Opera singer and GMU student Crystal Golden on her career and aspirations

Opera singer and George Mason University student Crystal Golden is set to take the stage at Hylton Performing Arts Center this month.

Photo by Robert Merhaut

Soprano Crystal Golden first discovered her love of opera as a student at Beville Middle School in Woodbridge. Her choral teacher recognized her talents and she ultimately went on to earn a bachelor of music from George Mason University. She’s set to receive her master’s in music from GMU this May and, over the summer, won first place in the 2019 National Association of Teachers of Singing’s Student Auditions competition (graduate/advanced women category)—an honor that will soon take her to Austria.

But this April, you can catch her on stage at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in “Raising Voices,” a one-night only concert that combines the talents of Mason’s opera and vocal studies students with singers from the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Here, Golden shares what she loves about singing. // “Raising Voices,” April 7, 4 p.m.; tickets $20 or free with student ID

How did you discover opera?
I got introduced to classical music in general when I was in sixth grade when I was in choir. I thought maybe I would dance or play the flute or something, but my parents couldn’t afford to rent a flute or dance lessons so I said, ‘OK, well, I’ll sing.’ So I joined the choir … my choral director saw how much I enjoyed choir and how much I was enjoying learning about classical music. She would give me cassette tapes to take home to listen to … that fostered my interest from the beginning.

How did you connect with Patricia Miller?
It was essentially meant to be that [Patricia Miller, GMU’s director of vocal studies, artist-in-residence and producer of Mason Opera] should be my teacher. It’s not just that teachers choose students and students choose teachers, students and teachers choose each other … The work is so much better and so much more profound when there’s a joining of spirits and personalities. With Professor Miller and I, it was like peanut butter and jelly.

What can audiences expect at Raising Voices?
It’s an opportunity for people to get acquainted with an art form they might not know as much about. What I tell people all the time is opera has a way of captivating you that you wouldn’t expect because it’s an art form that is unlike anything else … It’s always incredibly dazzling and entertaining.

Quick Hits

Hometown: Woodbridge
Favorite music besides opera: I love folk music. I really have a deep soft spot for all american music.
Favorite opera: I love The Marriage of Figaro. I think it’s hilarious. Mozart is one of my favorite composers. I love the sophistication of the writing and the nuance.

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