I can't watch this lovely young company without feeling proud. Young Artists of America (YAA) was founded in 2010 as a nonprofit aimed at bringing together the best local talent and providing young musicians with first-rate experience and mentoring.
Last year they brought down the house with a fully staged Phantom of the Opera, selling out thousands of seats and winning multiple awards. This year YAA joins the extraordinary Maryland Classical Youth Orchestra (MCYO) for a semi-staged concert combining Madama Butterfly and Miss Saigon, similar Asian-American stories with very different scores, set roughly a century apart.
The talent here is breathtaking: These 140 artists are mostly 10th through 12th graders from local high schools in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. But here's one of the best parts: YAA founders Kristofer and Rolando Sanz grew up in our own backyard, graduated from Good Counsel, and returned here to work and raise their families.
Rolando is a rising opera star—he's also singing the National Anthem at the Orioles' season opener in April—and Kris teaches orchestra at Churchill High School. Alan Paul of the Shakespeare Theatre directs. They aren't just brilliant artists: They're also wonderful role models. The performing arts world needs more mentors of this calibre.
You won't find anything much better on Broadway, and you'll definitely spot some future Broadway and West End stars. So here are the details:
WHAT: YAA & MCYO Perform Madama Butterfly and Miss Saigon, Sunday, March 10, 2013, at 4 p.m. at Music Center at Strathmore
This performance brings together two iconic scores that tell parallel stories—about an orphaned girl who falls in love with a U.S. soldier and sacrifices her life so that their child can grow up in America. This semi-staged and fully costumed performance unfolds on the concert stage at The Music Center at Strathmore, featuring the MCYO Philharmonic Orchestra, made up of 85 of the best student instrumentalists from the Metro DC area, and 50 student and professional vocalists from Young Artists of America. The production will be directed by Shakespeare Theater’s Alan Paul.
No photography or recording is permitted due to copyright laws. A videographer will record the show. DVDs can be ordered the day of show at sales table in promenade lobby.