This summer, dozens of Centre College students are taking advantage of their time off from classes to engage in life-changing internship opportunities both in the United States and abroad. One of these students is Emilie O’Connor ’17, who has taken her passion for singing to new heights with a coveted opera internship at Prague Summer Nights (PSN).
Prague Summer Nights puts on performances of major operatic works and hosts various concerts throughout the summer in the Czech Republic. Students in the program this summer, O’Connor among them, will perform in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and in PSN’s concert series.
O’Connor, a music and financial economics double major, first heard about PSN’s internship program from Mark Kano, adjunct instructor of voice at Centre.
“He told me it would be a wonderful opportunity just to apply,” O’Connor explains. “As such, I prepared the required repertoire for my audition: an aria from our main stage opera (Don Giovanni), another aria in a contrasting style and a jazz standard in English.”
Live auditions for the program are held across the world and O’Connor attended those held at the University of Kentucky. Just a few months later, she found out she had been accepted to PSN.
Since joining the program, O’Connor’s daily routine has been anything but ordinary. On any given day she will have several coachings and lessons on her music for PSN’s next concert. These lessons are housed in different buildings around the city; so far, she’s been to Prague’s National Theatre and three different music schools for her instruction.
In addition to receiving world-class vocal training, O’Connor will perform at several iconic locations while in Prague.
“So far, I’ve been in an art song recital held in Antonín Dvořák’s home, the Opera Scenes concert in the Lichtenstein Palace, a cabaret held at the Jazz Dock, Don Giovanni in the Estates Theatre where it premiered and Puccini’s Suor Angelica in the Church of St. Simon and Jude,” she says.
O’Connor believes that both her voice lessons and her classes prepared her well for the experience.
“I’m the youngest singer in this program, and as such I sometimes feel like I’m just barely staying afloat among all of these professionals, but my time in Centre’s music department has definitely helped me earn my place among my peers at PSN,” she says. “If not for my classes and lessons at Centre, I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with half of our conversations.”
O’Connor hopes that her time in Prague will help improve her performance technique “both physically and musically” and provide new insights into what she’s learned in class about music and music history.
“That way, when I’m back at Centre I can be the best musician and performer that I can be,” she concludes.
by Hayley Hoffman ‘16
July 2, 2015