Playing opera a first for young musicians

Performance: The Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra will accompany singers.

Howard Live

Preview

March 04, 2004|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A program of opera favorites being performed on the Maryland Hall stage is hardly news.

What is out of the ordinary is that the accompanying ensemble will be the talented young musicians of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra.

For the first time, the CYSO will be an opera orchestra, says Julien Benichou, the French-born, Baltimore-based conductor in his first year as music director of one of Maryland's premiere youth orchestras.

"I think it's very nice for kids to accompany singers," Benichou says. "To encourage the suppleness and fluidity conductors will want to hear in their playing, there's no better way than to follow the voice."

The youngsters will have two first-class operatic soloists with whom to collaborate at the "Awesome Opera Gala" on Saturday evening in Annapolis.

Elizabeth Racheva, a New York-based soprano who has performed with the Lyric Opera of New York and the Baltimore Opera, will sing arias by Dvorak and Mozart. She'll be joined by Israel Lozano, an up-and-coming tenor with Placido Domingo's Washington Opera, who will deliver arias by Verdi, plus a sampling of Zarzuela, the Spanish theatrical songs popularized by the ubiquitous Domingo.

Benichou's players will fly solo for Mozart's effervescent Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, the 1st Carmen Suite by Bizet and the majestic Prelude to Wagner's Die Meistersinger.

Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra presents an evening of opera highlights at 8 p.m. Saturday at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. To reserve tickets, call 410-263-2664.

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