Retired Opera Singer's Non-Profit Inspires Wide Range Of Talent
Singer Mizuho Takeshita performed the role of Olympia, a mechanical doll, in Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman" Monday morning on Manhattan's Upper East Side. It's all part of a program founded by retired soprano and native New Yorker Martina Arroyo.
"They have language lessons, they have development of character lessons, combat, that's kind of fun they like that because that's when the girls get to beat the boys up, and they do," Arroyo said.
This is the ninth season of the Martina Arroyo Foundation's Prelude to Performance Program, which leads up to performances later this week at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. Both "Tales of Hoffman" and Donizetti's "Elixir of Love" will be staged.
Forty-seven students from around the world were selected for the program from 500 applicants. They get the chance to work with Arroyo and some of the city's top coaches, conductors and directors.
"They have so many things going in their heads all at once: Languages, diction, character development," said "Elixir of Love" Director Tara Faircloth.
"It takes a different level of thinking, and a different way of working actually to get out of them what we need to get out of them," said "Elixir of Love" Conductor Willie Anthony Waters.
The program is a unique opportunity for these young talents to hone their skills and learn from someone who sang in many of the world's leading opera houses.
"She's wonderful and inspiring and definitely intimidating but in the best way possible," said Opera Singer Kirsten Scott.
"Patience, learning how to I guess believe in the process," said Opera Singer Jorell Williams.
"The Martina Foundation, this program does a really great job of selecting really good hearted people with a real passion for what we do," said Opera Singer Maggie Sczekan.
For Martina Arroyo, seeing that passion in action is gratifying.
"The arts needs all the help that we can get because you want to have future great singers and we do have them but we need to work to become from singers, to artists, to great," Arroyo said.
For ticket prices and more information on the program, visit martinaarroyofdn.org.