Chelsea is an opera singer, piano and vocal instructor who came to us in 2016. She has just concluded a run of 11 shows at the Sarasota Opera Florida, where she was cast as Frasquita in the beloved Carmen. After relocating for an intense month of rehearsals and thrilling stage experience, she shared the following highlights: the opportunity to dance in the opening scene, the chance to play a peasant character since she's tall and usually type cast as a noble, and the friendships made with other leads in the production. "We are fantastic friends in real life, so the chemistry translates well to the stage," Chelsea shared, happily adding that "We get to be sassy."
A significant inspiration in Chelsea's early years came while watching La Traviata on PBS. She described how "The lights and costumes, seeing the orchestra play, and hearing emotions portrayed audibly where I could never express them in words" made a deep impression. "Given the chance," she said, "I couldn't imagine doing anything else."
Chelsea also receives inspiration from her students! While she couldn't think of one who inspired her in particular, because they are all so wonderful, a project that has been especially memorable lately is Kieran Tierney's dedication to working up "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Mis. She explained that Kieran was "intimidated by it at first," but doing beautifully before Chelsea left for Florida. She was very proud of Kieran for tackling something challenging, and excitedly awaited the chance to hear further progress upon her return from Florida. (In Chelsea's absence, her studio studied under substitutes from the Blue Feather team.)
The value Chelsea seeks to impart to her students "first and foremost is practice." "Only practice on the days you eat," she tells them, "and that is how a great musician is born. After that practice, go into performance and let it all go."
Chelsea's plans on the horizon? "In 5 years I hope to continue teaching and playing small roles around the country. In 10 years, I hope to be singing in the major opera houses around the world." Though she is sticking with Bel Canto literature for now, she says, her voice is maturing into a dramatic coloratura. Dream roles include "Lucia" in Lucia d' lammermoore, and Violette in La Traviatta. The intense themes capture her creative imagination, and she plans to fully embrace the "blood stained wedding dress and death by consumption" and all.
Blue Feather feels incredibly privileged to have Chelsea on our team. We share her with the NOVA community proudly, and excitedly await her students' upcoming performances in our June 2 recital. Stay tuned for our next teacher highlight!
A fun fact about Chelsea: She shared a stage with Beyonce at Obama's 2nd inauguration while performing with the Lee University Centennial choir. When she was featured in a solo, she even got to use the same mic as the pop legend, who was standing just yards away from her.