- August 9, 2018
A group of Windermere Prep vocalists will be sharing the stage with some opera professionals in an upcoming concert.
Opera Orlando in Concert — set for Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Cypress Center for the Performing Arts at Windermere Prep — is the culmination of a collaboration between the school and Opera Orlando. Students worked with guest artists and studio artists from Opera Orlando in a masterclass setting before the concert.
“This collaboration is indeed fortuitous for our students at Windermere Prep as they (recently put) on their first opera this semester, Menotti’s ‘TheMedium,’” said Jason King, Windermere Prep’s director of fine arts. “We are thrilled to partner with Opera Orlando. We know that introducing our kids to all art forms, providing them the opportunity to collaborate on the stage with international talent, is truly invaluable and life molding.”
Senior Alex Sheffield and juniors Sophia Bresciani and Maria Gullesserian are three of the five students who will be performing at the concert. Each of the girls had a role in Windermere Prep’s production of “The Medium,” and they’re excited to take part in another night of opera at their school.
“Doing ‘The Medium,’ we’ve already had a little bit of experience (with opera), but since we had a really short period of time for rehearsals and all that, we weren’t really able to dive into what being in an opera actually is like professionally,”
Bresciani said. “I think that working (with) the people from Opera Orlando will really help us learn more about (professional opera). … I’m also really looking forward to (learning) the vocal techniques and just to learn about their own experience with opera...” she said.
“I’m looking forward to getting to work with professionals, especially professionals as highly acclaimed as they are,” Sheffield said. “I’m excited to learn new techniques and really develop my voice with them. … Singing opera whilst acting is very difficult because there’s so much support required for opera and there’s so much control that you have to have over your voice. You need to remember to maintain that while you’re moving around and while you’re still performing and portraying emotions.”
Gullesserian said before her experiences in “The Medium,” she thought opera was just a different style of singing. That sentiment changed when she realized that opera also requires a vocalist to convey emotions through singing.
“I used to think that, with opera, it was mostly singing and not reacting or being as dramatic as like theater,” Gullesserian said. “But the intensity in which (we) were singing actually allowed me to cry and sing at the same time. … I feel like you can hear the emotions not only with (expressions on) your face but with the way you’re singing things. … You can hear what you’re feeling.”
In addition to the students hitting the stage, the concert also will feature Italian opera conductor Nicolas Giusti, who is a master of the Italian style of opera, as well as a world-renowned pianist. He will be playing piano and conducting at the concert and he’ll also be acting as a mentor to the students. He said he loves working with and encouraging aspiring young vocalists, because they are the future of the art form of opera.
“I am excited because I love the young people,” Giusti said. “We have to consider the young people as our future, and we have to give them all we can, because without young people — children and young (adults) — we don’t have a future, we don’t have a life, we don’t have a world and we don’t have music, of course. … My goal is to encourage young people to consider the music, the arts and especially the opera as an important part of their lives.”
Giusti also will be joined by Opera Orlando Executive Director Gabriel Preisser, who is the organization’s “resident baritone.” Giusti and Preisser will perform a concert of operatic arias, duets and ensembles alongside the students.
“We know that this is the beginning of a wonderful long-term partnership with the students and faculty at Windermere Prep, and we are so grateful to them for having us,” Preisser said. “They have a beautiful venue and a talented array of students who are eager to launch their careers in the arts. It is our privilege to provide formative opportunities, like this concert, that will certainly enrich the students’ lives and also enrich our entire community.”