Atlanta, GA – February 2024
In a remarkable showcase of artistic talent, Georgia State students and faculty took center stage in the recent production of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème by the acclaimed Atlanta Opera. This involvement not only highlighted the depth of talent within the University but also solidified Atlanta's position as one of the top opera hubs in the United States.
GSU students in supporting roles for the production included Madison Chambers, Lar’Kara Betha, Bella Chaney, Max Clements, Levi Adkins, Liubov Shrivastava, Jacob Thatch McDonald, Andrew Kapsar-King, José Antonio Montañez, and Blair Lipham. Each brought a unique set of skills and passion for the arts, delivering a memorable performance that highlighted the School of Music’s vibrant artistic talent.
Reflecting on his experience, graduate student José Antonio Montañez shared, "Singing Boheme with the Atlanta Opera Chorus was just extraordinary; not only because all the singers are extremely talented and it's a very respectful and fun environment, but also because you can learn something different from each person. Everyone involved is necessary to provide the audience with a high-quality international production. Undoubtedly, it's an experience that nurtured my career development as an artist." Notably, José was also actively involved in the recent production of Atlanta Opera's Rigoletto.
Accompanying the students are esteemed faculty members from GSU, each a maestro in their respective fields. Rolando Salazar (Chorus Master), Clinton Smith (Assistant Conductor), Alex Freund (Trumpet), Yvonne Toll-Schneider (Principal Trumpet), Eric Hawkins (French Horn), Lara Dahl (Oboe), Jessica Stinson (Violin), Emory Clements (Double Bass) and Bill Mann (Principal Trombone) form the backbone of the musical ensemble, infusing the production with a wealth of experience and expertise.
Reflecting on the production, Lara Dahl, Oboe Professor and Graduate Director of the School of Music at GSU, shared, "Playing with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra is always an honor, but I was especially moved musically by this production of 'La Bohème' by Puccini. It was an amazing experience when every person in the pit, on stage and behind the scenes gave their absolute best to create a work of such complexity and beauty."
Having earned recognition as one of the top 10 opera companies in the U.S. by Musical America (Dec. 2023), the Atlanta Opera consistently captivates audiences through its dynamic approach to classical works. La Bohème, a timeless masterpiece by Puccini, unfolded a poignant narrative of love and friendship against the backdrop of 19th-century Paris. Atlanta Opera's commitment to artistic excellence and compelling storytelling has firmly established it as a cultural cornerstone, not only in Atlanta but also across the nation.
"We take immense pride in the substantial participation of our students and faculty in multiple productions with the Atlanta Opera. This engagement underscores the caliber of talent nurtured at Georgia State University," expressed Dr. Chester Phillips, Director of the School of Music at GSU, emphasizing the University's dedication to leaving a lasting impact in the city.
For more information about upcoming productions and ticket inquiries, visit atlantaopera.org.
About Atlanta Opera:
Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera is dedicated to becoming the premier international opera company in Atlanta. With over 40 years of celebrating opera, the company collaborates with world-renowned artists, continually elevating the opera experience. Under the leadership of General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, the Opera expanded its mainstage productions, garnered awards, and initiated impactful community engagement programs, such as the successful Veterans Program with The Home Depot Foundation. Highlighted in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study on organizational growth, The Atlanta Opera remains at the forefront of innovation, as reflected in Zvulun's TEDx Talk at Emory University, titled "The Ambidextrous Opera Company or Opera in the Age of iPhones." These milestones showcase the Opera's enduring commitment to excellence and the evolving role of opera in contemporary culture.