HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 18, 2016 – Three High Point University music majors have joined the chorus for an upcoming production by North Carolina Opera. Jay Card, James Austin Porzenski and Laura Hutchins will perform in Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin,” to be presented in concert at 3 p.m. on Jan. 24 at Meymandi Auditorium in Raleigh.
Dr. Scott MacLeod, assistant professor of voice at HPU, who has served as chorus master for the opera since 2013, says this is an impressive opportunity for these talented HPU students.
“North Carolina Opera is one of the preeminent opera companies in the region,” he says. “They hire on major international artists and consistently perform to high acclaim. I can’t think of a better way for our students to lay the groundwork for exciting singing careers.”
The students have worked tirelessly to prepare for the performance, including challenging rehearsals and learning to sing in a new language. The opera will be performed in Russian.
“The opportunity to perform in full productions alongside internationally known singers is incredible. Singing with the more experienced members in the chorus has pushed me to work hard and learn by doing,” says Hutchins, a junior from Winston-Salem.
“The music itself in ‘Eugene Onegin’ is a good vocal work out, and then you throw in the Russian and it becomes a real challenge. The rehearsals are very demanding because we move so quickly, you have to work hard to not get left behind,” says Card, a senior from Shelter Island, New York. “Through this experience I’ve learned that I have what it takes to do this professionally. I really have to thank the faculty at HPU for helping me get to this point.”
Porzenski, a junior from Charlotte who has experience performing with Opera Carolina and the Greensboro Opera, says he is excited to work with the professional artists cast in the title roles and learn from them.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to work with such great musicians who do the same thing I want to do,” Porzenski says. “As a student studying vocal performance, I’m getting an inside look at the amount of dedication and passion that goes into every rehearsal, even for chorus members.”
Participating in the North Carolina Opera may become an ongoing opportunity for these students. Hutchins was a part of the opera’s performance of “Madama Butterfly” in October. Card and Porzenski may also join the chorus for the upcoming production of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in April.
Tickets for the Jan. 24 performance are available for purchase through the North Carolina Opera website, https://www.ncopera.org. The opera will be recorded and broadcast on WCPE radio in May for Tchaikovsky’s birthday.