Tharanga Goonetilleke ’05 and graduate students Patricia Crisan, Brandi Icard, Jennifer Mazzell and Leigha Pace have been selected to participate in the 2004 Operafestival di Roma in Italy this summer.
During the festival, they will participate in three weeks of master classes, coaching, lessons in lyric diction, voice and conversational Italian, and rehearsals for the opera provided by a distinguished faculty from throughout the U.S. and Italy. The festival concludes in a week-long series of opera performances, recitals, opera scene performances and concerts in the 15th Century courtyard of S. Ivo alla Sapienza. While “The Magic Flute” will be the main production, the festival will also present “Suor Angelica” and “The Barber of Seville.”
Jennifer will perform as The First Spirit in “The Magic Flute,” a role she portrayed in an earlier production by the Converse Opera Theatre. “I am very excited about the opportunity to grow and develop as a professional,” she said. “I want to stretch myself in my singing and acting abilities. And because this is a professional opera company, I want to make as many contacts as I can.”
Tharanga will also reprise her role from the Converse Opera performance of “The Magic Flute” as she performs as Pamina. “I want to absorb the Italian culture; the very culture in which opera was born,” she said. I feel that it will give me a different but essential mindset toward my performance skills.”
Brandi will perform as Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute.” “This will be my first leading role in an opera,” she said. “I’m also eager to see all that is involved in working with a professional company. When you add all of that with the opportunity spend almost an entire month in Rome, this adds up to a pretty exciting opportunity.”
Patricia Crisan will serve as one of the accompanists and vocal coaches in rehearsals for the two “The Magic Flute” and “Suor Angelica.” “The fact that I will be in the heart of Rome’s cultural life will not only help my Italian tremendously, but also help me learn more about the culture and share it with the singers that I accompany for,” she said. “Also, the fact that I will work with professional accompanists and vocal coaches will definitely have a positive impact on my learning about this field in which I hope to pursue a future career.”
Operafestival di Roma double-casts roles, which guarantees that all participants have the chance to get a full rehearsal regimen and adequate coaching for their roles. Festival singers have regularly appeared on “Raiuno Mattino” (the Italian equivalent of “Good Morning America”), seen by millions of viewers across Europe. In addition members of the company appeared on Raidue and Radio Vatican. Festival alumni have gone on to work in a large variety of other well-known opera companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Ash Lawn-Highland, Baltimore Opera, Minnesota Opera, New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Utah Festival, Virginia Opera and Wolf Trap Opera.