Matthew Cuffari (center) receives vocal training from music director Michael Tilley (left) and Franc D'Ambrosio (right) in front of a group of area students. Karl Schneider | The Collegian

Area students gather for a chance to perform a duet with Phantom star.
By Karl Schneider

The Stocker Arts Center main stage hosted a Master Class with Broadway star Franc D’Ambrosio. Auditions were held during the class for D’Ambrosio concert on Feb. 1.

The auditions ran on Thursday Jan. 31 from 2 – 4p.m. and saw nine students and local residents belting out one or two selections. Stephanie Vargas, an LCCC student, was present for the auditions. “I’ve been taking vocal lessons over the summer and decided this would give me more experience,” said Vargas, “I’ll be able to learn from [D’Ambrosio] on where to take my music career.”

The potential performers were asked to either perform “All I Ask Of You”, a song from The Phantom of the Opera and then one other song Broadway hit. Alexandra Butman was the first to audition and became the standard for the rest of the class. After Butman’s performance, the class discussed the pros and cons of the piece. D’Ambrosio would give critiques for each student on how to perform well and present their resume and repertoire in a professional manner.

The advice D’Ambrosio gave to the prospective performers was practical and straightforward. He let the students know about the emotional arcs of the musical pieces and let everyone know it is okay to succeed as well as fail. “This class should be a safe place to succeed and a safer place to fail,” said D’Ambrosio.

D’Ambrosio has performed in plays and movies ranging from Sweeny Todd, The Phantom of the Opera and The Godfather III. D’Ambrosio studied with Luciano Pavarotti, one of the famous Three Tenors.