Songs and Arias Enchants

Middlebury+students+worked+with+Carol+Christenson+to+perform+over+20+different+songs+and+arias+in+five+different+languages.
Middlebury students worked with Carol Christenson to perform over 20 different songs and arias in five different languages.

Middlebury students worked with Carol Christenson to perform over 20 different songs and arias in five different languages.

Ezra Nugiel

Ezra Nugiel

Middlebury students worked with Carol Christenson to perform over 20 different songs and arias in five different languages.

By EZRA NUGIEL

On Saturday March 17, six Middlebury College students graced the stage of Robison Hall in a vocal concert entitled “Songs and Arias.” The concert featured performances by Annie Beliveau ’18, Miguel Castillo ’18, Tevan Goldberg ’18, Paige Guarino ’18.5, Michael Koutelos ’20 and Miranda Seixas ’20. These students take non-credit vocal lessons for 45 minutes each week and were invited to perform by their vocal teachers.

The Middlebury Department of Music produces powerhouse vocalists who perform with a professional level of talent and poise, as demonstrated on Saturday night. The 90-minute concert included a diverse repertoire of 22 different classical pieces, containing both solos and duets and pulling from 16th to 20th century operas. Five different languages were represented, including English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. The lyrics to each piece, alongside an English translation, were printed in the playbill.

Carol Christenson, a Middlebury College Music Department faculty member of 27 years, coordinates this annual event. She approximated that Saturday night’s show was her twentieth rendition of “Songs and Arias.” She chooses students “who have been singing long enough that they have the technical prowess to handle some of [the] more challenging repertoire.” In preparing for a classical performance, she and her students first review pronunciation of the language and technical aspects of the music.

“[They] must do many exercises to be in the physical shape to sing the pieces,” Christenson said. “It’s like any other elite physical activity…I liken it to ballet, we do a lot of bar exercises in the studio. Then they have to add communication and artistry on top of it.”

The process, as intense as it is, allows for the students and Christenson to form great relationships.

“I get very close to the students,” Christenson said. “We work one-on-one and some of them I’ve had all four years. They’re all special [and] just really great people. We’ve had fun being together.”.

The concert’s repertoire also contained small snippets from larger operas.

“When we’re working on [the music] we learn the story of the whole opera, so we know where our characters fit in at that certain moment” said Miranda Seixas ’20, a soprano vocalist.

Many of the performers got the chance to workshop one of their songs this past Tuesday, in an opera master class with Stéphanie Pothier. Seixas said the class brought the performers closer together and gave them a chance to put the final touch on their pieces right before the big night.

“I’ve had a really good time and I think most of that is dependent on Carol,” Seixas said. “She puts in so much work and she’s really passionate, especially about classical stuff, so she really pushes all her students. I’ve been challenged and really developed over the past year and a half through the music department here.”

“Songs and Arias” showcased an array of melodious pieces. Some songs were upbeat and exciting, others slower and more somber, but all were sung with passion and poise. The Middlebury Department of Music is a robust community that is home to endlessly talented students, so keep your eye out for more spectacular musical events headed to campus this semester.

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Songs and Arias Enchants