Opera might seem daunting for the uninitiated. But the Modesto Symphony Orchestra promises an evening filled with opera hits people might not even realize they already know.
Modesto symphony Orchestra presents “Night at the Opera” Friday-Saturday, May 12-13, at the Gallo Center for the Arts. The evening will feature three guest vocalists: tenor Garrett Sorenson, mezzo-soprano Cybele Gouverneur and soprano Summer Hassan. Modesto Symphony Music Director David Lockington will conduct with Daniel R. Afonso Jr. leading the MSO Chorus.
The program will feature works from some of the world’s most iconic operas including “Carmen,” “La Bohème,” “La Traviata” and even the operatic musical “Phantom of the Opera.”
Los Angeles-based singer Hassan said the show should make for a good introduction to opera for some, and a reminder of its appeal to others.
“It’s fun. Everybody is going to realize they know tunes from it. It is light-hearted and everything is happy. There’s no dying or death; this is all the party hits,” she said.
Hassan, who is making her Modesto Symphony debut, has been in LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program since 2014. Her own path to the art form came, not from her family’s interest but a trip to the theater.
“My parents liked music but they never, never listened to opera. They are not musical at all. So I saw ‘Phantom of the Opera’ — which is funny seeing as there is one thing from ‘Phantom’ in this — which I thought was an opera. But something about seeing it on stage captivated me. It was like playing pretend and getting to sing. So from then on out I always said opera, growing up, when people asked me what wanted to do.”
The singer said she particularly enjoys working with a full orchestra, like in the Modesto Symphony show.
“A piano alone can only capture so much. An orchestra adds a whole life and character to it — it brings to life what the text is,” she said.