Students enjoying “Music Monday” in the Student Union heard more than the familiar sounds of the Union’s piano, thanks to the Student Opera Club.
About 15 members of the club surprised unsuspecting students with a flash mob, performing their rendition of “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici”, from the opera “La Traviata.”
“The Student Opera Club has always kind of existed but no one has ever done anything with it,” President of the Student Opera Club Daniel Johanson said. Johanson helped organize the flash mob because he wanted to make the school aware that the Student Opera Club exists while showing that opera is not highbrow or elitist.
“I’ve been doing opera for a while and a common stereotype is a certain kind of person is in to it,” Johanson said. “I want to make opera more accessible.”
The performance was about four minutes long and featured 8 solos, all singing the famous Italian melody. The Student Opera Club has been planning the event throughout the semester at their meetings, which occur twice a week. The organization has about 32 members, and to adapt to music majors’ busy schedules they meet on Mondays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. in room M16 of the music building.
“A lot of music majors are very busy so it’s hard to get everyone’s schedule together,” Johanson said. Johanson is taking just nine credit hours this semester, however he is constantly busy between taking classes, leading the Opera club, and singing in both the Florida Opera Theater and at local churches. Vice President India Holoman, a music performance major, also adheres to a busy schedule, but she says her dedication to music is a labor of love.
“I love this major. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy in school,” she said. Holoman said that operas have exciting plotlines that students may find entertaining. “When I tell people I sing classical music they say, ‘what?’” Holoman said. “I don’t think people realize opera can be very, very funny.”
It is also intense. Holoman referenced the opera “Don Giovanni”, which begins with the title character raping a woman and killing her father, all in the first scene. These plotlines may be hard to pick up on when performed in Italian, and Opera students take Italian and diction courses to learn to properly sing the language.
For Tamra Pristou-Globokar, the self-described “super-senior” prefers to keep her interest in music as a hobby. Pristou-Globokar is a digital media major who joined the club this semester.
“It’s the flash mob that got me into the club,” she said. Pristou-Globokar played the trumpet for the UCF Marching Knights for four years, but after leaving the band she joined the opera club to indulge her interest in music. Nickolaus Hofmann, a music education major, also fulfills his interest in opera music, which he considers beautiful singing. Hofmann recommends that students use music applications like Spotify to listen to classical music.
“They get scared by it,” Hofmann said. “If people are more brave they can give it a chance.”