From Blank Canvas to Stage: an opera in Just Two Weeks

8 februari 2024

In a remarkable venture, students from the vocal and early music department showcased their talents in a condensed yet impactful opera project, all under the expert guidance of renowned singer Michael Chance. Over two intensive weeks, they transformed fragments of Handel's opera 'Teseo' into a captivating performance, providing a glimpse into the professional world of opera.

"I was truly amazed at how, in such a short time, we managed to create something significant with individuals who had never (or barely) sung in a real opera before. Going from nothing to a full-fledged production in two weeks was hard work, but incredibly enjoyable," shared Famke Voshol, one of the participating singers.

A deep dive into the world of opera

The project not only offered a unique opportunity for the singing student to work with an orchestra and dive into the professional setting but also highlighted the coaching prowess of Michael Chance.

As an understudy for one of the roles, Famke emphasized the need for heightened attention, presence, and living in the moment, characteristics demanded by the operatic world beyond their usual scope.

"In the theatrical aspect, I learned that you must be fully focused on what you are portraying. You have to genuinely believe in everything you do. Your imagination is paramount. If you fully believe and can vividly envision everything, the audience believes you too.”

Character Exploration: Incorporating Personality into Opera

Yulietta Quevedo Santos performed the role of Teseo, the main character. ‘To get into my role I needed to think about the way Teseo behaves: “how does he walk, what does he think about, how does he talk?” I found Michael Change's approach very inspiring; he incorporates the unique personalities and impulses of each singer into the development of the opera characters.’

To be able to collaborate with an orchestra added an extra layer to the learning process. ‘One of the biggest opportunities was collaborating with the orchestra. This was my first time to work with an orchestra for such a long time, and everyone maintained a high level of professionalism throughout the project.’

Beyond the notes: bringing singing lessons into practice

While exploring the professional nuances of opera, the students felt a positive camaraderie. "It's incredibly important that projects like these exist because we can apply everything we learn in our classes to the bigger picture. As a singer, practical experience is crucial, so having the chance to practice in this manner is incredibly important," highlighted Famke. "We were genuinely immersed in the world of opera by Michael Chance for a week, and his enthusiastic approach made the journey even more enjoyable."

Read more about the vocal department