Singing opera in Russian

Ghenady Meirson at the piano, coaches singers Ryan Hill and Dominick Chenes. noth resident artists at the Academy of Vocal Arts.  Credit: Rachel Carter
Ghenady Meirson, at the piano, coaches Russian Opera Workshop participants Ryan Hill and Dominick Chenes, an Academy of Vocal Arts resident artist.
Credit: Rachel Carter

 

Even if they’re not conversant in the languages, most English-speaking opera singers know a smattering of Italian or German, enough at least to read and learn their parts. That’s often not the case with Russian, which places a seemingly insurmountable barrier between aspiring vocalists and the country’s rich operatic heritage. That’s where Ghenady Meirson comes in.

“I’ve worked with many singers over the years,” Meirson says. “People know to come to me in Philadelphia for coaching in the Russian repertory.”

In recent years Meirson, who spends most of the year on the faculty of the Academy of Vocal Arts and the Curtis Institute of Music, has expanded that coaching role into a summer-long workshop. The Russian Opera Workshop is the only vocal workshop in the United States devoted exclusively to the Russian repertoire, and has drawn students from across the country as well as from Canada and Mexico. “I’ve even had applications from Russia,” he says.

Designed for students with a range of experience from undergraduates to professionals, the program provides a month-long immersion in language learning, vocal training and Russian music, culminating in a free concert performance of a Russian opera. For its third season, the workshop is presenting Sergey Rachmaninoff’s “Francesca da Rimini,” which premiered in Moscow in 1906 but has never been performed in Philadelphia.

The biggest challenge for students, Meirson says, is becoming comfortable with the Russian tongue. “The language itself is a barrier block for many people. I’m in business because I unlock that a little bit for people. Ultimately it’s about making music, and the language has its own idiosyncrasies. If somebody doesn’t have the experience with it, it may be tough.”

The program, which after just two full seasons has seen alumni hired by five opera companies for the roles learned in the workshop, boasts instructors from some of the city’s most prestigious music schools teaching not only Russian music but the realities of the opera world. “The faculty is top shelf,” Meirson says. “So whether they like it or not, students get a feel for what it’s like out there. They’re hearing what they need to fix, what they need to work on, what the industry wants, and what they should do to succeed. It’s invaluable experience.

‘Francesca Da Rimini’
June 24-27
Helen Corning Warden Theater, the Academy of Vocal Arts
1920 Spruce St.
Free, 267-475-6500
www.russianoperaworkshop.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.

Home

Emily Henderson's pet-friendly style tips

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us to live with pets in style.