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Martina Arroyo
Posted: July 13th, 2009

For our Sunday Arts profile, Rafael Pi Ramon interviews Martina Arroyo and takes a look into her “Prelude to Performance” workshops while the students are preparing for performances of La Boheme and Die Fledermaus beginning on July 16th at Hunter College Kaye Playhouse.

For many  years, Martina Arroyo was a star on the stages of the great opera houses of  Europe as well as at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  At the  Philharmonic, she was one of Leonard Bernstein’s favorite singers .  Upon  her retirement from the stage, she launched a new career as a music educator  at Indiana University as well as at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, UCLA, Louisiana  State and Wilberforce University.  In 2003 she established her own  foundation – The Martina Arroyo Foundation – to help provide talented young  singers with the tools they will need to build a professional career.   One of the programs of the foundation is called “Prelude to  Performance”.

“Prelude to Performance”provides an intensive  course for training young opera singers in all aspects of presenting opera.   The program focuses on the preparation of an entire role and includes:  the background of the role, the historical perspective of the role, the  psychological motivations of the character, the use of the body and voice in  the interpretation of the character, and the use of language to convey the  character with an emphasis on diction.  This year, the program culminates  in performances of two operas, staged, with costumes and  orchestra.

Approximately thirty young artists are selected to  participate from auditions held during the winter and spring months. The first  four weeks are dedicated to staging, lectures, seminars, master classes and  individual coaching. On the fifth week they move into the theater and focus  entirely on preparation for the final performances.  Critiques are given  to all participants after the performances by faculty and selected  professionals.

Puccini’s La Boheme, conducted by Maestro Gerald  Steichen and directed by Michael Ehrman, will be presented on Thursday, July  16 at 7:30 and Saturday July 18 at 2.  Strauss’s Die Fledermaus,  conducted by Maestro Willie Waters and directed by Mihaela Bogdan, will be  presented on Friday, July 17 at 7:30 and Sunday, July 19 at 2.  All  performances are at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College at 68th Street  between Park and Lexington Avenues.

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SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.
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