When your teacher tells you that an internationally-renowned opera singer is coming for a visit, you many not even know who they are or even imagine what they could possibly have in common with you. For students whose schools are part of LA Opera’s Cast to Class program, that preconceived notion is quickly erased when someone like Javier Camarena steps through the door.
On Monday, Oct. 23, Camarena dropped by the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies to speak not only about his current role in Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, but also his path to success and what it means to be an opera singer. He even performed for the students, singing Scarlatti’s “Già il sole dal Gange” alongside the piano.
Here is a look at Camarena’s recent visit to LACES:
As Cast to Class enters its third year, the program brings opera singers into schools and students they meet to the opera house. These same students attend the opera as guests of the company, where they are able to cheer on “their” artist at work. The goal is for students to connect personally with the artists and the art form.
In the past three years, singers such as Ana María Martínez, J’Nai Bridges and former young artists Ben Bliss and Joshua Guerrero, have spoken with students at various schools across LA County. All the singers participating in the program urge the kids to follow their dreams and pursue the life that will make them happiest — whether that’s a career in the arts or in a completely different field. The artists have also discovered that they are equally touched and impacted as the students.
From these talks, LA Opera hopes that students come away with an appreciation for opera. If some discover a love for the art form — that’s just a bonus. Others are often surprised by how proud they are, in turn, to welcome these singers to their schools and inspired by these people who have worked hard pursuing careers about which that they are passionate.
Through these outreach programs and more, LA Opera strives to bridge the gap between the stage and schools. As these programs expand, our goal remains to foster the next generation of opera-lovers.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.