Some people probably see the opera as an opportunity to have the best nap in a forbidden place. For the musical theater world, though, it’s a prestigious art form not to be taken lightly. And soprano Brittany Ann Robinson is among the young people that the Florida Grand Opera (FGO) is so fond of nurtiring into a successful career.
“At the core of Florida Grand Opera’s mission,” says the FGO Web site, “is a commitment to training emerging opera professionals and educating young people about opera while embracing the diverse cultural heritage of the South Florida community.”
Robinson, who understudied in Tales of Hoffman for world-renowned singer and FGO veteran Elizabeth Futral, is a member of FGO’s Young Artists Program for the 2010-2011 season. The native of Minneapolis and resident of Denver is ecstatic about being in the sprawling metropolis of Miami and adding to her music portfolio.
“I started taking voice lessons on the side as a hobby and so when it came down to the whole figuring out the college process and where to go from there, I went to Peabody Conservatory Prep at Johns Hopkins University and just fell in love with opera,” said Robinson, a 2005 graduate of the school. “Since then, I’ve just started really fine-tuning my craft, fine-tuning the whole classical technique a bit.”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Robinson returned to the Peabody Conservatory in 2007 to study for a graduate Performance degree. From there, she went on to study with respected singers such as Phyllis Bryn-Julson and Martiele Rowland of Colorado Springs.
This month, Robinson can be seen at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami as Zerlina in FGO’s Don Giovanni in her first performing role for the local company.
Robinson, who studied Italian, German, and French at Peabody, has toured the U.S., as well as Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Of the few roles that she has performed professionally, her favorite is Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti.
“She’s such a crazy character to the point where she starts off already slightly mad and rushes through the opera falling in and falling out of love to an extent and going completely bonkers. That’s fun,” Robinson said, laughing.
Robinson performed as Lucia in 2007 during the Summer Festival for Theatre of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colo. Her first professional performance was as The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute for the Theatre of the Rockies in 2010. She doesn’t yet consider herself a professional opera singer.
“I have a lot more to learn from the great stars I’ve been working with, as well as from my own colleagues,” said Robinson, whose career goal is to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
But, she added, “I definitely do not want to have just an American-based career. I’d love to go internationally with my own successes and kind of branch off from there.”
When not honing her skills and learning what she can from veteran opera singers, Robinson spends time with friends in the Young Artist Program, exploring the sites of South Florida.
When it comes to opera, she wants people to share her enthusiasm.
“Come see Don Giovanni,” she urges Miamians. “I just hope that people will come out and try to understand opera and really give opera a chance.”
Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com
Photo: Brittany Ann Robinson
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The Florida Grand Opera’s Don Giovanni
WHERE: Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
WHEN: April 16-May 3
COST: From $25 to $254
CONTACT: For more information or to purchase tickets, call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org