Students of the Month

Melanie Spector, age 14, MET children’s chorus

Melanie Spector 2012
Melanie Spector. Photo by Susan Spector.

How long have you been singing opera?

I have been singing with the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus for six seasons now. I have been going to the opera for over 10 years, starting with Hansel and Gretel and then going to my first Ring Cycle at age 6.

What got you interested in it?

As my mother is in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and my father is also a huge fan of opera, I naturally became interested in it. My father was listening to a broadcast of Siegfried from the Bayreuth festival when I was 5, and I asked him what it was. It was during the forging scene of Act I when Siegfried is reforging Nothung and singing a joyful work song. We sat down on the couch and watched this scene from the Otto Schenk MET production and I was hooked. I then went to see the whole ring cycle when I was six, and have been interested in opera ever since. I auditioned for the children’s chorus when I was eight years old, because when I saw them on the MET stage, I was so jealous of what they did. I was luckily accepted and have been casted in multiple operas since.

Melanie Spector 2012
Melanie Spector. Photo © Beth Bergman.

What gigs are you doing at present (April-May 2012)?

In the last few months I performed in the MET’s holiday presentation of Hansel and Gretel. I also performed in Act II of Puccini’s La bohème in the fall. Currently, the children’s chorus is working on repertoire for the 2012-2013 season.

You study with Amy Goldstein at this time. How did you get connected with her?

Yes, I study with Amy Goldstein. I was connected with her because of knowing the wife of Mark Oswald, Belinda, who is a member of the regular adult Metropolitan Opera Chorus. We’ve become close friends over the years performing in certain operas together, and when I was interested in taking voice lessons, my mother contacted her. Her husband recommended Amy and I’ve been studying with her since last August.

What do think is the biggest change that Amy has brought about for you and how has that advanced your goals as a singer?

Along with breathing, acting, and vocal tips Amy has given me, I would have to say the biggest one is self-confidence. She has made me believe that having a career in opera can be possible with hard work and dedication. Seeing opera stars on the stage can be intimidating for vocal students, but she’s told me, Oh honey, you’re gonna be on that stage. She knows that I want my dream to be a reality, and it really helps knowing she believes in me so greatly.

Do you have plans for singing in your future?

Well, for the 2012-2013 MET season, the operas include: Turandot, Carmen, Otello, and Parsifal. I’m planning on auditioning for all of these operas, hoping I will have the opportunity to perform in them. For voice lessons, possibly a recital in late spring or early summer. Whatever it is, I’ll be there.

 

Laura Jobin-Acosta

Melanie Spector 2012
Laura Jobin-Acosta

You study with Amy Goldstein. How has your work with you advanced your goals as a singer?

Amy has given me amazing perspective. She has helped me through countless vocal accomplishments and she personalizes my lessons to my style of learning. I use her generous encouragement from my lessons to self-motivate practice throughout the week and she reminds me of my goals with an email. During lessons she doesn’t hesitate to push me towards my breaking points in order to make progress. I think we, as singers, all need that boost. I would say that the biggest change so far has been getting to know what I consider my new voice. After a year without lessons and only having been trained as a mezzo, becoming a soprano was a whole new concept. Thanks to her I always have repertoire that really suits my voice.

How did you get connected with Amy Goldstein?

I saw a notice for a master-class that Mark Oswald’s studio was having. I got to sing in the class, and afterwards, I talked with her about lessons. After a few lessons it was clear that Amy was the right teacher for me.

What gigs are you doing at present?

Currently I have a church job where I get lots of performance opportunities. Otherwise, I am concentrating on my technique, which, since I started working with Amy, has improved dramatically.

Laura also performed the Vaughan Williams’ Magnificat in Stockbridge, MA in December 2011.

What are your plans for singing in the future?

I want to become a fulltime musician. Performing music makes me feel alive. I look forward to becoming the best singer I can be and sharing the art of music with everyone who will have it.