Opera Scenes is the annual showcase of the voice department at the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) in which the students perform various scenes from famous operas. Opera Scenes was revived around a decade ago, and usually takes place on the ballroom stage at BSA. This year, that will not be the case; it will be held at Grace United Methodist Church. Because Opera Scenes is not taking place at BSA, the performers will likely lose their peer audience.
Robert Cantrell, the music director and one of the private voice teachers at BSA, had a more positive perspective on the change of venue. “The music will sound beautiful in the church. The acoustics are far superior to that of the ballroom,” he said.
The students in other departments enjoy Opera Scenes because they get to see their friends in the voice department perform. Ifetayo Kitwala, a theatre major, said, “The show was mind-blowing to me. It was astounding how professional everything looked and seemed.” Sarah Collins, also a theatre major, said, “I was surprised. [The program] was just as entertaining as musical theatre, even though it was opera. I could still tell what they meant, though not in my language. It was beautiful in that way.” Emeline Boehringer, a visual arts major, admitted, “After seeing Opera Scenes my Sophomore year, I regretted not going my Freshman year.”
Cantrell suggested that people should still go out of their way to attend the program. He said, “No matter the location.., it is still a BSA performance, performed by BSA students. Seeing the voice students perform these works is definitely worth the trip.”
Junior voice major, Abby Tawiah, said, “I am concerned that no one will attend the program now that it is at the church. It’s a Sunday matinee. Who’s going to take time out of their Sunday to attend that?” Tawiah went on to say, “I feel like we’ve been shoveled out and now have to go out of our way to perform.” Senior voice major, Nailah Calhoun, added, “Opera scenes is the only performance where I feel like an actual important member of an ensemble.”
Cantrell, when asked about the importance of the production, shared that, “Opera Scenes is important for the vocal students because they get to perform a style of music that their teachers will most likely not assign them in their private lessons. It’s a matter of exposure to performance of different music.”
Cantrell said, “The program is in great shape this year. It would truly be a loss to anyone who misses this year’s production.”
Tawiah said, “It would mean the world to us as fellow performers and students if people still showed up to the show, despite these set backs. It would really prove that we are an important department, and we aren’t lesser than the others.”