Behind the Screen with Bel Canto Boot Camp: The Singer’s Process; The Big Debut with Megan Esther Grey - Guild Hall
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Behind the Screen with Bel Canto Boot Camp: The Singer’s Process
The Big Debut with Megan Esther Grey

Event Category:
Thursday, April 15
Registration: Pay What You Can ($5 - $35) 
FREE for Opera Donors 


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Bel Canto Boot Camp (BCBC) presents interactive sessions in collaboration with Guild Hall of East Hampton, uniting singers from the MET Stage, the Guild Hall audience, and the golden voices of the past.  

Join BCBC co-founders, Rachelle Jonck and Derrick Goff, for a discussion with three emerging singers as they share their experiences of preparing, rehearsing, and performing on the MET Stage — and hear them sing! Steven Tharp, tenor and presenter of BCBC’s  Audiophile Society, then guides our ears by sharing his favorite recordings of these great masterworks in BCBC’s interactive Zoom format, connecting the contemporary experience to past performance. 

Mezzo-soprano and former MET Lindemann Young Artist Megan Esther Grey joins BCBC and Guild Hall to discuss her experience singing many performances of Kate Pinkerton on the MET stage and on the HD broadcast, all while covering (understudying) the influential role of Suzuki, Butterfly’s maid and confidante. 

Produced as part of Met Under Moonlight: Madama Butterfly – Live in HD Encore

  • Rachelle Jonck

    Rachelle Jonck

    Rachelle Jonck is a South Africa-born coach/pianist/conductor based in New York City. She is the Principal Coach of Teatro Nuovo and teaches at Westminster Choir College. Above all these her first love is her private coaching studio. While her main field of study is bel canto, she often explores the wider applications of its principles in other styles and languages. Last summer she led Rossini’s La gazza ladra at the Rose Theater from the fortepiano as part of Teatro Nuovo’s 2019 season. She received an honorable mention in the Conducting Category of the Annual Excellence in Opera Awards (aka a Freddie). She was amazed that she made it onto quite the illustrious list of conductors while sitting down and not conducting. She is technologically challenged so this entire endeavor is basically a miracle brought about by an amazing team of people – she can take no credit for anything making it all the way from her brain to computer and phone screens around the globe! If she is not busy with Bel Canto Boot Camp she is doing Kinstretch® or cooking her way through her favorite cookbooks.

  • Derrick Goff

    Derrick Goff is an alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and will return to the MET music staff as an Assistant Chorusmaster next season.  Derrick has recently accompanied art song recitals at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in New York and at Caramoor. He has enjoyed many years of collaboration with Rachelle and Will Crutchfield at Teatro Nuovo, a continuation of the young artist program of Bel Canto at Caramoor, where he is resident as a coach, chorusmaster, and Italian teacher. Despite mostly now being paid to play the piano, he holds degrees in organ and voice from Westminster Choir College. Derrick is always looking for something new to learn about a foreign language (сейчас он хочет говорить по-русски) and can often be found with an alarmingly large iced coffee struggling to finish the NYTimes crossword. 

  • Steven Tharp

    Steven Tharp

    Missouri-born tenor Steven Tharp’s operatic credits include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Netherlands Opera, among many other houses. Handel and Mozart are well represented in Mr. Tharp’s repertoire of more than 60 operatic parts, and his keen interest in 18th- and early 19th-century opera has led to many roles in operas of Gluck, Haydn, Scarlatti, Conti, and others. In concert, Mr. Tharp has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, among others. His concert repertoire includes the Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Haydn masterpieces of the 18th and 19th century and extends to Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, the Verdi Requiem, and Britten’s War Requiem. A dedicated song recitalist, Mr. Tharp has appeared at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, venues in Europe, Japan, and South America. His interest in musical theater and cabaret led to his appearance in 3 Tenors in Search of an Act in a sold-out run at Don’t Tell Mama in New York. Steven has recorded for Decca, Delos, Newport, Albany and Naxos, earning a Grammy Award nomination. He has also served as stage director for the Manhattan School of Music and for Caramoor. He lives in Columbia, Missouri with his adorable Westie, Hector, and is Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Missouri. 

  • Megan Esther Grey

    A recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Mezzo Soprano Megan Esther Grey hails from Iowa and is quickly becoming gaining attention in roles large and small across the United States. The 2019-2020 season marked large milestones for Megan, including her Metropolitan Opera debut as Kate Pinkerton in the Anthony Minghella production of Madama Butterfly and appearances as 2nd Lady in Julie Taymor’s Magic Flute. In February she made her recital debut in the prestigious Park Armory Recital Series singing Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and selections from Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf 

    Summer 2020 brings Megan’s return to Wolf Trap Opera. While her appearance as Carolina in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers was canceled due to COVID-19, her involvement with the opera company during this time is filled with the important work of pioneering ways for artists to safely perform during the Coronavirus pandemic. Megan can be seen in the “Into the Woods” project as Fricka in Die Walküre and as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, which will make their online debuts during Fall of 2020. 

    Megan’s summer of 2019 saw rave reviews for her debuts at Wolf Trap Opera as The Drummer in Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Hippocratine in Gluck’s L’Île de Merlin. Having sung “impressively and with notable flexibility” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post), she was also praised while she “demonstrated remarkable calm while projecting power as the island’s doctor… and she showed some good moves coming down the slide” (Opera Gene). Of her appearance as Der Trommler, Opera News remarked, “…Grey sounded like a Wagnerian-in-waiting, her tone steely and secure.”  

    Megan has also made a mark on the West Coast as a participant in the prestigious Merola Opera Program in summer of 2018. Her voice described as “potent and precise” (SFChronicle), she was also lauded for her performances in the Schwabacher Summer Series, especially as her portrayal of Erika from Samuel Barber’s Vanessa. “The rich-toned mezzo-soprano Megan (Esther) Grey had already shown her merits in the opening scene of Barber’s ‘Vanessa,’ shaping the aria ‘Must the winter come so soon’ with a tender expressivity that would have been harder to come by in isolation” (SFGate.) “Then, against all the preceding histrionics, Grey created a hush in the hall with a sensitive, affecting performance of the aria ‘Must the winter come so soon?’” (San Francisco Chronicle.) 

    Distinguished in competition, Megan was a Grand Finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions of 2018, a winner of Opera Index’s Walter’s Award in 2018, 2nd place winner in The Classical Singer competition, 2016 Presser Scholarship recipient, and 2015 winner of the St. Paul Schubert Club’s annual scholarship Competition.  

    Originally from Cedar Falls, Iowa, Megan completed both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the University of Northern Iowa. She began her vocal studies at the age of 16 under the mentorship of Dr. Jean McDonald, who she studied with for both of her degrees at UNI. Originally a cellist, Megan spent most of her undergraduate degree performing in symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles as well as the university’s vocal ensembles. An avid educator, Megan was a graduate teaching assistant in voice during her final year of her MM and is also a registered Suzuki cello instructor for Pretwinkle and cello book one students.

Event Sponsors

Education Programming supported by The Patti Kenner Arts Education Fellowship, Lucy and Steven Cookson, The Hearthland Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and funding from the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Endowment Fund, and The Melville Straus Family Endowment
All Musical Programming supported in part by The Ellen and James S. Marcus Endowment for Musical Programming
The Met Opera simulcasts at Guild Hall are made possible in part through the generosity of: 
Grand Tier: Dr. Ralph Gibson, in memory of Andy Jacobyansky, who generously shared his passion, knowledge and support for the opera, The Ellen and James S. Marcus Endowment for Musical Programming, Howie and Louise Phanstiel, The East Hampton Star, and Norbert Weissberg, in memory of his brother, Dr. Joseph H. Weissberg, a Wagner scholar 
Dress Circle: Maureen Bluedorn, Norma Giorgetti in memory of Mary-Anne Szabaga, Barbara Horgan, Patti Kenner, Alex Laughlin, David Seeler and Ngaere Macray, Maryam K. Seley, and Irene and Sidney Silverman 
Balcony Circle: Gabrielle Bamberger, Harriet Edwards, Jeannette and H. Peter Kriendler Charitable Trust, Laughlin Memorial Library, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Osborne, Stephen F. Patterson in memory of George W. Stewart, Veronica Stephens, Mary Stone, Sandra Thorn, Peter Van Hattum in memory of Harold Simmons 
Family Circle (*Gold): Carolyn and Gioacchino Balducci, Arlene Bujese and Marcel Bally*, Ann and George Davis, Robert F. Luckey*, Pamela and Robert Lund, Marcia Previti and Peter Gumpel*, Cornelia and Lawrence Randolph, Debbie and Alex Walter*, and Jane Wood 
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