MORE Opera focuses on diversity in programming and casting as well as broadening audiences through outreach, education, and training. MORE Opera is a division of ADVANCE (The Association for the Development of Vocal Artistry and Neighborhood Cultural Enrichment), a community-based, non-profit vocal arts organization, setting new standards in musical programming and arts education in New York City.
Cheryl Warfield, Founder
Soprano Cheryl Warfield has performed over 15 lead roles in the standard operatic repertoire during her career, including the title roles of Tosca, Aida and La Gioconda. Cheryl made her European operatic debut as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tute with the Rome Festival Orchestra. Career highlights include her Broadway debut in Hal Prince’s Show Boat, critical acclaim from the Chicago Tribune for the portrayal of Strawberry Woman in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Porgy and Bess, and guest soloist appearances at NHL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Canton, Ohio and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Cheryl’s cabaret-style appearances include performances at the Triad on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and holiday and special performances at numerous restaurants in Little Italy, most recently at the Enrico Caruso room at the Grotta Azzura Restaurant. She has been featured at Opera Night at the San Gennaro Festival, the annual Little Italy Christmas tree lighting, holiday performances at the Barclay Intercontinental Hotel, and at Opera Night in Oyster Bay Long Island.
Cheryl is a member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity and has appeared on the Tony Awards, the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast DVDs of the Metropolitan Opera’s productions of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Fidelio, and in episodes of The Good Wife, and Are We There Yet? on television.
Cheryl is the founder of ADVANCE, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community based vocal arts organization that produces concerts and educational programs promoting the understanding and appreciation of classical music and opera and is a 2012 recipient of a Manhattan Community Arts Fund (MCAF) grant to produce “Black History Month Extravaganza,” a musical perspective on African American opera singers past and present. Cheryl is also a teaching artist in New York City where she introduces pre-K through 12th grade school children to opera and chorus singing.
ADVANCE/MORE Opera Community Chorus Training Program
ADVANCE has trained community residents to participate in its professional level musical performances since 1989. In 2002 ADVANCE’s opera producing arm, MORE Opera began preparing a community chorus to perform in concert with professional opera artists, trained by recognized arts educators and experts in opera and performance.
The training program allows participants to explore the transformative world of opera through professional level experiences in rehearsal and performance, to develop musicianship, learn about vocal technique, repertoire, and style, and performance practices. The chorus rehearses one or two times per week for six weeks prior to a performance. The singers practice in a calm and engaging rehearsal environment, and extra rehearsal time and sectionals are provided to non-readers and others who may need additional preparation. All participants are fully and sufficiently rehearsed and prepared for performance. Rehearsals are conducted by Metropolitan Opera Baritone Richard Hobson and musical director Ming Kwong. Cheryl Warfield gives sectionals and individual coaching to participants who are new to opera.
Participation is open to all, with or without previous opera or choral experience who love to sing, have an interest in or curiosity about opera and desire to work together to achieve excellence in performing grand opera. The chorus is comprised of approximately 50 singers from diverse backgrounds, including music students, emerging artists, theatre performers, and community members of different ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds and disciplines. New participants are accepted with each opera project via an audition that consists of the singer’s choice of song in any style or language, vocalization to determine voice type/placement and a short conversation about background and interest in opera. Participants audition only once for the chorus, but may be asked to audition again for consideration for small roles or special ensembles.
Among the chorus activities for 2013-14 are outreach performances of Verdi’s AIDA, participation in vocal master classes conducted by Richard Hobson and Maestro Anton Coppola, and a gala concert performance of Puccini’s Tosca with orchestra that also includes a children’s chorus which will receive the same training.