The Resident Artist Program, is a part of Madame Rose Palmai Tenser Developing Artist Program. Resident Artists are selected from across the U.S. and are professional singers of exceptional artistry at the beginning of their careers. In programs performed throughout the community, they introduce the classical voice and the performing arts, helping to develop an interest and awareness of opera that creates future singers, audiences and patrons. The 2015-2016 Resident Artists are:
Tjaden O’Dowd Cox, Soprano
Christopher Nelson, Tenor
Andre Chiang, Baritone
Who benefits and how? A Resident Artist Program (RAP) has four main functions:
- To provide an introduction to the professional world of opera for young artists completing their training and ready to launch careers. As in any vocation, the hardest job to get is the first one. The RAP provides the solution and serves a critical need of providing useful and practical experience to budding artists. Participants in the program build their resumes by preparing and singing (or covering as understudies) roles in Mobile Opera’s Fall professional productions. They also gain experience and professional credit by appearing in educational programs, concerts, and recitals. The artists come to Mobile for three weeks of intensive work on the Fall production, followed by three weeks of intensive work in education and community outreach. Each artist will sing or understudy a role in the opera, working side-by side with established singers and design professionals. When the opera closes, the artist will remain to perform children’s programs in schools, public recitals, and mini-concerts in high schools, as well as appear at other Mobile Opera promotional events.
- To introduce the classical voice to a broader audience and the performing arts to under-served segments of our community. Almost a generation has passed since music and the performing arts were a regular part of Mobile County Public Schools. Budget cuts and curriculum changes have made it difficult for administrators, in spite of their best efforts and intentions, to provide a meaningful basis for understanding and appreciation of art forms important to our culture. Opera and all of the performing arts are important as a part of our heritage and the nobler part of culture. We must stop the trend and begin to nurture opportunities in the arts for our young people, for if they are lost to the next generation, they may well be lost for good. Young artists with impressive vocal power and technique spark an interest in learning more about performing arts in school children who see the singers as artistic role models – a role that older, more established artists cannot fill as effectively. That introduction helps to develop a growing interest and awareness that builds our community and future audiences and patrons.
- To enrich the community. The Resident Artist Program provides access to impressive artistry at the beginning of the artists’ careers. Mobile Opera has a history of launching talent that went on to become stars on the international stage. Community awareness grows and appreciation for the art form also grows when appealing young talent carries the message to audiences who may not yet attend opera productions. Venues for Mobile Opera concerts and recitals can be diverse and widespread while formal opera productions cannot be.
- To fulfill Mobile Opera’s artistic and education mission, introducing more people across the area to the pleasure of performing arts. Such a program enhances Mobile Opera’s reputation and image, and awareness of Mobile Opera’s mission, by feeding the industry and giving opportunities to developing talent. And, it represents growth in a responsible and mission-driven way.
What are the opportunities?
In spite of the economic difficulties and obstacles to a singing career, American Universities and Conservatories are filled with young singers eager to use their talents. Music is one of the hardest ways to make a living, but also one of the most personally rewarding endeavors humans can undertake. Those young artists came to an appreciation of their art by exposure. This is a great opportunity for them to start their musical journey at the same time they introduce yet more young people to the possibilities of a life enjoying classical singing as a singer, a listener, or both. It is an opportunity for Mobile Opera and its audiences to hear new talent who may well become the stars of tomorrow.