Students to channel ‘divas, villains and jesters’ in opera workshop performance - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Students to channel ‘divas, villains and jesters’ in opera workshop performance

July 12th, 2017 development
Students to channel ‘divas, villains and jesters’ in opera workshop performance

By Colleen Sparks

The drama and laughter of stories told through song will be come to life on stage at a free performance on July 20 in Chandler.

“A Concert of Divas, Villains & Jesters,” the Summer Opera Workshop performance, will take place at 7 p.m. at Pecos Performing Arts Center at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, 2626 East Pecos Road. In the performance, 16 singers ranging in age from 18 to 69 who took the summer opera workshop at the college will perform arias and scenes from well-known operas including “The Marriage of Figaro,” “The Magic Flute,” “La Bohème” and “The Merry Widow.”

It’s the first time Chandler-Gilbert Community College has offered the eight-week Summer Opera Workshop, said Jennifer Nagy, adjunct music instructor at the college. She co-taught the workshop with Dr. Jeffrey Stevens, another adjunct music instructor at the school.

“We were really excited to get it going and we’re hoping to offer it again,” Nagy said. “The range (of opera) is very wide; it’s demanding physically on the voice. You’re training singers to sing with strong resonance. That’s a technique you have to learn.”

She and Stevens assigned scenes or duets to the students to perform. The program includes early historical arias and some contemporary songs from American composers.

“Dr. Stevens and I like to present a very audience-friendly and interactive type of program,” Nagy said. “It will also be educational, in addition to being entertaining. We like audience participation.” That includes hearing people in their seats shout “Bravo!”

The audience can expect to see props and hear dramatic, comedic and romantic pieces sung by bass and soprano singers and those whose voices fall in the middle. Some of the students aspire to perform or teach music professionally while others sing as a hobby, Nagy said. She has performed with the Arizona Opera and Phoenix Opera.

“We’re very excited about the talent and there’s a great positive attitude with this group,” she said. “They’re eager to learn and have shown some improvement for sure. We’re trying to build more audience and a wider variety of people to come.

“We’re hoping this attracts all ages and is something to do in the summer when there’s not much going on.”

To learn more about the opera workshop concert,