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Mr Bernardo adds, 'In the spirit of "true" democracy during this election year, each ticket holder gets one vote -- but voters can also buy additional votes.' The two directors know, for instance, that for one evening, the ballot box has already been purchased by a trustee, who has requested anonymity.

Lyric Opera Cleveland is well-known and respected for their 'Apprentice Program' which brings in young singers out of graduate school to understudy, be chorus members or sing minor roles. On occasion, they do all three things at once. Off-stage, they study voice, acting and movement, in addition to the bits of the business of opera, in particular, contract negotiation, etc. This latter is taught by a board member who is an attorney. Eight of the nine apprentices this year are new to the program, while two of the second year class are moving to the main stage this year: one in Little Women and one in The Mikado.

These talented newcomers will perform in Cleveland, sans opera on two separate occasions this season. The first of these is 22 June 2004 at Spaces Gallery, where visual art will be combined with appropriate music. This year's theme is '21 Visual Artists and their response to Cleveland'. The music will be mostly city songs, although not necessarily about the host city. The season will end on 4 August at the Natural History Museum with Spotlight in which each of the apprentices will perform in costumed and staged operatic scenes. Mr Field will direct each of these special programs. In addition to being the artistic director of Lyric Opera Cleveland, he also serves as head of the opera department at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Copyright © 17 June 2004 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


For information or tickets, call the Cleveland Play House ticket office at +1 (216) 795 7000, or Lyric Opera Cleveland at +1 (216) 685 5976. Their web-site is at

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