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Meet Opera Star: Chelsea Holmes

This week marked the performance of Gianni Schicchi: A Comic One-Act Opera performed by Northwestern student Chelsea Holmes

Year: Sophomore

Age: 20

Major: Opera

Hometown: Huntington, New York

1. Have you always loved opera? 

I’ve always loved performing but I didn’t develop a passion for opera until much later.  I began singing classical music when I was 12 for an annual music festival called NYSSMA. I definitely enjoyed it but I never thought of myself as an opera singer and I performed in predominantly musical theatre productions. It wasn’t until my freshmen year of high school that I was in my first opera when I was hired by a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company in NY. I wouldn’t say I really came to love opera until my junior year of high school when I began to find particular composers and arias that I really loved singing. Since coming to Northwestern,my love and appreciation for opera and classical music in general has increased exponentially.

2. How did you realize it was what you wanted to major in?

Throughout the college process I was very torn between majoring in voice and opera or musical theatre. I knew that by coming to Northwestern I might  have the chance to do both if I majored in voice and opera then was accepted to the musical theatre certificate program after my freshmen fall quarter. Thankfully, I was accepted to the certificate program and have been able to study both classical music and theatre while at Northwestern which is something that really wouldn’t have been possible to do anywhere else.

3. Tell us about your character in the show?

My character in the show , Nella donati is the niece of buso donati who is on his death bed at the beginning of the opera. To the family member’s dismay he has left his inheritance to the Friars of a local monetary leaving them with nothing. My character is basically a terrible person that only cares about material possessions, and would basically do anything to gain wealth and status. My director actually compared the donati family to the bluth family on arrested development as a modern day equivalent. 

4. Why should more NU students watch opera?

I think more people should see opera at NU because college should be a time for taking advantage of new opportunities and opening the mind to new ideas and experiences. There is also the low cost of student tickets at the Lyric Opera in Chicago as Northwestern student. 

5. Dream role?

I have quite a few dream roles including Pamina in Magic Flute, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, giulietta in i capuleti e i Montecchi, and Musetta in La bohème. 


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Jamie Schmid


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