Promising singer ups Fresno State’s opera game

Tiffanie Trujillo gives her undergraduate recital with a program that includes a work by Coarsegold composer Barbara Ulman

Local opera fans attending productions at Fresno State over the past few years have definitely taken notice of two talented singers: Mezzo soprano Alejandra Tejeda, a graduate student; and soprano Tiffanie Trujillo, an undergraduate student. I certainly have. Both are graduating. It’s hard to tell what will happen in the years ahead, but I’d say chances are very good indeed that both will be able to break into the ranks of successful professional singers.

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Fresno State student Tiffanie Trujillo.

Tejeda already gave her recital a couple of weeks ago. (And I’m sorry I missed the chance to publicize it.) Trujillo gives her recital 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the Fresno State Wahlberg Recital Hall. Admission is free.

First, Trujillo’s impressive bio:

With Fresno State’s Opera Theatre she performed the title role of Carmen (2015), created the role of Ortensia in The Secret of Luca (2014), and explored other roles in scenes programs. Most recently, Ms. Trujillo has been recognized as winner of Fresno Musical Club’s Young Singers Competition (2016), winner of her division for NATS Regional Auditions (2017), alternative competitor in NATS Artist Award Competition (2017), and one of the 35 singers across the United States to advance to the final rounds in New York Lyric Opera’s National Competition.

Her program sounds fascinating and challenging. It includes a song by Coarsegold composer Barbara Ulman titled “Evening Dress.” Ulman describes the composition — which is set to a poem by Rachel Oliver of Mariposa — as describing “the hushed and delicate beauty of fog settling over the foothills near Yosemite.” Ulman composed quiet waves of arpeggios in the piano to imitate the motion of the fog, and the vocal line has many chromatic passages that also reflect the creeping of evening fog. The piece ends with an imitation of bird song in the piano.

Trujillo first sang “Evening Dress” along with several other songs of Ulman’s in 2014 for a concert with the Sierra Foothills Composers’ Cooperative.

“To be able to work closely with her and be artistically guided through my interpretation process was a valuable experience for me as a young artist,” Trujillo says.

She goes on to describe the rest of her program:

The second piece is “Loon cry, night call” from Harry Somers’ “Evocations.” An interesting characteristic of this song is that the timing is relative; I find an inherent suspense in that. In performance, it is performed with the singer singing into a fully opened piano lid with the pianist holding the pedals down — this creates a unique vibrational experience throughout the moment. Both pieces share what I call a “transparent eyeball moment” … a moment of both dissolution and transcendence of self through the assumption of spectatorship.

The program also includes Rachmaninoff’s “Sing Not to Me, My Beloved” in its original language, which Trujillo describes as a “cathartic gem,” and works by Schubert, Schumann, Quilter and Fauré.

Congratulations to both Trujillo and Tejeda for stellar careers at Fresno State. If they were male football players and had reached this level of national recognition, they’d be getting a lot more local attention than this.


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Author: Donald Munro

Covering the arts in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

2 thoughts on “Promising singer ups Fresno State’s opera game”

  1. If they were male football players the local newspaper would dedicate three reporters to them.

    As opposed to the current local paper’s reporters for the arts. I’m sorry, I meant reporter (singular).

    Sorry. Sour grapes. Bigtime.

  2. Thanks for your coverage of these remarkable singers. I had the privelage and honor to have both of them concurrently in an advanced music analysis course at Fresno State and it might interest your reader to know that they are both exceptional students as well as singers. Their insight and commitment to acaemic learning was inspiring. For football fans, Tiffanie and Alejandra are to opera as Peyton Manning is to football (I know – I used to teach at UT where Peyton did his undergrad and graduate work). Bravo to Tiffanie and Alejandra and the Opera and vocal program at Fresno State, and those who support it, like Thomas Loewenheim and Ruth Griffin.

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