Alumni Bring the Sounds of Opera to the MSU Campus

Alumni Bring the Sounds of Opera to the MSU Campus

For the second year, accomplished opera professionals have come to Wichita Falls and Midwestern State University to lead a workshop designed to help participants hone their performance skills. The Opera Breve Vocal Intensive (OBVI) workshop is a two-week program of master classes, stage instruction, acting, vocal lessons, foreign language, diction, and coaching in both opera and musical theater held on Midwestern State University's campus.

Darla Diltz, MSU alumna and OBVI Executive Director, said that the idea for a workshop grew out of the Opera Breve nonprofit company based in New York City and founded by another MSU alumna, Lenora Eve. Through Opera Breve, Eve, Diltz, and others found a way to make connections and to build a support system for other North Texans in the highly competitive theater scene in New York City as they build their performance resume. Opera Breve doesn't just help performers who have moved to the city, it helps aspiring performers attend the OBVI workshop through scholarships. Eve also serves as the OBVI workshop's artistic director.

Although Eve and Diltz could host their workshop in other cities, they chose their hometown of Wichita Falls to keep a local connection for students, and to bring more opera to North Texas. "Hosting the workshop is a feather in our cap," MSU music professor Don Maxwell said. Maxwell is also one of the workshop faculty. Other faculty includes Distinguished Artist in Residence Eugenie Grunewald, Gary Norden, Brian Osborne, Ben Sheaffer, and Stephen Variames.

At this year's workshop, 28 students from across the country and one from China will benefit from their exposure to New York artists and gain performance experience through a series of free events. Advanced students and professionals admitted to the Young Artist Program and will sing roles in the final production of Mozart's Cosý fan tutte. Singers looking to broaden their skills and prepare for auditions participate in the Studio Program and will perform opera scenes and understudy roles in Cosý fan tutte. The Musical Theater Program is a special program designed for the developing singer-actor. Students will have intensive acting classes and voice lessons, and will perform in an evening of musical theater scenes and a cabaret performance.

All OBVI performances are free and open to the public.
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2 p.m.Master Class with David Itkin, director of orchestral studies at the University of North Texas and conductor of the Abilene and Las Vegas Symphonies.
Thursday, Aug. 9, 8 p.m.CosÝ fan tutte, W.A. Mozart. OBVI studio artists present a condensed version of Mozart's comic masterpiece. The opera will have English supertitles.
Friday, Aug. 10, 8 p.m.Musical Theater and Opera Scenes.
Saturday, Aug. 11, 8 p.m.CosÝ fan tutte W.A. Mozart. (Different cast).

Sunday, Aug. 12, 3 p.m.Musical Theater and Opera Scenes.


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