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Watch and Listen: AVA Resident Artists Preview Roméo et Juliette Live from WRTI's Performance Studio

Listen to seven resident artists from the Academy of Vocal Arts serenade us with music from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, live from the WRTI Performance Studio. WRTI's Susan Lewis is host.

AVA presents fully staged performances of the opera on Saturday, May 4 at Central Bucks High School, 7:30 PM, and Tuesday, May 7 at Haverford School's Centennial Hall, 7:30 PM.

Program for WRTI Broadcast:

Duet: “Ô nuit divine”
Juliette: Aubry Ballarò
Roméo: Matthew White

Susan Lewis (far left) with AVA resident artists

Romeo is in the garden outside Juliette's balcony. Even though they have found out that they are from rival families, they declare their love for each other.  Juliette's nurse calls her inside, leading to an extended goodbye.

Trio and Quartet: marriage scene   
Frère Laurent:  Brent Michael Smith
Juliette: Aubry Ballarò
Roméo: Roy Hage
Gertrude: Alice Chung

Friar Laurence performs a solemn marriage ceremony in secret, with Juliet's nurse Gertrude standing guard.  The scene ends with a short quartet in which the four characters express their joy at the wedding.

Aria: Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle  
Stephano: Gabriella Flores/Chelsea Laggan

Stephano, a page from the Montaigu family, sings a song outside the Capulet house, tauntingly asking how a nest of vultures could harbor a turtle dove such as Juliette.  This is a “pants role”, in which a woman (in this case, a mezzo-soprano), plays the part of a boy or man.

Potion Aria:
Juliette: Aubry Ballarò

Juliette desperately wants to escape from the arranged marriage her family is planning for her.  Friar Laurence has given Juliette a potion which will make her appear to be dead.  In one day's time, after her body has been placed in the family crypt, the potion should wear off, Romeo will meet her there, and they will run away to a new life together. Except that Romeo never gets the memo.  In this aria, Juliet gathers her courage and drinks the potion.


Aubry Ballarò, soprano, first-year  resident artist at AVA from Bryan, Ohio.
Roy Hage, tenor, third-year resident artist at AVA from Beirut, Lebanon.  
Matthew White, tenor, fourth-year resident artist at AVA from New Market, Virginia.
Gabriela Flores, mezzo-soprano, second-year resident artist at AVA  from Veracruz, Mexico
Chelsea Laggan, mezzo-soprano, first-year resident artist at AVA  from Holland, PA
Alice Chung, mezzo-soprano, first-year resident artist at AVA from Loma Linda, California.
Brent Michael Smith, Bass, second-year resident artist at AVA from Owosso, Michigan.
Elise Auerbach, pianist, on staff at AVA
Steven Mosteller, conductor, guest conductor for this production

Read bios of resident artists here.

For more than 75 years, gifted singers have come from throughout the world to seek the exceptional guidance and training that the Academy of Vocal Arts offers. Admission into AVA’s four-year program is highly competitive, with approximately 30 singers enrolled in any given year. Those who are accepted are immersed in an intensive performance program led by some of the most dedicated and inspired teachers and creative artists in the world of opera.

Today, AVA is the only tuition-free institution dedicated exclusively to the study of voice. When singers leave AVA, they are prepared to share their gifts with audiences of the world, fulfilling not only their own hopes and dreams, but those of AVA’s wise and generous founder.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.