Vocal performer Oliva Rich performed for a full house on Sunday night. Photo by James Singer.
Student vocalist Oliva Rich shook the stage at the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center stage on Sunday night, wowing the crowd with her operatic voice.
Rich, a senior, graced the stage to fulfill her requirement of bachelor of music in voice performance. David Gillilad assisted her on the piano. The audience was full of students, faculty and other community members.
She sang a total of 10 songs, with the concert lasting a duration of 34 minutes. Rich said that she and her voice teacher, Rene De La Garza, choose the songs. According to the singer, some of the songs had already been sung before, but it was also important that the songs flowed together.
“We wanted to put a comprehensive program with songs that went together,” she said.
Not all songs were sung in English. Rich sang songs in German and Italian, which was part of the concert’s requirements. She even decided to sing songs in French based off her familiarity with the language.
Singing in a non-native language can be difficult for some, but this isn’t Rich’s first time around the block.
“It’s not as hard as it used to be,” Rich said. “When I first started off it was really hard and I was doing everything wrong, but I have taken French, German and Italian diction classes in the past.”
Rich said she has been singing all of her life, and after not having a firm major entering college she decided to try her hand in the music department. She primary sings classical music given the nature of the program at URI, but this was not always her first choice.
“At first I didn’t really like it [classical music] that much,” she said. “But then I started to learn more about it, and then my voice teacher [De La Garza] began giving me pointers on how to sing it. It made me realize ‘wow I really like this and I can see myself doing it.’”
What also made the performance impressive was the variety in moods of the song. Some songs, like “Ferry Me Across the Water” and “Prendi, per me sei libero” were on the slower side of things, while “Standchen” and “Oh! Quand je dors” had a faster rhythm.
Rich ended the program by singing “The Girl in 14 G,” which was drastically different than the other songs on the set list. There were three different characters that Rich portrayed in the song, and it had the feel of a song seen from a musical at times.
It also included a lot of different facial expressions as a result of the different characters. Even though the singer watched performances of the song on Youtube to draw inspiration, it was up to her to come up with what worked best for each character.
“I tried to marry the facial expressions with the voice of each character because it is important that you have a very distinct character between singers in the song,” Rich said.
Up next for Rich is her performance in the Opera Workshop directed by De La Garza. The concert is at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center on Nov. 24.