Fresh Meadows teen opera singer dreams big at the Met

By Alex Robinson

Most teenage girls would rather dream of becoming Beyoncé than Maria Callas, but not Regina Fierro.

The 16-year-old Fresh Meadows junior recently took part in a four-day intensive program at the Metropolitan Opera for High School students, in the hope of one day becoming a professional opera singer.

“It’s really unlike any other type of music, which is what I love about it,” she said in an interview. “Oftentimes operas are about myths and folklore. They’re very basic and translate to modern life very fluidly. People don’t realize that operatic music and themes are much more applicable to everyday life than some modern music is.”

Regina has been singing since she could talk. She sang in the Sacred Heart School Bayside Children’s Choir from first- to eighth-grade and began training with an instructor in classical singing at 12. Since then she has developed a deep love of opera.

“I really like how classical music is so thoughtful,” she said. “Everything from the music to the words on the page is so meaningful.”

The teen, whose favorite composer is Mozart, said she did not truly appreciate the art form until she saw her first opera in her freshman year. Her dad took her to go see “L’Elisir d’Amore” (“The Elixir of Love”) by Donizetti at the Met.

“When I started watching opera and listening to whole productions of opera, everything really came together,” she said.

She had to submit an audition video for the Met’s High School Opera Singers Intensive Program, which runs at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. The program only admits 12 students and runs once a year.

“The kids I was in there with were all so talented and all just real kids, too, which was probably the best part. I gained some friends there I’ll never forget,” she said. “The best thing was everyone there was so humble, which is the great thing about opera singers. It’s not about yourself. It’s about celebrating this great music.”

The program was designed for high school students who are seriously preparing to study music at college. Regina got to take classes and workshops that provided her with audition tips as well as training in diction and dramatic technique.

Regina is now focused on finishing her last year at Loyola School, a Manhattan private school, and applying to colleges where she can study singing. Her next performance will be with her school choir, which will compete in the Heritage New York City Music Festival in May.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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