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Opera singer Diana Farrell returns to region to perform

Date: 3/1/2010

March 1, 2010

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM -- During her time at Minnechaug Regional High School, Diana Farrell only had the opportunity to perform in one musical, "The Sound of Music." Today, singing is not only her passion but her career.

A 2002 graduate of Minnechaug, Farrell said she sang in every choir the school had available, from concert to treble to madrigal to jazz.

"I've always been singing," she said. "I would sing anything. If it had a tune and I could carry it, I loved it."

She brought that love to Westfield State College with her, where she graduated with a bachelor's in music with a concentration in vocal performance. She said she originally wanted to become a music teacher but became "a little selfish" when she started to focus on her instrument -- her voice.

A soprano, Farrell started performing opera music halfway through her undergraduate studies at Westfield State.

"I love opera because each song is a moment in a character's life," she explained.

She went on to earn her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Youngstown State University and an Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Farrell currently resides in Cleveland but will be returning to the region this weekend to perform the role of Rosalinda in "Die Fledermaus" with the Simsbury Light Opera Company in Simsbury, Conn.

"It's been a big challenge finding roles," Farrell explained. "This has been my first big audition season. I've applied for over 30 auditions this year."

She debuted as Contessa Almaviva in the Crested Butte Music Festival's "Le Nozze di Figaro" and has also appeared in Opera Western Reserve's children's matinee performances as Mica la in "Carmen," in the title role of "Madame Butterfly" on the Mini Mainstage, in the title role of "Amelia Goes to the Ball," as Mother in "Little Red Riding Hood," as Contessa Ceprano in "Rigoletto," as the 2nd Knitter in "Game of Chance" and as Madame Heartmelt in "Impresario."

This past summer, Farrell performed in a full opera production in Colorado, but only her aunt from California and her mother, from Wilbraham, came to see it. She's excited to perform in Simsbury so more of her family and friends can see her onstage.

"I've never performed a full opera anywhere near New England," she said. "I'm excited. I get a good rush of adrenaline before I go onstage. I get butterflies."

Farrell explained that a light opera company usually puts on humorous performances that are accessible to all. She said light opera is similar to musical theater and is usually performed in English.

She added that for those who have never been to an opera performance before, it helps to read a synopsis of the plot before attending a show so the focus is less on the words and more on enjoying the whole show.

The Simsbury Light Opera Company will present "Die Fledermaus" in the auditorium of Simsbury High School, 34 Farms Village Rd., Simsbury, Conn., on March 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and March 7 and 14 at 2 p.m. The company is a community-based group of actors, singers and talented backstage crew dedicated to bringing quality musical entertainment to audiences. Tickets to the shows are on sale now.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit