Timothy Lupia and Dylan Tobias Take the Stage at Opera Viva

Timothy Lupia poses in Verona, Italy at "Opera Viva!"

Three weeks in Verona, Italy, learning from international opera instructors and performers was a dream come true for Timothy Lupia ’16 and Dylan Tobias ’16. “Opera Viva!” also served to reaffirm their chosen career paths.

Thanks to the generosity of the Arnold Grant program, the pair studied Italian opera and language, as well as how to prepare concert repertoire in a master class. They also traveled to several opera houses to see various performances.

Lupia and Tobias learned about the opportunity through Dr. Mark Mecham, professor emeritus of music, who had a friend visiting campus that teaches at “Opera Viva!,” and who invited them to audition. 

“I looked at this as a way to answer ‘Is this what I want to do with my life,’ as well as a month-long vacation,” said Tobias, who spent a week in Venice traveling before he arrived for the institute. 

During those three weeks, their class time included the process for learning an opera scene and the importance of proper translation before you start to sing. Lupia and Tobias had taken a year of Italian, but said “Opera Viva!” provided a baptism by fire with a complete immersion in the language.

“You really have to prepare yourself more than you think,” said Lupia. “The music doesn’t come to you overnight. Looking at the English translations and emotions of an aria will take you much farther than if you take a stab in the dark.”

The students had a chance to see success in person, visiting numerous opera houses for performances. Comparing Europeans’ interest in opera to the way we treat Broadway shows, Tobias said L’Arena di Verona, a natural amphitheater built in the year 10, was among the highlights. 

“It’s amazing not only that it still exists, but that it’s still being used for opera,” said Tobias.

Both students appreciate the opportunity they were given and have told other LVC students about “Opera Viva!,” even those who aren’t planning a career in that field. 

“If you are interested in any type of theatre or singing, the way they teach you, you can pull pieces and apply it to help improve your performance abilities,” said Lupia.

Lupia and Tobias are utilizing their newfound skills as they finish out their final year at The Valley and plan for the future.

Lupia, who is majoring in music and economics, plans to take a year off and work or travel before enrolling in graduate school.

Tobias, who will graduate with a degree in music, plans to continue his education in graduate school by studying either vocal performance or pedagogy and performance, which would enable him to combine his love of performing and teaching voice lessons.