Opera scenes serve as Finals for vocal majors

Finals week is coming up soon at Baldwin Wallace University. While most students are preparing for a common test or final project, some students in the conservatory are preparing to show what they have learned in a different manner.

On Dec. 6, vocal performance majors will perform in front of an audience as their final. Students ranging from freshman to seniors are to use what they have learned throughout their courses and apply it to a performance called the “opera workshop scenes.” The event will take place in the Fynette Kulas Music Hall at 7 p.m.

For freshman and sophomore students, each person will be given a song and scene from a play, but they will have very little in common. They must find a way to relate them and combine them into an act. Dr. Marc Weagraff, chair of the vocal studies department, is working with his students to make sure their voices are ready for the event.

“We work on the technical aspects,” said Weagraff, students will “take stuff they learned in lessons and put it to work”.

Vocal performance majors also take singing classes in different languages. Professor Jason Aquila, lecturer in opera studies, teaches German and French music to his students. These same students are taught English and Italian music from other professors as well. Aquila focuses on teaching the languages and pronunciation of the lyrics while Weagraff focuses more on vocal technique with his students.

The task is certainly challenging, along with perfecting their voices in different languages students will get experience with “getting on stage and being compelling actors as well,” said Aquila. There is “more freedom and creativity” by doing this, said Aquila. The goal is to make good singing actors.

The students’ scenes are “the best moments of an opera,” said Aquila. “It’s interesting to see the progression of the work they do,” said Aquila.

Scott Skiba, the director of the event and the director of opera studies, is planning on extending the stage in Kulas to give students plenty of room. Aquila says there will be special lighting as well as plenty of seating for those who attend.