Crossing the Bridge from Student to Artist
Opera auperstar Joyce DiDonato offers guidance to UMKC Conservatory student.
“Choose every note; choose every syllable. Make it come alive!” the superstar soprano said to the gifted young baritone.
The soprano was internationally acclaimed opera star Joyce DiDonato. The young pupil was Chris Carr, a master of Music Performance student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.
The scene: a Master Class for gifted young performers, conducted by DiDonato at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Kansas City. The class was part of the Inside Music Series sponsored by the Kansas City Symphony.
For the class, Carr and two other students performed arias from classic operas while DiDonato offered advice and critiques. Carr chose the “Largo al Factotum” from Rossini’s Barber of Seville.
DiDonato smiled and nodded through Carr’s initial performance of the aria. Afterward, she provided Carr with insights into the character of Figaro and the value of a “less is more” approach to conveying the character’s personality.
“Don’t waste a single gesture,” she advised. “I’d rather see you do fewer gestures and make them sharper. This is scarier. It’s a little more difficult to stand still. So when you do a gesture, really do it.”
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