VERSATILITY IN THE MODERN PERFORMER: THREE DIVERSE OPERA ROLES
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This dissertation project consisted of performances of three diverse operatic roles. The goal was to examine the challenges and benefits of performing diverse repertoire (baroque, classical, and romantic opera, in this case) and to observe how vocal and acting techniques might adjust to different styles and voice classifications. On December 3, 5, 11, and 13,2003, I performed a composite role in Fatal Song, directed by Leon Major, in the Robert & Arlene Kogod Theatre. This opera pastiche, premiered in 1996, contains spoken dialogue, and the music originates from famous eighteenth and nineteenth-century operas. I explored the challenges and benefits of playing three different, well-known opera characters within the same opera, performing four different languages within the same opera, and performing spoken dialogue in an opera. My roles in this pastiche of famous opera included Lucia from Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti, Manon from Manon by Jules Massenet, and Pamina from Die ZauberJlote by W.A. Mozart. On January 28 and 29, 2005, I performed the role of Nice in Eurilla e Alcindo, a serenata by Antonio Vivaldi, in Homer Ulrich Recital Hall; musical direction by Joseph Gascho and stage direction by Kate Vetter Cain. I explored the challenges and benefits of preparing baroque ornamentation, singing without a conductor, performing an unknown work, staging a work that is not traditionally staged, singing with minimal sets and costumes, and singing with period instruments. On April 16,20, and 24,2005, I performed the role of Musetta in Giacomo Puccini's La BohBme, directed by Pat Diamond and conducted by Jeffrey Rink, in the Ina & Jack Kay Theatre. I examined the challenges and benefits of singing with a large orchestra of modem instruments, singing Puccini rubato and coordinating this with the conductor, and singing a role in one of the most well-known operas in today's repertoire. As a result of this investigation, I concluded that singing different styles, and singing outside one's voice classification, within reason, is beneficial. The knowledge, skill, confidence and insight I acquired by becoming more versatile benefited me as a performer and as a teacher.