By Curtis Hendricks
I had the pleasure or attending a delightful show performed by Desert Opera Saturday evening, March 23. The performance was set to give the audience a taste of not only their talented performers, but also the craft developed within each performer. As a fan of opera, they instantly won me over. I was pushed back in my seat as each performer’s voice filled the room with both controlled power and grace. Desert Opera is led by Artistic Director Madam Rose Kingsley and Musical Director Dr. Wayne Hinton.
Kingsley began the evening with an introduction to Desert Opera and their program. Desert Opera is a new opera company making its home here in our valley. As a subsidiary of the International Opera Institute (IOI), Desert Opera is dedicated to bringing both the opera culture and experience to everyone in the valley through educational and performance opportunities. Their goal is to take those individuals who are serious about opera and prepare them to progress from vocal student to vocal artist. The IOI states, “A vocalist who progresses from high school, to university, and/or conservatory develops many talents and much knowledge. They lack the vocal and artistic knowledge and confidence required by the opera companies. Their voice lessons are generally limited in this academic environment and the student graduates academically informed but without the trained voice the opera companies are seeking. The IOI fills that lack by providing vocal artists an individualized, hands-on program to complete their training and give them the vocal and artistic knowledge and confidence they need. The vocal artist and instructors develop the individualized lessons together according to individual needs of the vocal artist. The IOI recommends that the vocal artist have four or five vocal lessons each week.” Training programs are welcome for all ages.
The performance was grand with each artist introducing themselves and the piece they chose for the performance. Clearly, this program enriched each artist with more than just music, but also the culture, understanding of opera. Most of the performances were in a language which I did not understand. Much like a song I have connected with, I could still feel the music through each artist, which allowed me to understand and connect with the music. I was drawn in with each high and low ranged note that each artist performed with seemingly perfection.
This performance was set as a free show that only asked for donations to help the program remain and grow here in our valley. The next opportunity to see these artists, and experience opera here in our valley, will be Sunday, May 18, 3:00pm, at the Marque Performing Arts Center. This Performance will be another free show where donations will be greatly appreciated. Any donations will allow Desert Opera to perform and keep ticket prices low for everyone to enjoy. Kingsley said, “We want to bring affordable opera to everyone. We also have an outreach program that helps bring the culture of opera to schools.” Desert opera is committed to the art and culture of opera, and wants open up opera to everyone. I want to encourage everyone to donate and give back to this great cause that helps to enrich our valley.
During Desert Opera will be performing all of their opera season at the Indian Wells Theater. All tickets will be set at generous $35 each. The show times are as follows: La Boheme, October 24 at 7:00pm and October 26 at 2:00pm; Carmen, January 16 at 7:00pm and January 18 at 2:00pm; Cavalleria Rusticana, March 6 at 7:00pm and March 8 at 2:00pm.
Desert Opera artists are available to entertain at events, private parties, and special events. For more information, or to inquire about artist availability, information can be found at www.internationaloperainstitute.org, www.desertopera.org, or by contacting via telephone at (760) 636-0008.