get it home page promo

Helena native gives an operatic overview

2012-11-09T00:00:00Z 2012-11-09T12:51:13Z Helena native gives an operatic overviewBy Eddie Gregg Independent Record Helena Independent Record
November 09, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Students at C. R. Anderson Middle School got a chance to learn about opera Thursday from someone who knows his stuff — a Helena native who’s also a performer in the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Taylor Walsh, son of John Walsh, the lieutenant governor-elect, recently performed as a sword fighter in “Otello” at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

As part of a nationwide program called “The Met: HD Live in Schools,” many area students recently had the chance to see “Otello” at Cinemark 8.

Walsh, 23, who happened to be in town this week visiting family during the elections, found out about the program and visited C. R. Anderson to talk about the relevance of opera and his experiences as a performer and to share insider tidbits with about 20 students in Kevin Cleary’s seventh-grade orchestra.

“The amazing thing about opera is you’re essentially putting the best of every art form all into one house and you’re putting on a huge spectacle,” Walsh said.

“The musicians that play in the pit, they didn’t just come off the street,” he told the students. “These are probably some of the best musicians in the world. You have some of the best ballet dancers, some of the best contemporary dancers just solely working with this one opera house. You have a fight crew that is trained by the best fight director in the world. It’s the culmination of every art form at its highest point.”

“I buy into this program (The Met: HD Live in Schools) so much because it does combine everything together so much,” Cleary said. “No matter what you’re interested in, if you like great art, great performers, in some way there’s something there.”

Walsh also talked about opera history and tradition. For example, he said that many opera singers are still paid during intermission because traditionally that’s when singers were paid to make sure they didn’t skip out on their own shows.

Performers at the Met all have people who dress them before shows, he also told the students.

“The costumes are so elaborate and expensive that they don’t trust us to dress ourselves in them,” Walsh said.

He also told students that the Met has “the best wig department in the world. They use real hair and they make them by hand.”

Opera is “cool” because of how much is involved with putting on a production, said Allie Martian, who plays violin in the seventh-grade orchestra.

“I thought it was cool that he came, that he took out of his time to come here,” Martian said, after listening to Walsh talk about his experiences in opera.

Walsh, said he “grew up here at Grandstreet” Theatre, attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts outside of Boston and graduated from Circle in the Square Theater School in New York City, where he now lives.

Life as an aspiring actor and performer in New York takes commitment, Walsh told the students.

“I have five jobs. I teach at three schools. I work at the Met and I work in a restaurant. And that’s the life of an artist in New York — until you make it.”

Walsh said he will likely perform as a guard in the Met’s upcoming production of “Aida,” an opera set in ancient Egypt. As part of “The Met: HD Live in Schools,” the opera will also be streamed at Cinemark 8, located at 750 Great Northern Blvd., on Dec. 15.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick


Follow the Independent Record

Great Helena Businesses