“Playing this character was fun. I had to memorize the music and the lyrics, but I got the chance to stretch my comedic muscles. We had fun putting it together,” said Oliver who typically plays more serious opera characters.
“IL Matrimonio’s” run is the culmination of an intense period of training for Oliver, Muhammad and the other members of the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Program.
“The training regimen we provide for our resident artists is exhausting and tests their commitment to the art form,” said Pittsburgh Opera General Manager Christopher Hahn. “Private coaching sessions with resident music staff are complemented by rehearsals for roles in main stage productions, sessions with guest instructors and distinguished artists and an extensive calendar of public and private concerts, recitals and outreach performances. By the end of a two-year residency, our Resident Artists are ready to begin competing for work on stages around the world.”
Muhammad is in her first year with the program while Oliver is a second-year resident.
“You learn from others what makes them successful and how to conduct yourself as a professional,” Oliver said.
“This program helps you navigate this opera lifestyle,” said Muhammad. “I’m living a dream. You get paid to play, and you find out what it takes to be successful and happy.”