July 18, 2006 > Opera For All
Opera For All
by H. S. Sheikh
Imagine perfectly pitched libretto vocalized by baritones, tenors, contraltos, mezzo-sopranos, and sopranos. Imagine listening, with bated breath, to lilting notes that reflect the joy, anger, or grief of famous characters from Carmen, The Barber of Seville, La Boheme, Aida, and other operatic selections. Perhaps the audience is seated in Carnegie Hall, or the Houston Grand Opera, with pricey ticket stubs in their purses or coat pockets? No, they're enjoying a free afternoon of live opera, brought to them by Mme. Rose Senerchia-Kinglsey of the Opera Institute of California, at the Fremont Main Library.
The Opera Institute of California is a non-profit organization and the brain-child of Kingsley, who used her enthusiastic love for opera to meet a growing, unmet demand for information about and greater access to the art form. Initially organized in Monterey, Calif. in 1996, the Institute now has its headquarters in San Jose. It has produced several Master Classes, conducted numerous public performances, and has a growing outreach program. Since it is non-profit, public concerts like the one to be held in Fremont this coming Saturday are free, with the Institute depending upon monetary contributions, grants, and tuition from resident artists for funding.
"The Institute," Senerchia-Kinglsey explains, "is about the people in our community and beyond who love to sing and have dreamed about being involved in opera. It is about developing the vocal skills of these people to their greatest potential, and providing the opportunities for them to share the fruits of their efforts with the community." Furthermore, despite striving to produce professional, high quality operatic art, Senerchia-Kinglsey does not believe in disheartening anyone who dreams of becoming an opera singer. "Everyone has a different vocal quality, like fingerprints. There are no bad voices. If you have passion, tenacity, patience, and a love for opera, then you are welcome at the Institute," she states. "It is about giving everyone a chance to develop and display their talents without discrimination."
Senerchia-Kinglsey has spent many years honing and showcasing her own talents: She received formal training at Julliard in voice, and launched her career as a ballerina, performing for the American Ballet Theatre and the Royal Ballet in London. Her preliminary appearance with the Metropolitan Opera was also as a ballerina. A passion for singing, however, diverted her into opera, and she was the only ballet dancer to rejoin the Metropolitan Opera family, years later, as a singer. As one of the world's outstanding sopranos, her performances include those at Lincoln Center, Avery Fischer Hall, Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, and the Houston Grand Opera. She has also performed in non-operatic settings, including the National Anthem in the Houston Astrodome, the National Democratic Convention, with Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra, and for Prince Charles and presidents Bush and Clinton.
Today, Senerchia-Kinglsey is one of the leading opera voice teachers in America, focusing much of her time and energy helping others develop their singing talents. Apart from the event in Fremont, she is also excited about Institute resident artists performing at Carnegie Hall in October. "What the Institute does is from the heart," she concludes. "We have passion for singing, and we spread that passion through performances."
Share the passion of those who have fallen in love with the world of opera as Fremont's main library hosts the voices of talented tenors, sopranos, baritones, mezzo-sopranos and contraltos performing excerpts of La Boheme, Aida, Carmen and other operatic selections. An Afternoon of Live Opera is a treat for all senses, not to be missed.
An Afternoon of Opera
Saturday, July 22
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Fremont Main Library
2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
The event is free and no reservations are required, though seating limits will be observed.
For more information on the Institute and performances, the website for the Opera Institute of California can be visited at www.theoperainstitute.com.