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Mezzo and Mentor

The rural hush of Cherry Valley has been displaced, not by summer storms, but by the thundering and formidable voice of mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick. An internationally renowned opera star and a dedicated pedagogue, Zajick is teaching a series of master classes for singers in the Glimmerglass Young Artist Program this summer. This Friday, August 10, Zajick will be joined by several of these young artists in a concert centered around the type of characters that she excells in as the world’s leading dramatic mezzo: women possessed by heaven and hell.

Since her debut as Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the San Francisco Opera, Zajick has been in demand for the dramatic mezzo roles of Giuseppe Verdi. These roles, such as Amneris in Aida, Eboli in Don Carlo, in addition to Azucena, require a singer that has everything: the technique and stamina to cut over a dramatic orchestration, resonant chest tones and secure high notes, the ability to sing soft and intimate passages and an acute sensitivity to the relationship between text and music that has made Verdi’s opera’s so compelling for over a century. Having sung Amneris and Azucena at the Metropolitan Opera nearly every season since her debut at the house in 1988, Zajick had and still has it all.

Zajick now balances her international career with a mission to discover, train and mentor emerging singers with big voices. In 2006, she created the Dolora Zajick Institute for Young Dramatic Voices “to address the lack of training for large, dramatic voices.” In one of this summer’s master classes, Zajick told the young artists that she was able to sing her first Azucena when she was 24, an age when most large-voiced singers are still discovering their instruments, because she had been mentored and prepared by teachers and coaches who knew how to train a voice of her size.

In these master classes, Zajick works with each student on four things: resonance, vowels, breath, and tongue position. That’s it. “Singing is a very simple process,” she advises, “but it is a complex process to discover those simple things.”

 This Friday, August 10 at 3:00pm, Dolora Zajick will sing arias from Cavalleria Rusticana, The Maid of Orleans, La Favorita and Macbeth, joined by young artists who will sing arias and scenes from Faust, La Sonnambula, Lucia di Lammermoor  and The Medium. For tickets, please visit us online or call the box office us (607) 547-2255.

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