See and Hear Quest Arias Online; Projections in Opera
The Guild Voice        August 2017
In this issue:
  • Word from our Summer Scholars
  • Quest Arias Now Online
  • Background Projections in Opera
  • Everyone Wins When You Renew!
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Scholarships and Grants Put to Good Use in Summer Study Programs
by Betty Allen

What could be better for a college student than a lazy summer day? Studying opera, of course! For eleven U of A voice students, nothing could be better than studying voice, singing opera, and learning singing and acting skills under the tutelage of world-class teachers and opera directors in summer institutes all over the world.

>From Redwoods Opera Workshop in California to Salzburg, Austria, the students are honing their operatic skills with the assistance of $10,000 in grants and scholarships from the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona.

Although most of the students are still engaged in their summer programs, we already received some letters of thanks. U of A Sophomore Emma Petersen, recipient of both a OSGA Grant and the OGSA Undergraduate Scholarship, wrote: “I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for this scholarship and for all of the support that OGSA gives students FFSOM at the University of Arizona … I will be leaving the USA for an opera program in Salzburg, Austria! The scholarship from OGSA will help me pay for my studies while I’m there. Thank you so, so very much and I look forward to performing for you soon.” We are also looking forward to hearing more beautiful singing from Emma.

Many OGSA members have had the pleasure of hearing and watching coloratura soprano Michelle Perrier sing in Quest. Here is an excerpt from her letter: “Thank you so much for all your support over the four years I have been here. One of my favorite things at this school is to participate in Quest for the Best. Your love, support, and generosity continually inspire me to do my best and shoot for my dreams.” We hope she has much success in her opera career.

Our annual budget for giving scholarships and grants depends on generous donations from our OGSA members and friends.

Quest Arias Now Available Online

If you missed our 14th annual Quest for the Best vocal competition, find out who won the top prizes, and listen to and download all eight undergraduate arias and all nine graduate student arias.

For a fuller experience of Quest, see and hear the first prize winners in HD video.

Top left: Ariana Iniguez, soprano, graduate division 1st place

Middle Left: Antonio Cruz, baritone, undergraduate division 1st place (tie)

Bottom left: Taylor Trolia-Giron, soprano, undergraduate division 1st place (tie)

See them at Arizona Opera Next Season
Background Projections Have Illustrious History

By Carol Garrard
Arizona Opera patrons will see something new with the productions of Hercules and the Vampires and Das Rheingold: background projections. So, what would Verdi and Wagner say?  A little research reveals that they would heartily approve; indeed, they both wanted to do something very similar--Verdi for Macbetto and Wagner for Die Walkure.

The precursor for the modern picture projector was the "magic lantern" or "phantasmagoria" (photo at right), a large rotating circular  device seated between two projectors which  allowed for dissolving from one image to another.  It had been invented by the 1840s.  Macbetto would premier in 1847, and as usual, Verdi was obsessive over every detail.  

He especially wanted the lighting effects for Act 3, Macbeth's scene in the witches den, to be brilliant and startling, and so he was intrigued by this new technology and how it might be used in the theatre. He wanted to project the procession of dead and future kings on the cavern wall.  Verdi wrote to the impresario in charge of the Florence premier, Alessandro Lanari, that he had spoken to the lighting technician and indeed to an optician as to the feasibility of building such a device: "By God, if this turns out will be astonishing and bring a flock of people running just for that alone."

Verdi almost got his wish. A phantasmagoria was constructed in Milan and delivered to the Pergola, the theatre in Florence.  It worked technically--the apparitions could be seen clearly and the effect was mysterious.  Sadly, however, the Florence authorities said "no."  The device required that the theater be in total darkness for the performance.  What would happen to public morals?  What would the audience be getting up to?  Especially up in the higher elevations of the tiers, where the students sat?  No, no--it was all very well to want bloodied kings projected on the wall, that would be all right.  But no dark theaters!

Only 30 years later, Richard Wagner thought that the phantasmagoria could project images of Valkyries carrying the corpses of dead heroes onto the backscreen. Alas, public morals were just as threatened in 1876 as they were in 1847.  No phantasmagoria allowed.

And so we come to the 2017-18 season of Arizona Opera.  It appears that Joseph Specter has captured the zeitgeist of these two composers' intentions for their creations. And the spirits of Verdi and Wagner will be applauding at both productions. If only they could have had the morality of today....

Renew Today--It's a Winning Strategy!
Summertime is renewal time at the Opera Guild. Last year your support helped us award over $20,000 to local opera students. But the students aren't the only winners; everyone wins when you become a member! 

  • Students get needed funds to continue their education, travel to auditions, and attend programs in the US and abroad (see [[article name on grants and scholarships]]), as well as opportunities to perform before a community audiences. 
  •  The UA and Pima CC benefit from a robust level of community support through OGSA, helping them recruit and retain students.
  • The Greater Tucson community has access to unique events such as Quest for the Best and our free opera previews.
  • OGSA members enjoy exclusive events, including our annual member party, and master classes.  With an OGSA membership, you are automatically a community member of the UA Singers's Club. If you wish to be on their mailing list, contact Prof. Andrew Stuckey.

If you have already renewed, thank you! If not, please renew now so EVERYONE WILL WIN.  Renewing is easy at our website.  

Judi Hasbrouck, Membership Chair