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Voice Students Take Cue from Diva Renee Fleming

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January 18, 2008
World-renowned lyric soprano Renée Fleming shares her vocal wisdom with tenor John Eric Rutherford, one of four graduate-level School of Music voice students to participate in a recent opera master class.

The sold-out event, held Jan. 15 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, drew an audience of nearly 1,000.

Fleming is in Chicago to sing the role of Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata" at the Lyric Opera through Jan. 26.

"One tries to give food for thought during a master class," said Fleming. "Learning to sing is like putting together a puzzle."

During the 90-minute class, the diva offered suggestions on breath intake and control, voice projection, facial and body gestures and self-correction.

The three other students who worked with Fleming were soprano Ashleigh Semkiw, mezzo-soprano Jessica Best and bass Nikolas Wenzel. The young singers performed arias from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro," "Cosi fan tutte" and "Don Giovanni" and Donizetti's "L'elisir d'amore."

Fleming also answered questions from audience members on topics that ranged from her diet to singing while pregnant to stage fright.

Topics: Campus Life