The Pel Mel

Tenor Matthew Polenzani Teaches Master Class to PMHS Chorus

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Tenor Matthew Polenzani Teaches Master Class to PMHS Chorus

Senior Athena Woodfin rehearses alongside Matthew Polenzani.

Senior Athena Woodfin rehearses alongside Matthew Polenzani.

Mrs. Abeshouse

Senior Athena Woodfin rehearses alongside Matthew Polenzani.

Mrs. Abeshouse

Mrs. Abeshouse

Senior Athena Woodfin rehearses alongside Matthew Polenzani.

Lucy Edmunds, Sophomore, Photography Editor

Fellow Pelhamite and opera singer Matthew Polenzani recently visited the PMHS chamber chorus for a master class. The class consisted of a student performance after which Polenzani provided advice or commentary while others observed. At this master class, senior Athena Woodfin, who is training in opera at Juilliard, sang an aria from L’elisir D’Amore by Donizetti entitled Prendi Per Me Sei Libero.

Polenzani is a tenor who travels across the United States accompanied by his personal pianist. Many well-known conductors, including Pierre Boulez, have sought Polenzani out for specific parts, the most recent of which was his role in Mozart’s Idomeneo, for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is also the recipient of the 2017 Opera News Award.

Working with Polenzani was especially gratifying given that he is one of Athena’s role models. She has seen him perform at the Metropolitan Opera.

“He was able to pinpoint things I struggle with the most in my singing,” Woodfin said.

This is one of several opportunities the music department has provided to students to work with professionals in the arts, including Ursula Seymour, who last year worked with the Acapelicans to arrange songs, and Sean Newell, who this year worked with the jazz band. Having the opportunity to work with professional musicians allows students to hone their craft beyond the traditional classroom experience.

“He truly helped me learn how to interpret the song in a unique way to help me stand out amongst other singers,” Woodfin said.

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Tenor Matthew Polenzani Teaches Master Class to PMHS Chorus