The Indianapolis Opera continues plans to renovate the Basile Opera Center, in a former Meridian-Kessler Greek Orthodox Church. Indy native and soprano Angela Brown has performed before national and international audiences and will operate a vocal studio inside the renovated center, where she will teach aspiring singers. She spoke about her teaching plans with WFYI’s Terri Dee.
WFYI Reporter Terri Dee: Can you describe in five words or less how opera has impacted you?
Opera Soprano Angela Brown: Confidence, travel, joy, enlightened -- or enlightenment -- purpose. Opera has impacted me on so many levels. It has given me confidence, it has given me citizenship; to be a good citizen of the world. I've gotten the chance to see the world because of opera. It has shown me that people are people wherever you go. And what my mama told me a long time ago was it costs nothing to be nice. So, it's shown me that I too, can see myself on the stages of the world and an opera. Because when you think of opera, people think of it being an elitist art form that only the rich, and let's be honest, the rich and White can appreciate. But opera is so much more than that. Opera is black and brown people, yellow and red people; it is a melting pot of stories that are interesting. It's about love and war and hate and anger, and all of those things that make up the human experience. So being a part of opera has just helped me to be able to peel that onion of life. And I'm glad that has been a part of my life.
Dee: Describe your role in the growth of the Indianapolis Opera.
Brown: I have a vocal studio that's going to be part of the Basile Opera Center. I'm just excited to have the opportunity to bring my vocal knowledge to the Indianapolis community and to help enlighten and expand some of these minds that want to be enlightened with voice.
Dee: What are you wanting to bring to them? How are you translating to them how opera should feel to them, how opera can be expressive?
Brown: They can bring whatever kind of music they want to bring, it's not just opera, I am going to be helping them develop their actual vocal technique. So however, they want to use that information that they get from me, they can put it in any genre of music. But opera, of course, is something that is near and dear to my heart. And I just want them to know that they too, can sing opera if they choose to. But it will take some work and some dedication to the craft. But it is just a basic vocal studio that I'll be running. I'm very happy to be a part of the campaign that will be a great asset to the community; to have a facility that will be worthy of the Indianapolis community where they can come and enjoy the Basile (Buh-zeal) Opera Center where they'll be light improvements to the building where they can really enjoy the center and come and see good opera come and see other works that may be performed here. Having other community organizations come in and use the facilities. It's just going to be a grand, wonderful thing for the Indianapolis community and I'm very excited about being a part of it.
Dee: Angela, thank you for taking time to speak with me today.
Brown: You're so welcome. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do this.