WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2013/2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/210435

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Page 95 of 211

Opera Singers in Our Midst ANTHONY MONGIELLO Ames at Rivers Music School. Many will remember Lawrence from his roles in musicals at Weston Middle and High Schools. Lawrence also participated in choral music in the Weston schools. His most memorable performance was the baritone solo in the Fauré Requiem, assigned to him by choir conductor Therese Provenzano. The chorus toured the piece to St. Peter's Church near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. He says, "9/11 was still very fresh, and it was a powerful experience emotionally and artistically." During a performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, Lawrence had his first direct exposure to opera singing. The baritone soloist Arturo Chacon-Cruz was a student at the Boston University Opera Institute and Lawrence was, in his words, blown away by his voice. "I knew when I heard him that I wanted to sound like that, or at least try to!" Provenzano arranged for Lawrence to have a lesson with ChaconCruz. Lawrence recalls the pivotal moment. "He immediately changed my technique to the throat position, relaxed and low, that would release my sound. Out it came!" Chacon-Cruz told Lawrence that he could make a career of opera, and the high school senior began the process of auditioning for university opera programs. Hitting the High Note Wellesley's coloratura soprano Joanna Mongiardo sings to international acclaim from Geneva to Shanghai, and from Lincoln Center to Mexico City. Like Lawrence, Mongiardo can't remember a time when she wasn't singing. Her parents loved Broadway musicals, and from their hometown in New Jersey they could easily reach Broadway. From the time she was five, Mongiardo accompanied her parents to the the- We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 3 / 2 0 1 4 ater, where she sat at the edge of her seat. After school she played favorite recordings like Annie and Evita and sang along at the top of her lungs. Mongiardo attended the Performing Arts Elementary School in Montclair, New Jersey, a magnet program where she appeared in school productions and in community theater. She studied piano and Lawrence 94 ballet. In a community theater production of The Sound of Music

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