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Loyola voice instructor takes lead role in New Orleans Opera's 'Pagliacci'

May 4, 2012

On Sunday, April 29, Tyler Smith, voice instructor at Loyola University New Orleans, stepped in at the last minute to take on the lead role of Canio in the New Orleans Opera Association’s production of “Pagliacci.”

Smith, who recently performed in the opera’s production of “Salome,” had previously expressed interest in serving as an understudy for the role. Although other engagements made him too busy to take on such a task, he did attend two dress rehearsals during the week prior, just to see the walk-through.

On Sunday morning, the opera’s production manager contacted Smith after it was discovered that Clifton Forbis, who performed the role on Friday, was suffering from a severe bronchial infection and couldn’t sing the part. With only a few hours notice and no rehearsal time, Smith was able to step in and sing the role from the orchestra pit while Forbis acted and lip-synced on stage.

“For Clifton to trust that I would be able to sing the part successfully while he acted really took a lot of courage,” Smith said. “I was honored that they called me, and I gave it everything I had.”

According to the opera’s General and Artistic Director Robert Lyall, Smith really saved the day. “Tyler's burgeoning dramatic tenor voice was the perfect instrument to save the day for the production. He had sung the famous role in a smaller production in recent seasons, and that familiarity allowed him to fulfill the ultimate display of professionalism,” Lyall said. “Tyler covered himself with glory in these challenging circumstances and thrilled the audience with his passionate and successful performance, for which we are all exceptionally grateful.”

For more information, contact Smith at 504-865-2143 or thsmith@loyno.edu.

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