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The World of Opera

Student Writer

Story by Lizbeth Alvarez, CRJ Journalism Student

Richard Ford and Alexander Scheuermann, who work for the Houston Grand Opera, visited the freshman Composition and senior Journalism classes on January 21, 2016 to help students understand what goes on behind the curtains during an opera production. In addition to inspiring students to expand their artistic side, they informed them about the numerous people it takes to create an opera.

As a composer, Ford creates music for any occasion. While Ford was attending the University of Oklahoma, he was on a path to study pre-law. Until one day his music teacher guided him toward the music industry and he eventually received a bachelor’s of music composition.

He explained how opera singers do not have the capability to use a microphone during their performance. It all depends on how far their voice carries.

Ford explained how “everyone’s path is different.”  A person should have a job where they are allowed to be creative. Every person has a creative side and should consider every opportunity to grow their artistic side, including studying art, attending theatrical productions, or going to museums.

Scheuermann is a professional opera singer with the Houston Grand Opera. He’s playing many characters, including a small boy because of the character of his voice. He holds a bachelor’s of music in voice performance from Florida State, and a master’s of management in voice performance from the University of Houston.

Scheuermann explained how practicing often makes a difference in a performance. During his presentation, a freshman student asked him if he has to know the language in which he sings opera. Scheuermann stated, the more you look over it, the more recognizable it becomes. He said singers don’t tire if they learn to control their own body.

Scheuermann has participated in Opera To Go, which is an organization that attends elementary and middle schools to engage the students in opera.

When a freshman student asked Ford if anyone ever made a mistake, Ford replied, “There has never been a perfect performance. Only the director and producer will ever know about the mistakes because it’s their production,” he said. “Often, the audience has no knowledge of the mistakes. Perfect is not a concept.”