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Boston Lyric Opera's New Podcast AT ITS (S)CORE Spotlights Experience of Diverse Classical Musicians

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Boston Lyric Opera's New Podcast AT ITS (S)CORE Spotlights Experience of Diverse Classical Musicians

This week's episode of Boston Lyric Opera's new podcast, "At Its (s)Core," features Ohio-born African-American soprano Brianna J. Robinson and Cuban-American mezzo-soprano Zaray Rodriguez talking about growing up with music, their career paths, and their work as artists of color in a traditionally white-majority artform.

With previous episodes featuring gay opera singers Simon Dyer and Vincent Turregano, and globally renowned Zimbabwe-born conductor/educator Vimbayi Kaziboni, Season 1 of BLO's "At Its (s)Core" series has featured music artists from diverse backgrounds, and underscored the importance of representation on the classical music stage.

"At Its (s)Core" is a bi-weekly podcast series featuring conversations between artists about their shared experiences making opera and living music-filled lives. The Robinson/Rodriguez episode debuts today at Season 1 episodes are available for listening at that site, and through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

Robinson, now living in Dorchester, Mass., is an alumna of BLO's Emerging Artist initiative, and a Vocal Music Performance and Black World Studies graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. She sang the role of Lucy in the company's 2019 production of "Fellow Travelers" and was to be a featured chorus member in the March 2020 production of "Norma," which was cancelled after its final dress rehearsal due to rising coronavirus fears. Rodriguez, in Newton, Mass., has received critical acclaim singing at companies and festivals across the country; she was a district winner for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017 and 2018. She is an incoming Emerging Artist at BLO and a graduate of the University of Miami and Boston University's Opera Institute.

Both artists discuss prejudice they've encountered in their rising careers. "There are so many issues with Black and brown people being opera singers," Robinson says. "But I am excited about the change that's going to come." Rodriguez says she is "happy that companies are calling for more diversity...but it has to start from the top. Bigger companies need to be the example for smaller companies."

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