Adams wants to pursue opera singing in college
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Brentwood High School junior Evan Addams wants to be an opera singer and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis wants to help her reach her dream.
For Adams’s work as a member of the group’s 2015-16 Monsanto Artists-in-Training program, which included an April 10 recital at the Sheldon Concert Hall, they awarded her a $500 scholarship. There are 23 students in the program and she is one of seven to win a scholarship.
The Monsanto program provides college-level voice lessons for high school students in the St. Louis region. A press release says it is “recognized as one of 10 model American programs for at-risk youth.” Students competed for $11,250 in scholarships on April 10, with renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves as adjudicator.
Following are excerpts from our interview with Adams:
What songs did you sing for the judges?
“For the adjudication, I sang ‘Music When Soft Voices Die’ by Ernest Gold and ‘Meine Rose’ by Schumann. I sang the Schumann for the recital, though.”
What was the judging process for the entrants?
“We had a winter recital and residency, which is when we have a guest teacher come in for a week and we have master classes with them. I sang both songs for that, which really helped me perfect the songs. There are no rounds for the spring recital, just the adjudication before it and the recital itself.”
Where did you perform?
“I sang my adjudication at the Webster [University] music building. It was a great space with beautiful acoustics. And our recital was at the Sheldon Concert Hall, another space with great acoustics.”
Do you take private voice lessons?
“The artists-in-training program provides voice lessons with teachers from the universities in the greater St. Louis area. The studios include UMSL, Wash U, Webster, and SIUE. That’s the beauty of the program — we get exposure to college-level training before our peers, which sets us ahead. We have our lessons for 45 minutes once a week, and we switch between two instructors: a vocal teacher and a vocal coach. One helps us with the technical stuff like rhythms and timing. The other teaches us about the voice itself, the diction, the tone, things of that nature.”
What part do you sing?
“With opera, a lady can be a soprano, a mezzo-soprano, or a contralto. I can sing soprano, but I identify myself as a mezzo-soprano.”
You’re just finishing your junior year but what are your college plans?
“I am currently looking at Webster University (a music conservatory), University of Central Missouri, Roosevelt University (a music conservatory) and Columbia College Chicago (a conservatory), and Berklee College of Music is the unrealistic dream school. Finding a college was a bit of a challenge because I wanted a school with a bachelor of music instead of a bachelor of fine arts in music. I also want a degree in vocal performance or voice and opera. So that narrowed down most of my choices for me. My plans are pretty well laid out.”
Who inspires you musically?
“My musical inspirations vary based on the phase I’m going through, or the piece I’m learning at the time. Some singers who have stood the test of time are Audra McDonald, Denyce Graves, Leontyne Price, Kendall Gladen and Sutton Foster.”