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Opera Camp at the Lyric

Four-week camp receives rave reviews from students

Ursula V. Battle | 8/9/2013, 7:01 a.m.
The Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric and the Lyric Opera Baltimore conducted its fourth annual “Opera Camp at ...
Baltimore School for the Arts students Aleea Powell and Johnathon O'Neal were among the camp participants. “Opera Camp at the Lyric,” is a four-week opera camp which benefits Baltimore City and County high school students with an interest and ability in vocal music with an emphasis on opera. The camp began July 2, 2013 and concluded on August 2, 2013 with an opera created by the campers. Ursula V. Battle

— The Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric and the Lyric Opera Baltimore conducted its fourth annual “Opera Camp at the Lyric,” a four-week opera camp which benefits Baltimore City and County high school students with an interest and ability in vocal music with an emphasis on opera. The camp began July 2, 2013 and concluded on August 2, 2013 with an opera created by the campers.

The camp provided 25 students ages 13-18 with instruction in vocal and dramatic training, movement, and improvisation. Students also attended Master classes from arts professionals, in various areas including set design, lighting design, wigs and makeup, and stage management. Additional camp activities included recitals and field trips, and performances from the Lyric Opera’s renowned “Opera-to-Go” programs, and presentations on Marian Anderson and Paul Roberson.

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Students participate in opera camp at the Modell Center for the Performing Arts.

“I loved it,” said Aleea Powell, who attends Baltimore School for the Arts. “The Opera Camp gives the whole experience of knowing the process of building an opera such as the stage, producing, curtains, placement, props, etc. We also received private lessons, and advice from famous opera singers. It was also nice to be around other campers who also love to perform. It allowed us to better express ourselves and connect with our audience.”

Aleea, who is 14 and sings Soprano, wants to pursue a professional career as an opera singer. “I would highly recommend the camp,” she said. “It also taught us about the importance of being committed and being on time.”

Opera Camp at the Lyric has been highly successful in promoting students’ awareness of opera and the vocal and theatrical arts. Funding for this year’s session was provided by The Rotary Club of Baltimore and The Kenneth S. Battye Foundation, and enabled the campers to attend the camp free-of-charge. Campers attended classes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“When I was growing up, I wish I had an opportunity such as this Opera Camp to encourage my love for music,” said James Harp, Artistic Director for Opera Camp at the Lyric, who also put together the Opera Camp’s curriculum. “It’s important to provide this forum to young men and women who want to pursue a career in opera. It is great that this is being offered through the generosity of our donors, and really has transformed some lives.”

Dr. Brenda Bowe Johnson is a Lyric Opera Baltimore Trustee. She also is an Opera Camp volunteer. “Our camp gives us a glimpse into the future of opera – young, diverse, vibrant and relevant,” she said. “It’s inspiring to hear the sounds of hope and envision the aspirations of our brightest and best. The Opera Camp nurtures optimism and provides our young artists with a foundation.”

Johnathon O'Neal, a student at the Baltimore School for the Arts, also attended the Opera Camp. “It was great to meet new people and to further my education in the area of opera,” said the 16-year-old who sings Tenor. “I loved the camp. It also provided me with techniques that I can use throughout my life, such as being on time and caring about what you do. It was also helpful and fun to get feedback from different professionals who can help me with my voice.”

O’Neal said he has been singing since he was two, and would like to pursue a career as an opera singer and to perform in Broadway musicals and plays.

“The Opera Camp also taught me that it’s good to be heard, but it’s not good to be heard and not be the best you can be. I also learned that for opera singers, it is great to use diction, but it is not good to over-annunciate what you are saying all of the time. I would highly recommend the camp to any student who is interested in singing.”

For more information about Opera Camp at the Lyric, call 410-900-1161 or email: James Harp at jharp@lyricoperahouse.com.