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Opera and the City
tara murty 14 editorial associate
April 26, 2012

Wondrous vocals swirl around the audience, engulfing the theater with vibrato. Lucky Deerfield students and faculty sit in a row, enraptured by the emotion filling each note and gesture onstage.

Fifteen Academy members attended the world’s second most-performed opera, La Traviata, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on April 21, provided for by the generous fund of Sheldon and Marilyn MacLeod ’45.

In the past, the MacLeod Opera Trip has attended operas at the Boston Lyric Opera. This year, Director of Music and organizer of the trip Daniel Roihl explained, “Why not go to the best? The Met is certainly one of the most reputable opera houses in the country, if not the world.”

Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (The Fallen Woman) was composed in 1853. Mr. Roihl said, “[Guiseppe] Verdi is the undisputed master of Italian romantic opera.” The opera tells the story of a terminally ill courtesan and her romance with a young nobleman. It centers on the theme of class-difference that is signature to operas.

Mr. Roihl described the multi-faceted manner in which the tale is expressed. “It combines theatrical arts, musical arts, costuming, staging, and visual arts. It really is a cornucopia for the senses.”

Edric Tam ’12, an attendee, said, “While the melodies and harmonies in western music are usually defined, the subject of the music and the intentions of the composers can be subtle. However, in operas, because story telling, acting, and singing happen at the same time, it is easier to feel the emotions, understand the music, and appreciate the composer’s genius.”

“It is interesting that you act through singing. In our real life, we often compare our life to song lyrics. In opera, it seems like they actually act through the lyrics,” said participant Jack Park ’14.

Among the faculty attending was Head of School Margarita Curtis. She commented, “Opera is a spectacle that combines many different art forms, and as such is a richly textured performance that engages you on many levels. While the libretto and the choreography are important elements, for me, the music¬—and especially the quality of the voices—is paramount.”

A ticket to an opera, which fuses a multitude of art forms in a polished and “larger than life” manner, costs a minimum of $175.

Mr. Roihl said, “The Academy is deeply grateful to [the MacLeods’] generous legacy which will enable many of our students to experience the incredible spectacle of this inimitable art form.”