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A delightful interruption at the opera


@Lisette_Oropesa/Twitter | babatunde_hiphopera/TikTok | Fair Use

Angeles Conde Mir - published on 01/12/22

Watch the surprised soprano's face when something unexpected happens in the middle of the first act of Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata."

If there’s any musical genre that has had an enormous following for centuries, it’s opera. What was born in Europe as a delight for the ears, has crossed borders and cultures and continues to arouse deep emotions in fans of all ages and nationalities. 

In some people, it even provokes the desire to become a tenor or soprano. Many students travel to Italy to train in this genre, which requires not only a good voice, but also strict discipline and dedication due to long hours of study. It’s a true vocation. A lot of patience is also necessary, because success and recognition may never come.

In recent years, one of the voices that has emerged on the opera scene is Lisette Oropesa, who triumphs in theaters around the world. Despite her youth (she’s only 38 years old) she has a long career and has become one of the most acclaimed sopranos. Therefore, it’s not strange that when her name appears on an opera poster, tickets fly.

Undoubtedly, charisma is another element that contributes to the fame of an artist, and Oropesa demonstrated late last year at the Teatro Regio in the Italian city of Parma.

She was the solo protagonist of a recital with piano accompaniment by maestro Francesco Izzo. Lisette was performing the song “Sempre libera,” an aria that concludes the first act of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.”

The piece has a part that corresponds to a male voice, that of Alfredo, but the recital was offered by her alone interpreting Violetta; consequently, she simply remained silent during what would have been Alfredo’s part. But, when that moment came, something completely unexpected happened! 

The voice of a spontaneous “Alfredo” began to sound in the boxes, thus completing the duet between Violetta and her beloved. Soprano Lisette Oropesa’s face turns from initial surprise to an amazed smile when she realizes that an audience member is completing the duet.

The young man who was singing is a Chinese opera student named Liu Jianwai who studies at the Giuseppe Nicolini conservatory in the northern Italian town of Piacenza. Far from being bothered by the interruption, Oropesa was delighted.

When the concert was over, Liu approached Oropesa to apologize, as the young man felt he shouldn’t have interrupted her in that way. He explained to her that he’s a great admirer and couldn’t contain himself. The soprano took a picture with him and gave him her autograph, proving that she’s a class act both on and off the stage.

This was already evident during the period of pandemic confinement in 2020 which forced us to stay at home and suspend any kind of public activity, including artistic. Faced with the cancellation of public performances, Oropesa started offering a series of masterclass sessions on Zoom. She explains in an interview:

I just started it on a whim because I was doing some Facebook Lives to just keep my sanity and connect with people (sing some karaoke and whatever). A lot of people on my Facebook Lives were always asking me technical questions and I started talking about technique. I thought people were tuning out but it was the opposite. As soon as I started talking about technique, people started typing questions like crazy, and I wondered if I should just do a masterclass series. Talk about technique, see who shows up, and just try it.

Thus, she created a virtual community where she solved the doubts and concerns of some 7,000 bel canto students from all over the world. She offered some 70 free online masterclasses on vocal technique and interpretation.


Reply to @campmeldinal Reply to @campmeldinal This is the best one I could find #wholesome#opera

♬ original sound – Babatunde Akinboboye

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