Opera may seem like a feat most people never dare to conquer, but senior Bailey Quade has dedicated her future career to mastering the art.
Quade spent her summer discovering where her future as an opera vocalist will take her, performing at two Opera Young Artists programs in California and Texas.
Developing her techniques as a vocalist was just a small part of the training Quade took part in over her summer programs. Sessions ranging from language and diction to blocking and performance masterclasses help to hone in singers’ talents and prepare them for their careers in opera, Quade said.
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Quade began her college career with a desire to perform, but had to decide between a musical theater or vocal performance major.
“I knew I enjoyed singing all different kinds of music, not just musical theater,” Quade said.
Now a vocal performance major, she worked closely with associate professor Tracelyn Gesteland to prepare for the audition process for the summer programs.
“We chose the music, made audition videos and created a performance resume,” Gesteland said. “The fact that she was accepted to two programs speaks highly of Bailey’s current abilities and potential for success in the future.”
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Quade said she enjoyed her time at both Young Artists programs, but said she pulled more professional experience out of her time in California. Full days starting before 7 a.m. with few breaks made the program rigorous and rewarding.
“The aria nights were my favorite part of the experience,” Quade said. “We all got to dress up in the big dresses or fancy suits and sing.”
The program in Texas lasted a month as the students worked on three different productions. Quade said the workshop wasn’t as challenging but was still fun.
Gesteland said the Young Artist program gives students opportunities outside the classroom where they can glimpse into what a career in opera looks like.
“Young Artist programs can play an important part in enhancing the education that singers receive in university programs and also serve as a bridge to being a young professional,” Gesteland said.
Quade is focusing her last undergraduate year at USD on finding the next step in her career. Since voices do not fully mature until a person’s mid-20s, Quade said
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“I don’t really know where I am going, but I know I love opera and I think [opera] is only something a few people can do,” Quade said. “I didn’t think my voice could do the things that it can do now. It was a lot of self-discovery and realizing what I can do with my passion.”