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From 2,500 video applications, a panel commissioned by the English National Opera selected a couple dozen aspiring singers, none of whom had professional opera experience, to compete in a workshop tryout. Six finalists would then go on to an operatic “boot camp” for intensive coaching in vocal and dramatic techniques as well as stagecraft, after which two winners would end up onstage at the London Coliseum dividing the plum part of Gilda in a full-scale production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. We follow these immensely appealing people—a blind mother of three, a grocery-store cashier, an investment banker, a student, etc.—as they explain their everyday lives, indulge their remarkable ambitions, and actually root for one another. An American version would have stretched this out for months while cutting the participants down to paltry size. Here, on Great Performances, we are instead inspired.

Channel 13
Monday, June 13; 9 to 10:30 P.M.


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