FSSA’s First Opera Show Will Go Down in History
Tonight at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) the lights will dim again and another curtain will rise. The audience will feel like they traveled back in time to 1951, as they watch Amahl and the Night Visitors performed by the opera students at FSSA. As people were buying their tickets, the cast of the Opera were working countless hours inside and outside of the third floor Black Box Theatre space making sure it will be another successful show.
Tonight’s show will go down in history because the FSSA opera singers have never performed a full opera. In the past FSSA opera singers have had the opportunity to perform short excerpts of operas. However, tonight the singers will be able to say that they were the first class to have had the opportunity to perform a full opera.
Mr. Kirby, the vocal teacher in charge of the FSSA opera class, has been working with his students on their vocal technique to prepare for the upcoming show. Mr. Kirby has been preparing his students during regular scheduled classes as well as during after school rehearsals. Opera is difficult for high schoolers to perform, but the students are doing well, according to their teacher. Mr. Kirby is also directing the show and he is having a great time doing so. He has been a part of Amahl and the Night Visitors a number of times himself, playing different roles.
Mr. Kirby was exposed to this opera for the first time when he was in college. The one act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti debuted in 1951.
“I had the chance to expose the students at Frank Sinatra to a piece that was written for a young boy who was between 11 and 13 years old whose voice is still a soprano,” states Mr. Kirby. “I had this idea when I first started working here at Frank Sinatra last year.”
“I chose this opera because my student Nico Rizzi is in fact an Amahl and I said what better time is it to do Amahl when I have one right here and I have other talented singers to cover the other roles,” he added.
FSSA senior Sebastian Garcia believes that it is really great that the opera workshop gets to put on its own full production.
“This is the first time we get to have a full length performance of what we do and work hard on everyday,” he states. Sebastian is very excited because the opera is coming out really well, in his opinion.
Sebastian says he feels prepared being that the class has been rehearsing since November.
“The voices sound really strong and really connected,” Sebastian said.
Furthermore, Sebastian explains that the acting is really good and it is going very well. Sebastian has the honor of playing King Kasper and is enjoying this role a whole lot.
Students, like Sebastian, dream of becoming opera singers. This is just the stepping stone for students like him to reach that goal. From learning technique, learning staging, learning how to act, and become a different character while still keeping a strong vocal technique, will help Sebastian and his peers in the future.
FSSA vocal majors must take one of the many technique classes offered as well as also being a part of a major ensemble. Some of these technique classes include Opera, Chamber Singers, Men’s Ensemble, Women’s Ensemble, and basic technique classes. At the end of each year, FSSA vocal majors must put the technique classes in order from their first preference to their last. The vocal teachers then decide which class would be a good fit for each individual student. Many students want to be a part of the opera program to improve their classical technique, while also improving their dramatic work. After several months, these students hope to perform in an opera after improving their technique.
All of this experience has helped Sebastian prepare for his role in the opera.
“As a vocal major, I don’t really get to act and this is my chance to really become a different character and act like a crazy old man. I get to become a different person, which I really love,” Sebastian said.
– by Julia Leone ’19