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Popera revamps classics

Urban Dictionary defines “popera”as “a merging of the musical terms and styles of ‘pop,’ or popular music, and opera. A classical-crossover sound,”according to its Web site.

Cal Poly’s music department is bringing this unique musical style to audiences tonight with the premiere of “Popera at Poly,” a special performance combining classical and popular music. Students will perform songs made popular by Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Opera Babes and Il Divo at 7:30 p.m. in Spanos Theatre.

Music junior Richard Carrick, who will perform a song called, “You’re Still You,” describes popera as a “rock ballad with a classical tone.”

“It’s a lot more contemporary, a lot more free in the sense that you have more liberties with the pop style,” Carrick said.

Twenty-eight Cal Poly music students will perform songs including “You Raise Me Up,” “The Prayer,” “Cinema Paradiso” and “Time to Say Goodbye.”

Applied voice, diction and performance professor Jacalyn Kreitzer helped organize the event, and has 26 students performing in “Popera.”

She says one of the elements that makes the event so unique is the amount of male students that will be performing.

“We have a lot of wonderful men with beautiful voices, which is kind of rare,” Kreitzer said.

She also believes “Popera”will be a special performance because students find the music less intimidating than most classical arrangements.

“It really helps the students to draw upon their feelings for rock, pop or classical. It involves the same feelings as classical, but it’s not so scary,” Kreitzer said. “Popera is kind of a nice combination of singing beautifully without being so exact.”

Applied voice professor Katherine Arthur has taught all of the performers and helped to organize the event. She said doing performances like “Popera” gives voice students the opportunity to step outside the classical genre.

“We like to give them chances to do things that are fun for them,” Arthur said. “There are many different styles of singing, and we try to teach our students a bit of everything.”

As part of a requirement for their performing class, music students are required to participate in a recital at the end of the quarter. When deciding on what kind of performance to put on this quarter, Arthur said the music department went to students for help.

“We talked with the students. They seem to have loads of ideas and knowledge, especially about pop music,” Arthur said.

Tickets for “Popera”are $10 for general admission and $6 for seniors and students. They can be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or over the phone by calling SLO-ARTS (756-2787).

A 10 percent discount on admission price will be given to patrons who have attended four or more events hosted by the music department.

Proceeds from the event support traveling costs for the choir and contribute to local scholarships. The event is sponsored by Cal Poly’s music department, College of Liberal Arts, and Instructionally Related Activities Program.