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Sara about studying Classical Voice and Performance

For many students, being taught to do what they love most, sounds like music to the ears. For Sara Wijlaars, this dream is a reality. Sara studies Classical Voice at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Tilburg. In this story, you will read about one of her projects.

Monteverdi - L'Incoronazione di Poppea
In December, Sara performed in the opera: L'Incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi. Besides the final duet, Sara and her classmates were unfamiliar with the opera. Therefore, they had to discover the ins and outs of the production to convey its beauty to their audience. L'Incoronazione di Poppea is about Emperor Nerone who is married to Empress Octavia, but loves his mistress Poppea instead. During the opera, Nerone tries to crown his mistress empress, only there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. The whole story is about power and what it does to people. The students presented the story through singing, acting, and music.

Ambience photo Fontys

"The art is to convey the story to the audience and make sure the music moves them."

Not only the early music period is covered during the Bachelor Classical Voice. Several opera styles are covered such as the Baroque and Classical period, Romanticism, and the 21st century. The early music period is very nice for vocal students as the emphasis of the opera is on the text. In other words, the musical context serves the text. This way, the actor is focusing on the message that is being told to the audience but also to another character. To Sara, experiencing the music from the text is very interesting.

Sara singing

What do you learn from these projects?
The Bachelor Classical Voice prepares students for a career in opera. Sara, too, would like to perform in professional productions after graduation. With projects like L'Incoronazione di Poppea, students learn what it's like to take part in an opera production. These projects are therefore very educational.

"Playing in productions is actually what the whole study prepares you for."

All the material that students normally get offered in separate courses such as singing, “song acting”, and improvisation, are now all integrated in one production. Moreover, it is very nice and instructive to play a character, make this character completely your own and convey the character's development during the opera to the audience. In addition, students can collaborate with various disciplines during these projects. In L’Incoronazione di Poppea they worked with a basso continuo consisting of a harpsichord and a cello, an ensemble of several instrumentalists, a conductor, and a stage director. It is thus a glimpse into the working field. As far as Sara is concerned, there is nothing more instructive than that. Besides, performing the piece four times is of course a very nice valuable experience.

Sara Wijlaars, a third-year student at AMPA Classical Voice and Performance