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Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore

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“ Mell’ora del dolor perche, perche, Signor, ah, perche, me ne rimuneri cosi?” My heart screamed for air, yet I still couldn’t move to breathe. This is why I sing. This is why I perform. To hear this. Tosca finished her heartbreaking aria and the house roared. Backstage, we, the chorus, erupted, still marveling at the beauty of her voice. We all knew, this was opera.

Opera and classical music captured my heart at age thirteen. After tolerating my begging for years, my parents finally gifted me with private voice lessons. My teacher introduced me to classical music to connect me to my head voice- a place of focus and clarity for singers. But instead of following the usual singers’ path to musical theater, I realized this was where my heart lived. Opera combines everything I love- individuality, structure, creativity, languages, performance, interaction, solitude, theory, history and of course, music. Using myself as an instrument, opposed to six years of employing a violin, blew my mind. Additionally, it was something I could study without evaluations of others. Academia, as much as I love it, always has to be graded, judged, compared. But opera is my voice, my sound, my creation.
During my sophomore year, believing I should be performing, my vocal teacher convinced me to find an outside venue for evaluation. I auditioned for the Summer Vocal Arts Institute at Oklahoma City University, an intensive study for high school students. My heart soared at the sight of my unexpected acceptance letter and I anxiously awaited the day I could take my art to the next level. The three week intensive changed my life. I realized I could not hold back my voice anymore; the moment I got home I had to do as many things possible musically.
Within weeks of returning to Kansas City, I auditioned for and was invited to join the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s High School Honors Program. Ten other metro area high schoolers and I were individually mentored from appetencies of the opera house and given group master classes from guest principals in the Lyric’s productions. Through the program, I met other kids my age who were equally passionate in the art as I am, something rare and refreshing. I went on to attend the Lyric’s recent summer camp, audition, and then sing in the children’s chorus of Tosca. Tosca not only exposed me to world renowned talent, but allowed me to perform alongside the masters. Nightly rehearsals in the simple rehearsal space, with only the piano and soaring arias, fueled my passion to an even higher level. I began study with a new vocal teacher whom encouraged me to audition for a women’s choir from the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Conservatory. While performing throughout the metro area with Canta Filia I realized my ultimate love for choral work as opposed to solo, principal parts. Through the comradery developed, I can sing as an individual, with the power of a group. Music is my release, comfort, and utterly indescribable. Truly,”Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore.” “I live for art; I live for love”. I breathe for the love of the music.



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