Friday, May 4, 2012

It's DVR time: HBO to present "Renée Fleming: A YoungArts MasterClass"

Fleming instructs Lei Xu in a Master Class at Juilliard.
Get your DVRs ready, Chiclets...

RENÉE FLEMING: A YoungArts MasterClass, is set to air on HBO on May 28, 2012 at 6:00pm. The Special Presentation will inaugurate the second year of the acclaimed Emmy-nominated program, which premiered last season on HBO.

I know! HBO?

Anyway, YoungArts MasterClass presents world-class creative artists who share their art and life experiences with small groups of young artists who represent a new generation of American talent. Each edition of the program highlights the importance of mentorship, which resonates in the arts and beyond, allowing this new generation of young artists to meet and work with legends, like Renée Fleming, in the fields they aspire to pursue.

In this special half-hour presentation, Ms. Fleming mentors four talented young singers at her alma mater, Juilliard, and - get ready - at her *apartment*.

Let's just pause for a second. La Diva Renée's apartment? Don't you wanna get up in there just to see what it's like? I want to know what sister has up in her pantry ... chances are: probably not Ho Hos or anything like that.

Dang. I love Ho Hos.

PS, You can always tell when Yours Truly hasn't had much lunch by one of two signs: A. My thoughts ramble. Or B. Everything gets referenced back to food.

Okay, okay. Back to YoungArts MasterClass. After the apartment and the Ho Hos, the students attend a rehearsal at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center where the four young singers are the sole audience, following along the rehearsal with their music and then taking the stage with Ms. Fleming to learn about the nuances of rehearsal. The young artists also travel to meet Ms. Fleming at the Lyric Opera of Chicago where she serves as Creative Consultant.

It is so much to get through in 30 minutes ... I do hope HBO edited wisely!

Get this, La Diva Renée personally selected the four students from amongst numerous classical voice winners from YoungArts, the nation’s premier organization recognizing and supporting young artists. They include Sean Plumb from Los Angeles, attending the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; Chrystal Vanrell from Huntsville, Alabama, attending the Mannes School of Music in New York City; Aaron Casey from Houston and enrolled at the University of Houston; and, Samantha Hankey of Natick, Massachusetts, attending Juilliard in New York City.

“Anybody can sing. But to bring singing to the level that’s required of the classically trained singer is a whole different thing. I think it’s such an emotional art form, and the most difficult to get right, but when it’s right, it’s overwhelmingly good. It’s cathartic,” Ms. Fleming stated. “It was wonderful focusing on these very gifted young singers from YoungArts, who really impressed me with their level of passion and desire. The path they’re on is arduous, to bring singing up to the level that’s required—but they’re definitely well on their way. I really hope they realize the dream.”

Additional upcoming specials of YoungArts MasterClass will feature such legendary artists as actress Patti LuPone, playwright John Guare, musician Bobby McFerrin, painter James Rosenquist and photographer Bruce Weber among others. In last season’s first presentation of YoungArts MasterClass, the mentors included tenor Plácido Domingo, actress/director Liv Ullmann, architect Frank Gehry, choreographer Bill T. Jones, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, artist Olafur Eliasson, playwright Edward Albee, choreographer Jacques D’Amboise, and artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel.

YoungArts is the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) and signature national program that recognizes and supports America’s most talented young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts. The organization’s mission is to identify emerging artists, provide educational enrichment and assistance in their pursuit of the arts, and to raise the appreciation for and support of the arts in American society. The program identifies the next generation of emerging artists and contributes to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development ofthousands of gifted artists in nine disciplines in the visual, literary andperforming arts. At the request of The Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts is the exclusive path to the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

The YoungArts program has honored more than 16,000 young artists with more than $6 million in monetary awards and facilitated in excess of $100 million in college scholarship opportunities. Alumni go on to become leading professionals in their fields and include actresses Vanessa Williams and Kerry Washington, four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore, recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young, musician Jennifer Koh, choreographer Desmond Richardson, and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken.

Now... I've gotta run and grab some food. And, call DirecTV to subscribe to HBO.

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