Carmel High drama dept. to host Opera-Essence Performances

On Oct. 19, the CHS performing arts center will be hosting Opera-Essence Performances, the husband and wife team of Richard and Norma Mayer that has been bringing opera to various schools for about 13 years.

This show has toured locally, throughout the United States and in France and Estonia.

“Norma Mayer used to be my voice teacher,” drama teacher Gracie Poletti explains. “They perform an opera that is interactive and is very fun and interesting.”

Married since 1994, soprano Norma Mayer and flutist Richard Mayer have developed an interactive program that introduces audiences to the art of opera. During the show, the duo performs five or six famous opera scenes, explaining what’s happening, the characters and the context of the music.

“They perform some operatic scenes and get the students involved,” Poletti says. “They get students involved as supernumeraries, or an extra in an opera.”

This show is backed up by two lifetimes of musical experience. Norma has been performing her art ever since she was in grade school.

Opera-Essence soprano Norma Mayer performs at Robert Down Elementary in Pacific Grove.

Opera-Essence soprano Norma Mayer performs at Robert Down Elementary in Pacific Grove.

“Norma has studied music in graduate school at the University of Texas and in Italy,” her husband says. “She is also an outstanding voice teacher, whose students have won many competitions and have received numerous scholarships to prestigious music schools.”

Richard, similarly, has performed since he was a child, in a large range of music genres, including jazz, pop and classical music.

“Together we have been performing for almost 30 years, with hundreds of performances around the U.S. and in Europe,” Richard says.

The reason that the musical duo has been doing these performances for so long is because their show inspires so many students who may never had seen opera before, but gain an appreciation of the art form from the workshop.

“We think the interactive and participatory nature of the presentation helps to inspire the audience to love the art form,” Richard notes. “Some even go on to pursue music in their studies.”

Additionally, the audience at the performances is another factor that has motivated the team to perform show after show.

“For me, the most exciting part is always the enthusiastic response of the audience to the numbers being performed on the stage,” the flutist says. “Without fail, the student audiences really get into the performances, and everybody wants to get up on stage with us to be supernumeraries… The energy level of the performances is truly electrifying at the school shows!”

Anyone may attend this event, which will occur during seventh period, starting at 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Any interested students may talk to drama teacher Gracie Poletti to get more information on this event.

-Ryan Lin