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Fox Chapel Area students singing in Pittsburgh Opera's "Tosca"

Tawnya Panizzi
| Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, 3:12 p.m.
Carolyn Caracciolo, Anna Ferris and Marina Dunham performed in 'Tosca' at the Benedum Center.
David Bachman Photography | For the Tribune-Review
Carolyn Caracciolo, Anna Ferris and Marina Dunham performed in 'Tosca' at the Benedum Center.

Opulent costumes and dramatic storylines are in part what lured three Fox Chapel Area students to audition for Pittsburgh Opera's 79th season premier of “Tosca.”

“I did ‘Turandot' last spring, but I didn't sing,” said Marina Dunham, an O'Hara Elementary fifth-grader. “It was a really fun experience with the elaborate costumes.”

Marina joined Anna Ferris and Carolyn Caracciolo on the Benedum Center stage Oct. 7-15 in the 1800s Italian-set drama “Tosca,” filled with love, betrayal and murder.

The girls are among 14 members of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus who appeared as choristers thanks to a partnership with Pittsburgh Opera.

Formed in 1983, the youth chorus readies talent for groups that include the opera, Pittsburgh Symphony and Mendelssohn Choir.

Anna, an eighth-grader at Dorseyville Middle School, said she enjoyed mixing with the professional actors.

“Getting costumes and onstage time is a really exciting new perspective,” said Anna, 13, who also performed in “Turandot” last spring but wasn't seen on stage.

After singing for five years, Anna said opera is a “fun change” from her usual roles in Dorseyville's spring musicals.

Carolyn, a sixth-grader at Dorseyville, said it was a thrill to entertain the audience — especially during a volatile scene with one of the lead characters, Scarpia.

“The villains looks so mean, but they are very nice in real life,” said Carolyn, who began singing three years ago.

Marina also has been singing for three years and said she doesn't get nervous on stage. Instead, she likes looking out at “all those people.

“It is amazing,” she said.

For more on Pittsburgh Opera, visit pittsburghopera.org. For more on Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, visit pittsburghyouthchorus.org.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or @tawnyatrib.

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