Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Class Act

I'm referring, of course, to the talented students performing in tonight's "Opera Fusion" of the OC High School of the Arts--in the orchestra and chorus and as solo singers and violinist. Augmented by professionals, they were also joined by students from Chapman University's music conservatory--I ran into Bill Hall, their dean, who couldn't have been more proud to have his students take part.

But the "class act" I'm also referring to is Robin Follman, the indefatigable (I've always loved that word but rarely met people whom it accurately described) grand dame of OCHSA (official title: Artistic Director) and acclaimed opera singer in her own right (and if you had any doubts about that, she allowed herself just one aria, belting to the rafters a selection from Wagner's Tannheuser. It certainly gave everyone a sense of the caliber of education the young singers are receiving there), who organized the evening (supported by board members, staff members, donors, and several hundred of their best friends & family members). Ralph Opacic, the school's President was elated by the response, and its Board Chairman Jerry Mandel was positively effusive about the role OCHSA is playing in developing young talent.

So, opera lives in the OC--in a different format, perhaps, for the time being.

But when the program showcased selections from David DiChiera's own opera Cyrano, in tribute to the Opera Pacific founder who was present, it was one of those breathtaking moments that suggests the company isn't dead--only resting.

And opera booster extraordinaire, Martin Hubbard, told me tonight he's certain, OC will eventually see a new company emerge from the ashes of Opera Pacific.

Read more about the event in Tim Mangan's classical music blog in the OC Register Arts Blog.

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