asakir urges her son Alwan to defend the murder of his father by continuing an ancient blood feud. How are you able to connect with such a character who is so far removed from your personal experiences?

This was one of the biggest challenges for me when I began preparing for this role. It was also something I was eager to overcome so that I could connect with the character – even more so, that I could give the audience a chance to connect with Asakir and form their own ideas.  I read the play (Song of Death) and some other works by Tawfiq Al-Hakim.  I also read articles, news stories, and even blogs written about the tradition of blood revenge.  I think, however,  what has been most helpful was the ongoing conversations about these characters- during rehearsal and after rehearsal with my colleagues – I even made my husband read the play so we could talk about it!  I’ve realized that these themes are not so far from our own experiences at all.  Everyone struggles with family obligations and the fear of disappointing our parents or our children; the family member who goes away and comes home changed; the pain of letting go of the past.

Tell us about the rehearsal process thus far. What have been some of the challenges of putting this opera on its feet?  

I have found the rehearsal process very supportive with a lot of space to explore and discover these characters and their music.  One of the challenges has been that there isn’t a lot of physical action- the entire story unfolds in the interior of a small house- and yet we need to achieve intense drama within this limited space.  This also allows for a lot of intimate, intense personal moments between the characters, which is exciting.

Could you describe the music of Sumeida’s Song? How has this dictated your representation of Asakir’s character?

The music is challenging!  I think this music really exists to serve the text and the drama, and the more I get to know it, the more potential I see to really create a lot of exciting colors as we tell this story.  I can’t wait to hear this music with orchestra!

What do you feel you have learned from being involved in Boston Opera Collaborative? 

I have learned so much from being part of this group.  In a lot of ways, BOC is the closest equivalent to the traditional European ensemble system, in which a company of singers work together throughout the season.  It’s such a luxury to artistically explore and take risks with colleagues you know and trust under direction; like from Andrew Altenbach who also cares about our growth as individual artists.  I’ve also really come to appreciate how much power we as artists have to push boundaries and ask provocative questions and I think a company like BOC is often more able to do that than larger, more established companies.

What were some of your personal breakthroughs during your time spent with Sumeida’s Song? 

I’m not sure if I’m ready yet to boast about any major breakthroughs- check back with me on opening night!

BOC Alumni Feature: Brendan P. Buckley, Tenor

After serving as an active member as well as on the Board of BOC for several years, tenor Brendan P. Buckley has since sung with such notable companies as Monadnock Music Festival and Boston Lyric Opera. In addition to his operatic and concert work throughout the New England area, Brendan maintains a full private voice studio and music directs small ensembles for a local theater company.
Brendan Buckley, headshot

What has been your involvement with BOC (i.e. roles, other performances, work experiences administrative, committee, etc.)?

My first involvement with BOC was playing the role of Monostatos in The Magic Flute in 2008. I then went on to play roles in Gianni Schicchi, La cambiale die matrimonio, Carmen, Le nozze di Figaro, Little Women, Falstaff, Orpheus in the Underworld, and finally Dead Man Walking. In 2010, I was nominated to for the position of Board Member-At-Large to finish a term of an existing Board Member who could no longer stay on the Board. After finishing that term I was again nominated for the position, and served a full term, leaving in 2012.

What was your favorite role you did with BOC?

That’s a very difficult question, as I enjoyed each role I played for different reasons.  However, my most memorable experience is as Remendado in Carmen.  He’s dirty, cunning, violent, yet fiercely loyal to his friends.  I still think he’s the kind of guy who would buy you a drink and then steal your money to pay for it! 

How has your BOC experience helped in your career as an opera singer and as a teacher?

BOC has probably helped me in more ways than I even realize.  Doing the myriad of roles I played, from character roles like Remendado and Mononstatos to leads such as Laurie in Little Women, greatly broadened the list of skills I can bring to the stage, skills I have used recently as George Gibbs in Our Town with Monadnock Music Festival and as an ensemble member in BLO’s production of Rigoletto.  I teach those same skills to all my students, including how to interpret a role, how to stand and move onstage, etc.  Watching my students absorb and then show those skills onstage is a joy, and I am incredibly grateful to BOC for helping me become the singer and teacher I am.

As an active administrative member of BOC, how do you feel your “behind the scenes” work helped you in your life and career thus far?

Working as an administrator for BOC helped me learn how to work with many different personalities and opinions.  Not all administrative decisions are easy to make; more often than not, they can take longer than anticipated.  As a result, learning how to deal with those sticky and difficult situations and decisions in a positive way is crucial to ensuring that the mission of the company continues moving forward.  My time on the Board gave me the opportunity to learn how to negotiate and work towards a middle ground that all can agree on, even if that middle ground does not include ideas that I might have really believed in.  My confidence in my abilities to work on the other side of an arts organization grew exponentially as a result of my working on the Board.

What’s the most surprising skill that you gained while in BOC?

That’s a very good question!  I did not expect to get the administrative experience I gained while a member.  I honestly thought I’d avoid that if possible, but in hindsight I’m grateful for the opportunity!

What advice would you offer to young opera singers coming out of college or conservatory, and considering membership in BOC?

I would recommend that all potential BOC members take advantage of every opportunity BOC presents.  Membership in BOC is very much like a residency in that there are multiple performing opportunities as well as masterclasses on musicianship, handling finances, etc.  It also gives singers an appreciation of how to run an opera company, something that schools cannot provide.  All in all, BOC members become incredibly experienced, well-rounded musicians that companies want.

What’s your favorite piece of music (opera, song, theater or otherwise) and why?

That’s a very difficult question to answer.  I am drawn to songs that have a story to tell, that are more than just beautiful music – I guess that’s why I’m drawn to character roles.  I love “Kennst du das Land” from Little Women; it is absolutely gorgeous and does a wonderful job of exposing Professor Behr’s love for his home and art.  The quintet from Carmen is also a favorite of mine.  It’s incredibly difficult to master, but is such fun!

What made you decide to pursue a career in teaching along with your singing career? Any tips you’d give to singers trying to get into a teaching career, and wanting to balance that with a performing career as well?

Teaching is something I have always wanted to do.  It actually runs in my family; both my mother and paternal grandfather were teachers.  Teachers have always inspired me, and I continue to look up to the ones who introduced me to music as a high school student.  I get a huge rush from teaching, especially when I see my students have those “light bulb” moments when they begin to really understand what singing is all about.  If a singer is interested in teaching, unless you get a job as a chorus or general music teacher at a public or private school, do not expect overnight success.  It has taken me years to get to the point that I can financially support myself as a voice teacher, and I teach at three different locations.  There are many ways to attract students; Craigslist ads work for some, as does putting your name on the list of teachers at the BSR website.  Also, keep an eye for job listings once the summer comes on both Craigslist and hireculture.org

Once you begin to get a few students, word of mouth will help.  However, the first decision to make is how you want to balance your commitments.  It is extremely difficult, if close to impossible, to have a 50/50 balance of teaching and singing.  One side has to give, otherwise you’ll be completely burned out.  While I still sing quite a bit, I now put more focus on concerts instead of full operas simply because they require less time.  If singing is something you’re not willing to tone down, keep your roster of students low.  With a little time and patience, a singer can find that balance.

What’s something that you wish you would’ve known about a singing career when you were leaving graduate school?  In other words – what DON’T the conservatories tell you?

Conservatories and colleges tell you very little about how to manage a career.  They don’t really have time – there are too many other skills they need to teach, and so they will rely on masterclasses to do that, if there’s room in the budget for that sort of thing.  However, in my experience, I learned nothing about how to manage my finances, how to look for performing opportunities, how to advertise myself, how to read a contract…I could go on.  Schools therefore inject the market with numbers of wide-eyed singers who expect to make it big but know nothing about what to do next.  It’s a shame, but it’s the nature of the academic beast.

Do you think the nature of making a career of singing opera changing?  If so, how to you think the experience of BOC can help a young singer prepare for their next stage?

I think the nature of making a career has already changed, and we’re seeing the effects.  How many opera companies have closed in the past few years, and why?  From what I’ve read, it appears to be purely financial – the old financial model of grand opera can barely get by.  Look at the Met – it consistently runs in the red even though it rakes in money hand over fist from donors, advertisers and live broadcasts.  YAPs and residencies are honestly no longer training programs – they’ve instead become waiting rooms filled with singers who really should be at the next level but can’t advance because the number of opportunities has collapsed as the number of singers has grown. 

So, where does BOC fit in all this?  Its uniqueness sets it apart because it provides training on both sides of the stage as it were.  Members learn how to be professional – how to master a role on your own as well as how to behave in rehearsals.  Members also learn arts administration, which I think will become more valuable as time goes on.  I honestly believe that the most valuable musicians are those who come to rehearsals prepared and professional, and also are willing to pitch in off the stage whenever possible.

What’s next for you?

Well, right now I have a full load of voice students as well as three show choirs I conduct, steady work as a church choir section leader and BLO ensemble member, and a number of gigs lined up.  This April, I return as a judge at the WERS All A Capella Live! competition.  In May, I’ll perform with the Greater New Bedford Choral Society and also be a preliminary judge at the MetroWest Opera high school competition.  Beyond that, I’m looking into doctoral programs in voice as well as picking up bigger concert gigs.  Outside of that, I plan on doing some traveling with my wife, soprano Katrina Holden (another BOC alum).  We’ve even talked about putting together a concert at some point, so stay tuned!