Renowned opera soprano to visit BYU

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With a wide array of performers and artists who come to BYU, one soprano is taking her performance up an octave.

Four-time Grammy Award winner Dawn Upshaw from the Metropolitan Opera will perform at BYU on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall. The internationally renowned soprano has not been to BYU since 1999.

Lynn Eustice, 24, a senior from Modesto, Calif., studying human development, has studied music her entire life, and looks up to opera singers like Upshaw. Eustice said she believes it takes more than a beautiful voice to be a successful singer like Upshaw.

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Dawn Upshaw, a well known opera soprano, is visiting BYU for the first time since 1999.

“I have learned that your body will naturally sing well as long as you put it in the correct position,” Eustice said. “Your hips have to be placed in the right place, your spine must be aligned, and as soon as you learn how to use the muscles that you need to, your body naturally does the rest. It’s kind of like exercising.”

Upshaw will also teach a master’s class to vocal students on Friday. Five students will be taught, with the other vocal students learning from Upshaw’s counsel and guidance.

Alexandra Tanner, 20, a sophomore from Burke, Va., studying choral education, will be one of the vocal students attending Upshaw’s master’s class.

“I’m always amazed to see professionals like Dawn Upshaw, because she makes it look so easy,” Tanner said. “They just open their mouths and it’s perfect, but when you’re training, you realize that it’s like a whole balance of every part of your body. You have to be relaxed, but if you’re too weak then nothing happens.”

Tanner also said singing depends on outside factors like eating, languages and warming up.

“All singers who get trained need to be able to speak French, Italian, German and proper English,” Tanner said. “The further you get into the choral education program, the more opera you sing.¬†If you’re not in the right voice, if you ate the wrong thing that morning, then you won’t have a good voice in the afternoon. Warming up can take forever and it totally affects your sound.”

Jeff Martin, producer and arts manager of the HFAC, said he feels honored to have a talented performer like Upshaw perform at BYU.

“It’s a rare opportunity for people here at BYU and in the community to witness a talent like hers in the classical world,”¬†Martin said. “She’s near the top.”

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