United States Military Academy, West Point
Singer from the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program performs for cadets at West Point. Photo by Anthony Battista, courtesy of the United States Military Academy
West Point was a fine example of how opera companies can tailor their performances to suit the needs of a particular audience. The West Point performance was presented by their English Department. It was built into the curriculum of English 102 classes, and attended by 1,000 West Point freshmen. Washington National Opera worked with faculty at West Point to design a program that would be relevant to coursework – for example a selection from Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice was included to reflect the student's study of Orpheus.
Two performances took place on the West Point campus. The afternoon performance was for members of the school's opera club and additional miscellaneous students interested in attending. There were approximately 150 students at the performance, which was followed by an informal question and answer session. The students were interested in how the singers learned their repertoire, how many languages they spoke, what was the most difficult language to sing, and how the songs were selected for the performance.
Highlights from the evening performance included the "Watch Duet" from Die Fledermaus, "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" from Carmen, "Ain't It A Pretty Night" from Susannah, "Sing for your supper" from The Boys from Syracuse, and "Che farò senza Euridice" from Orfeo ed Euridice. The audience of military cadets was very enthusiastic, paying close attention the singing, and cheering loudly following each song. At the conclusion of the performance, the singers were given a rousing standing ovation.
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