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Metropolitan Opera soprano to perform at UTEP

Special to The Prospector
Soprano Danielle Talamantes will perform at UTEP on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

It’s not every day that an international Metropolitan Opera singer visits UTEP. Soprano Danielle Talamantes will make her debut in the Sun City on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall, as part of a presentation by El Paso Pro-Musica.

Talamantes will be joined onstage by renowned pianist and composer Henry Dehlinger, and together they will perform selections off their albums, “Heaven and Earth: A Duke Ellington Songbook” and gorgeous Spanish songs featured in their MSR Classics album “Canciones españolas.”

Talamantes and Dehlinger have been touring the nation, captivating audiences as they bring the lush music and poetry of Spain to life.

She has performed on stages all over the world and has seen her career take off after selling out Carnegie Hall in a solo recital in 2007. Talamantes has also worked for several institutions including the National Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Choralis, Seoul Philharmonic, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Trujillo Symphony Orchestra of Peru and The United States Army Chorus.

Although Talamantes  has seen success, the pinnacle of her career came after becoming part of the Metropolitan Opera roster in 2011.

The Arlington, Virginia, native was participating in a singing competition in New York and little did she know that the competition would launch her career forward and change her life. An artistic director with the Metropolitan Opera happened to be watching as a judge. Although Talamantes did not walk away with an award, she still walked away with an even better prize, an invitation to audition for the Met.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about winning, it’s not about money, it’s about singing for as many people as you possibly can when you’re in that in-between stage of academic training and trying to make it as a professional,” Talamantes said.

The opera singer has been part of the roster of Met performers since 2011 after several years of performing worldwide, but did not make her stage debut until 2015 in the production of “Carmen.”

This season, Talamantes performed the role of Anna in “Nabucco” and reprised her stage debut role of Frasquita in “Carmen.”  She just found out that she has been invited back to the Met for next season.

Though it was not on her to-do list, Talamantes is grateful for opportunity to be a part of something so big. She understands that being able to be a part of the Met is beyond special, and did not want to feel that if she never made it to the Met, that she had failed in her career.

“It’s a dream. It’s an absolute dream come true,” Talamantes said. “When I was invited to join the roster, I was beyond thrilled. It’s just an incredible place to work, and I’ve been there long enough now that it truly does feel like family.”

Talamantes recalls the first time she realized what she had accomplished. Her debut with the Met was off-stage and she never quite felt the pressure because of how low-key her performances had been.

When it came time to make her on-stage debut of “Carmen,” she didn’t have the time to rehearse for a show of that magnitude. After eight days of hurried preparation, the final dress rehearsal ended up being her very first performance onstage in front of a large audience.

She said she remembers thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is the first time I’m actually on stage and it’s the final dress rehearsal. This is crazy.”

Singing has always been a part of her life. Her mother was a church organist and she has been involved in church choirs and school choirs since she could remember.

Though she had been singing for most of her life, it wasn’t until she was getting ready to go to college that Talamantes realized she wanted to pursue singing as her career.

She graduated from Virginia Tech, where she double majored in vocal performance and music education. Talamantes continued to better her voice and career as she went on to obtain her master’s degree in vocal performance and vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

Education is something that has always been important to Talamantes, which is why she decided that she would go to college and train in an academic setting.

Being able to visit universities during her recent tour is something Talamantes says is wonderful because she is able to connect with students, experience the culture of the town, and network all while being able to perform.

Talamantes will be in town for a few days following her recital and will give master classes to students at UTEP.

“I’m really looking forward to the food,” Talamantes said, while slightly joking, and is also looking forward to meeting the people at UTEP and  El Paso.

Felipa Solis, executive director of El Paso Pro-Musica, is excited to have Talamantes visit the campus. She raves about the way in which Talamantes performs, calling her a “Metropolitan Opera extraordinaire.”

“It’s extremely exciting and she is a whole different realm. The manner in which her performance is presented, is really, truly chamber music,” Solis said. “She’s truly, truly a remarkable talent.”

Tickets for the recital begin at $5 for students, $20 for seniors and military and $25 for adults. The show begins at 5 p.m. at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Follow Elenie Gonzalez on Twitter @eleniegonz

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Elenie Gonzalez, Web Editor
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Metropolitan Opera soprano to perform at UTEP