The Martina Arroyo Foundation – which prepares young opera singers for professional performance – honored Hunter President Jennifer Raab at its annual gala on November 9. Raab accepted the award “on behalf of Hunter College and our new partnership with Prelude to Performance,” the Foundation’s training program that culminates with fully-staged operas performed on the stage of Hunter’s Kaye Playhouse.
The Foundation’s president and artistic director, legendary soprano Martina Arroyo, is a 1956 graduate of Hunter College. She also graduated from Hunter College High School, where her career was launched after a professor overheard her singing and encouraged her to attend the famous Opera Workshop that was then conducted on the Hunter campus.
Prelude to Performance is in many ways modeled after the Opera Workshop and is an important part of Hunter’s current role in training opera singers, introducing opera to students in every field, and creating lifelong audience members.
Hunter student Dewey Moss sang at the event, along with opera stars Paquito D’Rivera and Eric Owens. In her acceptance remarks, President Raab noted that she gained a new appreciation for opera after taking over the helm of a public college with a very limited budget. “Because if any institution can make my budget look bloated,” she said, “it’s the opera.”