What do Plácido Domingo, Roberta Peters, Patrice Munsel, Adelina Patti, Manuel Garcia, and a host of other great names from the annals of operatic history potentially have in common with your high-school aged student, son or daughter? All were active singers in operatic productions during their teen years, a time when most of today's youth have not even heard of opera. Here in New York City, we have so many musical resources available to prepare our young artists for future careers but few for the youngest singers wishing to undertake serious study of the greatest of the performing arts, grand opera.
While many of our city's great opera companies use and train children and teens in their choruses, there have been fewer opportunities for these young singers to explore what goes into preparation of a leading or supporting role in grand opera. Once a certain age has been reached, many of these kids must leave those institutions, having to wait up to ten years to resume further operatic studies.
Citywide Youth Opera, Inc. (CYOp), a not-for-profit, 501c3 tax exempt organization launched in the Fall of 2005, seeks to remedy this situation. This program offers young singers in-depth musical, dramatic and interpretive training, culminating in a public performance of legitimate operatic works by the great composers of music history. The program is open to students ages 14 to 21.
Attention to repertoire is what makes CYOp unique. While other programs have been created to coach teen singers in individual arias, art songs or in the process of creating an original opera, CYOp teaches skills to bring forth a polished performance of established repertoire, in addition to also offering aria study geared to the individual performer's needs.
AMONG THE STAFF AT CYOp
CYOp's founder and Artistic Director, Andrés Andrade is currently on the faculty at Queens College and maintains a busy private studio in addition to expanding duties at Citywide Youth Opera. A graduate of New England Conservatory, he has performed over thirty roles in operatic, operetta and zarzuela repertoire, and has taught voice since 1988. He spent five years on the vocal faculty and as director of the Opera Theatre at LaGuardia Arts High School, where among his productions, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice was the feature of a news segment on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Several of his students have been accepted to top college and conservatory vocal departments, including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music and New England Conservatory. He is author of the book Absolute Beginners Voice.
Stage Director Janice Hall's international opera career has taken her to the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Salzburg Festival, and the Komische Oper Berlin, to name just a few. In the U.S., she has appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. She performed as Violetta in the New York City Opera’s Emmy-winning telecast of La Traviata, in the "Live from Lincoln Center" series on PBS. Her operatic repertoire has included roles as diverse as Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, and Richard Strauss's Salome, and she has worked with some of the world’s great directors, including Jack O’Brien, Harry Kupfer, Willy Decker, and Calixto Bieito.
Janice now specializes in contemporary opera, including Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, and the world premiere of Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls. Called “a great character actress” in the LA Times for her work in the operatic version of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America, Janice is equally comfortable in the worlds of opera, theater, and cabaret.
Her first solo cabaret show, Grand Illusions: The Music of Marlene Dietrich, won her a Bistro Award for Best Tribute Show (2011) and a MAC Award for Female Vocalist (2012).
She made her off-Broadway debut in 2012, in Urban Stages’ production of My Occasion of Sin, and most recently appeared at the NY International Fringe Festival, in the play Love at the End of Time.