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Auditorium lets L.A. Opera voices ring

Karlie Bettencourt
Associate Arts Editor

The L.A. Opera Domingo-Thornton Young Artists filled the Ann and Steve Morgan Auditorium with voices that continued to ring through the room long after the singers finished their final notes on April 16.

The performance consisted of nine arrangements from a variety of famous operas including Faust, Peter Grimes and Der Rosenkavalier.

“I had a really great time,” said Janai Brugger-Orman, a soprano who has been with the L.A. Opera for one year. “It is a very intimate space and we all enjoy that very much.”

The bottom level of Morgan Auditorium was filled with about 100 people who applauded after each performance.

The songs varied in type ranging from serious love melodies to humorous songs.

The song that caused the most people to laugh was “Duetto buffo di due Gatti” by Gioachino Rossini, where Brugger-Orman and Carin Gilfry, a mezzo-soprano with the LA Opera, took on the roles of cats fighting for the limelight.

The entire song consisted of one word: meow. The singers sang it in different ways ranging from extended and stacatto notes to various octaves, all in attempt to outdo the other.

“I loved that there was comedy in it,” Esmeralda Cardenas, junior computer science major, said. “It had seriousness, tragedy, and comedy. It was a good mix.”

One of the more serious songs was “From the Gutter,” which is from the show Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten. It featured four women: Brugger-Orman, Gilfrey, Tracy Cox and Valentina Fleer.

The song was introduced as being a song talking about the relationship between a man and a woman and domestic abuse involved in the relation. Many audience members were crying during the song.

“Even though you don’t understand what they are saying, you understand what they are conveying,” Brandon Flath, freshman biological studies major, said.

The entire performance consisted of performers who sang out with gusto, meaning they used not only their voice but their entire presence.

The second song that was performed was the opening duet from the opera Faust. It was performed by Alexey Sayapin, tenor who performed as Faust, and Matthew Anchel, bass who performed as Mephistopheles.

Sayapin began the song with incredible height that rang out into the auditorium. His entire body was completely raised as if the note was coming from his toes instead of his chest.

His facial expressions were so dedicated to the music that without understanding the language you could understand the emotion in the song.

Anchel only furthered the emotional height of the song as he came in with his low notes that complimented Sayapin’s voice. The low notes of Anchel’s part definitely allowed him to convey his character of Mephistopheles.

There are a total of 25 recitals in their current tour. The performances are throughout Los Angeles County and performed by members of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program.

These concerts are in celebration of the L.A. Opera’s 25-year anniversary season.

The concerts have taken place in museums, performance centers, hospitals and schools all over Los Angeles County in order to bring the experience of listening to operatic voices to everyone.

The next performance for the L.A. Opera will be at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach.

“It amazed me how strong their voices were,” Vanessa Perocier, junior psychology major, said.

Karlie Bettencourt can be reached at

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