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Monday, August 6, 2012

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists in the Spotlight

This Thursday afternoon (August 9 at 2:30pm), you can witness the splendid young artists of Central City Opera's 2012 Festival as they take the stage in the lead roles of La Bohème during our Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinee. These hardworking and extremely talented artists, most of whom are in their college years, are usually seen in the chorus and in minor roles of our main stage operas. They also star in their own smaller productions like Short Works and The Face on the Barroom Floor, but on this date they get the chance to shine in the spotlight front and center.
Kaitlyn Costello starred in the Family Matinee performance of Carmen last year; this summer she made her main stage debut as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!
Earlier this year, the Opera Insider caught up with Marc Astafan, who has recently taken the reins as administrator of the Program.

Marc Astafan,  Administrator
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
Artists Training Program

CCO:  You’ll be returning to Central City Opera this summer in a new capacity; Administrator of the Bonfils Stanton Artists Training Program.  You’ve been here many times as a Stage Director, and before that as an Assistant Director, working directly with young artists. The Training Program, as established by John Moriarty, is known as a rigorous preparation for young artists pursuing a career in opera, with required classes in diction, audition techniques and stage movement, and opportunities to perform full roles on the main stage as well as scenes and recitals.

As a Central City Opera veteran, what are your observations about the challenges and opportunities for young artists in this program?

MARC:  The challenges and opportunities faced by the young artists who participate in the Central City program are many, but the main one that comes to mind is: stamina. We work six days a week and nine hours a day (sometimes more!) for ten to twelve weeks straight over the summers in Central. Every part of the body, heart and mind will be called upon for these young singers to use. Not to mention the voice. They have classes every morning and rehearsals and/or coachings for the rest of the day, sometimes until ten or eleven at night. But year after year I've witnessed the fact that the more the singers put into the program, the more they gain. They will not only feel great, but perform better than they ever thought possible by the time they leave Central City in mid-August. When one is immersed in creativity for such an intense period all of the senses are at work. They might leave exhausted, but with a tremendous sense of accomplishment, knowing they've been a part of something extraordinary. They'll have personal and artistic growth that they never thought imaginable.

The full interview with Marc Astafan (as well as the Program's Principal Coach Michael Baitzer) is available in the 2012 Opera Insider (Festival Resource Guide - PDF)

Tickets are still available for the Family Matinee performance this Thursday. You can also see these talented Young Artists during Lunch & A Song, Short Works, and in the chorus and secondary roles of the remaining La Bohème performances. All performances of Oklahoma! are sold out.

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