BRISTOL - Kara Friedman always wanted to play the clarinet.
“In fourth grade they had people come and demonstrate all the instruments, and people were always trying to get me to try other instruments, but I always said ‘No, I want to play this one.’ I don’t know why but for some reason I was drawn to it,” she said.
And she has excelled at it. Now a junior at Bristol Eastern High School, she will be performing as part of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) production of Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin” on Sunday at 3 p.m.. The opera will be performed at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.
Kara played in the All-State Orchestra and the Northern Region High School Band last year, and was principal clarinetist in the All National Honors Orchestra performance in Dallas last November.
She is the first student from Bristol to be selected for the All National Honors Orchestra, and she was also selected for the All Eastern Honors Band, which will be performing in Atlantic City in April, according to her mother, Marsha Friedman.
Among her other credits, Kara has also played in the Greater New Haven Youth Orchestra since she was a freshman.
Kara had to travel to Boston University last May to audition for the BYSO. Then she found out in June she was accepted for the Boston Youth Symphony, which is BYSO’s top orchestra, and she was really excited, her mother, Marsha Friedman, said.
Performing in an orchestra backing an operatic production is a real challenge, Kara said. “I’ve never done any work with professional singers before. It’s very exciting to work with them since they are all very distinguished and have very impressive qualifications.”
“It’s quite rare for high school students to be able to participate in operatic performances, so this is a unique opportunity the BYSO organization is giving the students,” Marsha Friedman said.
The BYSO production will feature in the title role baritone Markus Werba, who has performed at the world’s finest opera houses and venues, including the Lyon Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and many more.
Soprano Evelina Dobraceva will take on the role of Tatyana, and tenor Garrett Sorenson will perform the role of Lensky. BYSO’s semi-staged production will be sung in Russian with English supertitles.
This is BYSO’s 10th consecutive, full-length opera, and the Boston Youth Symphony is the only youth orchestra in America to perform full-length opera, under the leadership of Music Director Federico Cortese.
“The performance of a full opera by a youth orchestra is an absolutely remarkable and rare accomplishment of which I am very proud,” Cortese said. “Opera is a fantastic tool for the musical and personal growth of our students because of the rich and intricate musical and psychological story lines that weave in and out of the music in ways that are not seen in a standard symphony.”
Kara credited Michael Coderre and Amy Dauphinais, both BEHS music teachers, for helping her develop as a musician, as well as her private clarinet teacher, Ron Krentzman of West Hartford, who is a member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
She wants to major in music in college, although she doesn’t yet know where she will be going, with an eye toward teaching and performing someday, she said. “Definitely a combination of the two. I like doing both and I would love to continue doing both for the rest of my life.”
Tickets for the BYSO production of “Eugene Onegin” start at $40, with discounted student and senior tickets available. For tickets, call the Sanders Theatre Box Office at 617-496-2222.
Free parking is available at the Broadway Garage on Felton Street. This performance contains sensitive subject matter for young children and the running time is nearly three hours. Therefore, the performance is only recommended for children 10 and older. For more information on Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, visit wwwbysoweb.org.
Susan Corica can be reached at or firstname.lastname@example.org.