Arcadia Chanteurs Performs with LA Opera

Ashley Zhao, Staff Writer

Led by Choir Director Mr. Stephen Pu, AHS Chanteurs had the wonderful opportunity of singing and acting alongside the Los Angeles Opera (LA Opera) in its annual collaboration performance. Held at First Avenue Middle School’s auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 12 p.m, the two performed a premiere of a new one-act opera titled The Wreck of the Miranda written by Nathan Wang and Matthew Leavitt.

In case you are not too familiar with 
The Wreck of the Miranda, the opera is based upon actual proposals made by students at North Hollywood High School Zoo Magnet, detailing the journey of two imaginary high school students named Angela and Eva. In their small seaside town, the ocean and fishing have been all its residents have ever known. But when the inhabitants of the town suddenly fall ill, eco-conscious Eva decides to take the matter into her own hands and asks Angela for help, believing that a recent shipwreck is the cause of such misfortune. With the aid of popular student Angela, the two put aside their individual differences in order to change the public opinion of a town that has been entirely consumed by the fishing industry. The rest of the school team up with the duo and help with conducting research, collecting data, and finally exposing the large corporation putting the health of their hometown at risk.

To rehearse for its opera performance, Chanteurs met with professional directors, choreographers, and vocal coaches from the LA Opera ten times between Aug. 20 and Oct. 26. Each workshop was scheduled once a week and took place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mr. Pu described that the “LA Opera supplies sheet music and librettos, as well as student workbooks that cover some of the topics outside of music, such as the chemistry and civics lessons we learned. One of the greatest things about working with LA Opera is that their materials bring together disparate topics. In addition to learning and singing the music, Chanteurs members learned and delivered choreography and staging. Opera tells a story through music, so we learn not only to make music, but to communicate stories as well.” After a final rehearsal, Chanteurs was finally ready for its final performance on Nov. 17. Chanteurs Musical Associate senior Mikayla Hwee said, “Like all performances, there were a few hiccups during our show, but overall, our talented performers were able to recover and overcome any slight mishaps.”

Chanteur Vice President senior Katherine Burog reflected, “I think the LA Opera performance went really well! I personally love working on these types of projects because I think it’s so fun to be able to tell stories like this one through song. I’m glad we were able to expand our knowledge about different types of music and I’m so proud of the rest of Chanteurs for their performance. I think the show was successful and I could tell everyone was giving it their all on stage so it was great to see. It’s a shame this was my last performance with LA Opera but I hope I can watch the show again next year!”

Chanteur President senior Kristen Duran added on to Katherine’s statement and said, “Returning to work with LA Opera this year has been a true pleasure for Chanteurs. As their shows correlate to memorable conflicts throughout history, which really educates our group. Working with LA Opera has widely developed our performance skills as individuals and has helped us step out of our comfort zone by trying new things. I would like to thank the organization for giving us another opportunity this year to highlight our true potential in performing.”

After battling a plethora of tough rehearsals, it is easy to say that the AHS Chanteurs have definitely gained a good bout of experience from this opportunity. “One of my favorite parts of this experience was definitely running through the whole opera for the first time—seeing everything flow smoothly and hearing all of our voices blend so well together made all of our long practice hours and hard work pay off, ” Mikayla said, “I think that working with big groups like LA Opera is such an honor for Chanteurs because it gives us exposure to professional experiences in the music sector.” But aside from earning experience in communication and learning theater fundamentals, the AHS Chanteurs and the LA Opera delivered a spectacular performance for their audience overall.