On The Spotlight

Prof. Ferrer represents the Philippines in Oberlin in Italy

By Rommel Gojo 

On November 11, 2016 at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium of the UP College of Music, Prof. Alegria Ferrer -- voice faculty and former chair of the Department of Voice, Music Theater, and Dance -- completed part of the exit requirements of the grant she received from the UP Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA). Prof. Ferrer spearheaded a culminating activity where selected voice majors did some of the opera scenes she directed in the Oberlin in Italy program and in De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde. This event was the product of the two workshops on vocal coaching and stage movement which she conducted using the techniques she had observed in Italy.

Oberlin in Italy is a comprehensive Italian opera training program for singers, pianists, instrumentalists, conductors, stage directors, and design and production artists coming from different parts of the world. The participants get a hands-on experience working with world renowned professionals in the industry and produce outputs on a professional level in a location where the opera originated.

Among the international delegates, Prof. Ferrer was the only Filipino who attended the Oberlin program from June 28 to August 10, 2016. She went to Italy to observe as an apprentice, to receive coaching on stage direction, but to her surprise she said she was accorded the status of a faculty/director, was given a free hand in coaching the participants and working with the orchestra, and was presented with the mentors. Among She was assigned to be assistant stage manager of the opera L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) by Claudio Monteverdi and director for Alcina by G.F. Handel among others.

 She had a full and busy schedule during the program. Out of the 64 young opera singers from 22 different colleges and conservatories, she had the opportunity to direct 21 emerging opera singers and to work at the famous opera venues Teatro Petrarca Italy (the same venue where the world renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers performed) and Piazza Della Badia. Due to her busy schedule, she was not able to attend the curtain call of an opera production because she had to run from Teatro Petrarca to Piazza Della Badia for another tech rehearsal. Last October 22, Prof. Ferrer was invited by the city government of Vigan to be the speaker of the workshop “Introduction to Theater” at the 2016 World Costume Festival there.