When Lincoln Academy juniors Jonah Daiute and Ethan Jones report back to school in August, they will have a very interesting answer to the question, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”
The two have been rehearsing since June in the opera chorus of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata which is being produced by Opera Maine at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland on Wednesday, July 26 and Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. The opera is the most often-performed opera in history, with unforgettable music and an emotionally gripping story and all the elements of a great tragic romance.
Both Jonah and Ethan sang in the Mixed Choir at the Maine Music Educators’ All State Festival in May, so they were the perfect pair to recommend when Chorus Master, Dr. Robert Russell, needed a couple more tenors to fill out the opera chorus. Jonah said that “it was by sheer luck that this opportunity fell into my lap. Ms. Preston told me about this and having absolutely no experience being in an opera I saw the decision to be quite clear. With every note I am reminded that I made the right decision!” And likewise, Ethan said,“It’s an honor to have been given the chance to perform with Opera Maine in La Traviata. It has been an amazing experience.” They are working with two renowned figures in the opera world, Dona D. Vaughn (Artistic Director of Opera Maine and Director of Opera at the Manhattan School of Music) and Maestro Stephen Lord (Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Michigan Opera Theatre).
“These guys are not only talented singers, they have a strong work ethic which makes it possible for them to learn this opera score in Italian,” says their voice teacher, Beth Preston. This fall they will sing leading roles in Lincoln Academy and Heartwood Regional Theater Company’s production of West Side Story. Ethan will play the part of one of the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Jonah will play the leader of the Jets and Tony’s best friend, Riff. They will also compete at the Maine National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Musical Theater Festival at Bates College in November. Both are members of the Lincoln Academy Lincolnaires.