The young singers of the Merola Opera Program present Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress this week, as they work their way through the summer program that prepares them for a career in the opera world. Tenor Christopher Oglesby sings the lead role of Tom Rakewell, in the work that was inspired by a set of 18th Century etchings by William Hogarth.
There’s more information about the program and the performance at the Merola Opera Program website.
“Merola is a program that is designed as basically an internship for young opera singers before they’ve really started out on a career,” Oglesby says. “We’ve just had really intense days full of stagings and rehearsals, and plenty of coachings and lessons, and a lot of professional development classes, which have been such a boon. It provides a lot of different coachings and lessons and opportunities that we wouldn’t get anywhere else to help us bridge the gap between education, you know, grad school, and between starting your own professional career.” He’s only been singing as a tenor for three years, but doesn’t see arriving at the repertoire late as too much of a handicap. “Pros: I didn’t have as many bad habits as I would have otherwise. Con: I know a lot less about the repertoire. Which I guess could be a pro as well, cause I’m finding everything out with, I guess, more mature eyes… I was always a tenor, I just had a very well-developed low range. And so once I got to a much more robust, healthy singing technique, the top exploded open, and I found a new home.” The story tells of the descent of Tom Rakewell, as he’s lead away from his fiancée, Anne Trulove, and to his ultimate downfall by the devil, Nick Shadow. “Robin Guarino, our director has done an incredible job about really bringing out the timelessness. And so even though you have nods to the elements of when, say, the Hogarth paintings were, or when Stravinsky wrote this, really the setting is… always.”