In tonight’s premiere of “Romeo & Juliet,” directed by Moores Opera Center director Buck Ross at the University of Houston (UH), Amanda Levy (MM Vocal Performance ’18) takes the stage as the leading lady.
Levy came to UH fresh out of the New England Conservatory after a friend recommended the Moores School of Music (MSM) to her. “He told me about the warm environment and incredible teachers he had,” she said. Once she toured the campus and met faculty members during her audition, she was sold. “I saw everything he told me about first-hand and that drew me here.”
Now, in her second semester at UH, she is stepping into the limelight as Juliet in MSM’s highly anticipated opera. Learn more about Levy, her love for opera and what to expect at the show in our Q&A below.
How did you prepare for the role of Juliet?
It’s been an amazing experience. The opera is sung in French, so I had to begin learning the role early in the school year. First I had to learn the entire text, then the correct pronunciation because singing in French is different than speaking it. It’s a long opera and Juliet is in most of the show, so I have to make sure I’m singing in a healthy way to sustain throughout the show.
When we got to the staging rehearsals and started adding movement that introduced a new challenge. But putting the movement with the music started connecting everything and it all came together.
What do you enjoy about singing opera?
I’ve always loved singing. I did musical theatre and sang in choir growing up and, in high school, I tried classical music and it just felt really good. It’s so moving; there’s such a plethora of sounds that different composers make and it’s so interesting to explore them.
What’s been the most challenging thing about this role?
I’ve always felt very self-conscious about my acting. Being onstage didn’t always come naturally to me, but my friends and teachers have really helped me preparing for this opera. I’m so grateful for their help because I’m much more comfortable now. If I didn’t perform this role, I don’t think I’d be able to say that.
What’s your favorite scene in “Romeo & Juliet”?
There are so many great scenes. The opening one is really fun because it takes place at the ball and Juliet comes in for the first time. There’s so much excitement, the chorus is giving so much energy and a lot of characters get to introduce themselves in this exciting environment. It’s a big spectacle.
Why should people come see the opera tonight?
It has it all – amazing sets, amazing singers, gorgeous music. Everyone at this school is so unbelievably talented and we’ve put so much hard work into this piece. I think people will really connect with it.