November 11, 2009

Jami Tyzik on “Opera in Love”

Before TV soap operas and reality shows, there was opera. Take the classic story of guy meets girl, guy falls in love with girl, girl leaves him for another guy … and add in powerful music, and you have opera, with its passionate portrayals of love, honor, despair, and betrayal.

Inspired by her experiences as a singer, soprano Jami Tyzik (daughter of the RPO’s Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik) has put together a new program featuring some of the world’s greatest opera works. Before this week’s performances (November 13 & 14, Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre), she took a few minutes to talk with us about this exciting new production.

How did this project come together?

The concept for Opera in Love is something that came to me a few years back. I spent four summers singing with the Aspen Opera Theatre out in Colorado. Every summer, we would do these fabulous house concerts at the homes of different donors and patrons of the festival. The evenings were always very exciting for the audience because they were getting to hear the greatest hits of opera up close and personal. I became very inspired to take this successful concept and translate it to a much larger audience. Opera in Love is a concert that takes the best and most famous moments from opera and combines that with witty introductions and truly seeks to break down the wall between the performers and the audience.

What’s it like working together on stage?

While the incredibly beautiful music of opera is enough to tantalize the listener, it was truly meant for the stage. In Opera in Love, we take each aria, duet and quartet, and create a mini scene from the opera where we are in character acting out the story for the audience. It takes the evening to a much higher level when the elements of music and drama are joined together on one stage. As well as diving into the characters of each scene we perform, all of the singers in Opera in Love feed off of each other’s intense energy and the result is a very entertaining and moving performance.

Tell us about some of the highlights of Opera in Love. What will people hear?

The evening includes highlights from La Boheme, Carmen, Rigoletto, La Traviata, as well as famous arias by Mozart and Donizetti, just to name a few things. All of this music has won the test of time and continues to influence our culture to this very day. Even the audience member who has never seen an opera, and who has no interest in seeing an opera, will find the music to be very familiar, entertaining, and memorable.

Have you worked with the other soloists before?

Our singers hail from all over the country. This project is actually my first time working with all of the singers. The opera world is pretty small and I've had the pleasure of hearing them perform over the years. We all came together last spring as we were preparing and developing this project, and the combination of our four voices together was truly astounding. Our soprano, Mela Dailey, is the wife of former Rochester Philharmonic Assistant Conductor, Peter Bay. Our tenor, Brandon Wood, is married to another wonderful soprano, Danielle Herman Wood, who grew up in Penfield. Our baritone, Marcus DeLoach, lived in New York City for years and has recently made the move down to Texas.

For more information about the concert, and to purchase tickets, click here.

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