By Janaya Palmer
Fall and winter performances are on the horizon at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
One of the biggest productions of the year in the Music department is Opera Scenes. Opera Scenes is, as the name implies, a compilation of various scenes from operas and musicals that showcase the talent of the vocalists.
With a few weeks left of the rehearsal process, students are thrilled to get to the opening performance. The scenes have begun to be staged and the clock is ticking down for the numbers to be learned.
“I feel like we might need to pick up the pace a little bit,“ said junior vocalist Mae Guerrasio when asked her opinion on the progress of the production. “November’s coming quickly and I don’t think we’re there yet.”
There are 12 scenes this year, which is the most the department has showcased in a while. Many vocalists have expressed their opinions on their favorites so far and you may even catch them singing some of them in the hallway.
From whimsical “The Magic Flute” to the wordy “Candide”, Opera Scenes is sure to be a can’t miss production. Vocalists enjoy this production very much because it’s a much needed break from the type of music performed throughout the rest of the school year.
Most of the music performed throughout the school year consists of usually slower pieces that are foundational to the craft of classical training, but often get repeated across courses or teachers. Opera Scenes gives the vocalists a chance to act, sing, and dance which is an opportunity to showcase new and different talents.
“My favorite scene is a tie between my scene which is ‘Hansel and Gretel’ with Janaya or the ‘Porgy and Bess’ scene that we’re doing,” junior vocalist Elliott Bullock said. “They’re both just so fun and I really love Atarah’s riff in the ‘Porgy and Bess’ one.”
Many vocalists have voiced concerns about the amount of publicity the production receives. Most students outside the Music department don’t even know what Opera Scenes is, let alone how to attend. As of publication date, the performance was not listed on the school’s public events calendar.
The attendance for Opera Scenes is usually quite scarce. This tends to bring the performers down since students work so hard on this show, beginning their preparation over summer break and working all through the first quarter.
For example, in the BSA yearbook last year, every other major production had a newspaper or yearbook coverage and photos taken with good quality cameras and amazing lighting.
What was the page on opera scenes like? It was a picture of the church where the production took place. That’s right, not a single student, not a single teacher, simply the building.
Seeing the little amount of coverage that is received tends to bring the vocalists down and makes some of them not want to perform at all.
“I wish we got more opportunities like this and also I wish that more people knew about it,” said Bullock.
“I feel like BSA does a terrible job at advertising anything but the Nutcracker and actor’s scenes. So I feel like we kind of get left in the dark and nobody knows about it until the last minute… I really wish there was more recognition around it because it is honestly a really big part of being a vocalist,” Bullock continued.
Opera Scenes will take place at 5 p.m. on November 17th at First and Franklin Presbyterian, and at 3 p.m. on November 19th at Grace United Methodist. Both shows are free of charge and do not require advanced tickets. Be sure not to miss it!
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Featured photo of vocal students rehearsing was taken by Teagle Walker.