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ODU Student to Study and Perform with Operafestival di Roma

Talent and opportunity seem to have combined into perfect harmony for Old Dominion University student Erin Hannon this summer.

Scheduled to leave for Rome on July 1, the senior music major has been afforded the chance to study and perform with Operafestival di Roma, a nonprofit opera school that offers opportunities to musicians from around the world. The program consists of three weeks of intensive training, in which students are coached in voice, lyrical diction and conversational Italian. Students will also rehearse for their live performances, which will be staged in the 15th-century central courtyard of S. Ivo alla Sapienza in Rome the week following their training.

"I'm ecstatic," said Hannon. "It's just been crazy lately trying to get everything ready."

Hannon, who hopes to pursue opera professionally after her graduation next spring, said that she thinks the school will be an invaluable experience for her.

"There's tons of people who come to the performances there, and it's a great place to make connections," she said. "I really think it will be a good opportunity."

Auditions for the school's 50 spots were held in cities across the globe, including Los Angeles, Boston, Minneapolis, Richmond and Washington, D.C., where Hannon auditioned.

"I always get nervous before auditions," she said. "It just gets me excited and ready to go."

Hannon, who sang with the University Choir and Diehn Chorale for several years, is no stranger to performing abroad. In 2005, she toured Tokyo with the choir, where the group recorded an internationally released album.

"Erin has a beautiful voice," said Nancy Klein, graduate program director of ODU's Department of Music. "She has grown as a performer over the years. We are very excited that she has this opportunity to go to Rome."

Klein describes Hannon as one of the "grandchildren" of the department, as her high school music instructor, David Prescott of Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, was a former student of Klein's.

"It is a joy when our alums think highly enough of the department that they send us their most talented students," she said.

The trip will be Hannon's first visit to Rome, and she said that she looks forward to seeing the city. She has spoken with other students who have attended the program, who each gave it rave reviews.

"They told me it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience," she said. "Going to Rome is like the ultimate dream. I can't wait."

This article was posted on: June 10, 2008

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