Last Wednesday, Wittenberg’s Opera Studio performed “Under the Lights: A Night of Broadway Classics,” a concert comprised entirely of hit songs from Broadway shows. The shows covered included “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oklahoma!,” “West Side Story,” and “Sweeney Todd.”
The show started off strong, with freshmen Victoria Wilver and Deanna Torstenson and junior Katherine Brown performing “Matchmaker,” a hit from “Fiddler on the Roof.” The song made the crowd laugh along with the characters, and the singers had everyone in the palms of their hands. The show continued beautifully, as the choreography, song choice, and talent that was displayed from the director, performers, and accompanying pianist formed an intimate setting with the audience.
The ensemble consisted of 13 performers, ranging from freshmen to juniors. All singers were in the final number, “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd,” from the show “Sweeney Todd.” The freshmen included Brynna Boone and Wilver, both of whom were featured along with the opera studio’s only two male performers, Alec Nutting, a sophomore, and Christopher Butler, a junior, in a rendition of Sondheim’s “Getting Married Today,” a hit from the show “Company.”
Boone, a vocal performance and music education double major, dreams of being an opera singer one day, and loves to be a member of the opera studio.
“Opera Studio lets you use your vocal and acting talent and you get the chance to enhance it,” she said. “You get to work with an amazing instructor (Kim Buczek) and awesome pianist (Diane Slagle). They truly do help you in every way. Plus, you get paired up with someone to do your scene with, so you learn how to work with another. At times, you can’t just sing; you need to learn to balance with someone else there. It’s not all about you; sometimes you need to learn to share the spotlight.”
The concert was more than just performers singing a new version of classic hits; it was a showcase of the singers living the scenes. The vocalists took on the role as actors with the usage of props, costumes, and general acting techniques that implemented humor and empathy from the crowd. Furthermore, the duets, trios, and quad performances had stellar harmonies, balancing each vocalist’s respective vibrado and vocal quality by allowing each to show his or her own vocal range and combine it with another performer to create this beautiful thing we call music.
“Music has helped me physically and emotionally throughout my whole life,” Boone said, “and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of music. It helps me release stress, express my true feelings, and helps me with basically life.”