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Opera singers arrive for production of Carmen

Wednesday, July 23, 2014   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

SOO THEATRE PROJECT

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Opera singers arrive in the Upper Peninsula!

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI - Late summer is just around the corner in the U.P. and for the Soo Theatre Project this means it’s opera time.  

Soo Opera is now gearing up for a three-week whirlwind of workshops, stagings and rehearsals for the upcoming performances of this season’s Carmen.

These singing professionals will spend two to three weeks in residency with the Soo Theatre Project, performing in leading roles, mentoring our own young singers and for some, teaching and coaching and even directing aspects of the show.  

Says opera director, Karen Hughes Beacom: “The artist-in-residence program is great on so many levels. Not only do singers from around the country have an opportunity to perform a role for their own careers, but they help us to create a nurturing environment for our local artists to experience first rate training and to work alongside real working singer/actors.”

This summer from July 21-25, opera workshop participants will spend six hours a day honing their craft in a series of master classes, vocal coachings and lessons from the master clinicians.  

This year’s workshop will be led by New Orleans tenor, Travis Richter with the assistance of opera director, Karen Beacom.

Richter comes to us directly from Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia where he just performed the role of Little Bat in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah.  

Richter has performed across the country with Evansville Philharmonic, Des Moines Metro Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera Louisiane, Utah Opera and Central City to name just a sampling.  

Richter will stay on to play the role of Remendado, a smuggler in Carmen’s camp.

Workshop participants vary greatly in age this year due to a children’s chorus being a part of the mainstage opera.  

Our budding young singer division consists of singers from ages 7-13.

These students will work alongside the older, more experienced singers, who range from the aspiring high school and college student to adults who sing for the love of it.

Carmen will also provide an additional skill to enhance the participants’ experience; they will be learning to sing in French!  

The show, set in Spain, was written in the composer’s native language, Français!  

This will be the Soo Opera’s second production performed in the original language, the first being La Bohème which was sung in Italian.

Opera apprentices Markel Reed of Lexington, Kentucky and Melanie Case of Rudyard, Michigan will be preparing their roles for the opera during the workshop, respectively Mercèdés, a gypsy friend of Carmen, and Morales and Dancaïro, a soldier and a smuggler.

The young artists will perform in a vocal gala on Friday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Soo Theatre [Ashmun Street, Sault Michigan].  
Admission is by donation.

The rest of the crew begins working on the show on July 27.

Chicago based singers Olga Bojovic and Brad Jungwirth will play the roles of Carmen and Escamillo.  

J. Adam Shelton of Madison, WI will play the tenor, Don José.  

Beacom sings the role of the peasant girl Micaëla.  

Chelsea Helm of Kalamazoo also joins the cast as Frasquita and local singer Matt Zook will play Lillas Pastia, the Innkeeper.

The show will be conducted by Sault Symphony conductor Dr. John Wilkinson and directed by local hometown favourite and Toronto resident Eric Shaw.  

Carmen will run for three performances, August 6 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and August 10 at 2 p.m.

Don’t forget: The first annual Soo Film Festival takes place on August 1 and 2.  

And more children’s arts camps are happening this week and next.  

Call the Soo Theatre at 906-632-1930 for more information on Elementary Arts Exploration Camp, Pre-school Music, Art and Play Camp and for last minute placement into the Vocal Workshop!

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