Ralph Shealy, M.D.

I did not think of myself as an opera person. Then I met Leah and Dimitri. Knowing their background, I was astonished to discover that they are real people. They work in the yard with toddlers playing in the dirt and the family dog romping in the grass. They are real people with extraordinary talents honed by hard work. World-class voices heard in world-class venues, yet real people who care intensely about their neighbors and their community.

I had always associated opera with elaborate costumes and sets, made-up faces, and music in languages I do not understand. Some high brows like it, but I could only take it in small doses. Then I attended my first Social Distance-SING!

Leah and Dimitri demonstrate that real people sing opera, with an intimacy and a sparkle that reflects their relationship with each other and the relaxed rapport they instantly wield with their entranced audiences. Everyone sits close enough to see the tremolo quivering in their throats, to feel the shaking timbre of their power in your chest, to sense the intensity of their emotion in your heart.

Opera is for real people. Thanks to Leah and Dimitri and HALO for bringing opera back to Charleston and teaching me that I can be an opera person too. You don’t just hear music. You feel it!


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