Rossini’s melodies create the perfect atmosphere for the ever-popular “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (“The Barber of Seville”). The farce makes use of outrageous scheming, hilarious disguises, and the vocal talent of Academy of Vocal Arts award-winning resident artists.
Boston District winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions Chrystal E. Williams appears as Rosina. Williams will be singing the role on Nov. 13 at Centennial Hall in Haverford, and again on Nov. 17 at Central Bucks South High School in Warrington.
“I see Rosina as a spicy, very intelligent and witty character,” said Williams, now in her third year at AVA. “Nothing ever bothers her to the point where she gives up, and yet she’s also very naive in that she has knowledge but lacks experience.”
Williams says people have often seen her that way. “People consider me mature for my age, but I also lack experience, so in that way I can relate to Rosina, making it an easy and fun role to play.”
The play follows a traditional Commedia dell’arte structure, with many characters seemingly based on famous stock characters. The plot involves a Spanish count who has fallen in love at first sight with a girl named Rosina. To ensure that she really loves him and not just his money, the count disguises himself as a poor college student named Lindor, and attempts to woo her. After much action, and not to give too much away, suffice it to say that the story culminates in the marriage of the count and Rosina.
Williams, a native of Virginia, didn’t always plan a career in opera. In fact, her major goal was to do something working with and helping people. But in the seventh grade, she was lucky enough to audition for and be accepted into the Governor’s School for the Arts, something that was to ultimately change her life forever.
“One year we took a trip to New York and the Met. I fell in love with what I saw and heard and longed to become an opera singer,” Williams recalled.
And yet, she wondered, how would she still be able to complete her goal of helping others? And that’s when one of her teachers told her she could help many through her music. Since then, she has managed to do just that.
She earned a degree in opera performance from the Yale University School of Music, and another degree in vocal performance from Carnegie Mellon University. Many awards and achievements would come her way, including regional winner of the National Association of Negro Musicians Inc. in 2011, second place in the 2010 Washington International Competit8ion for Voice, and the 2009 New England region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Additionally, Williams was featured as a soloist in both St. Matthew Passion with the American Classical Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
“I’m happy to have a career in opera, where the color of one’s skin is beginning to matter less and less,” Williams said. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have more to go. We’re not where we need to be yet, and so I think it’s always important to be at the top of our game. My parents always encouraged me to do something well or not do it at all. And I think everyone should live their life the same way.”
For more information, call (215) 735-1685.