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A Master in Classical Music: Raghav Ramgopal’s Journey with Opera

   The crowd cheers as you walk onto the stage, and your heart beats at a thousand miles an hour. This is what performing feels like as an opera singer for senior Raghav Ramgopal. As nerve-racking as this feeling may be, Ramgopal has achieved many successes, performing in professional operas and getting featured on a National Public Radio Podcast at the age of seventeen. 

   Ramgopal attributes his original interest in opera to his parents.

  “When I was 6 years old, my mom wanted me to do something after school,” he said. “My friends were doing this choir called Cantabile Youth Singers Silicon Valley outside of school…they quit a month later, but I stayed for six years.”

   As Ramgopal got older, continued to delve deeper into singing, joining the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in sixth grade, where he trained with his teacher for three years. Ramgopal has now been doing opera for six years and said he can’t get enough of it.

   “I really like learning the history of opera and I really like learning its languages, such as Italian, German, French, and even English,” he said. “As someone who really likes the humanities, it provides an escape because it’s a combination of history, politics, literature, languages and so much more.”

   Ramgopal’s journey with opera has ups and downs, as performances can sometimes be a stressful experience. 

   “The way I try to get over it is I think that this performance does not matter, and I have so many other opportunities to perform in the future, which really calms me down,” he said.

   Over the years, Ramgopal has had several unique opportunities with the opera and singing world. For example he had the opportunity to perform in the same concert as John Williams, who composed the Harry Potter and Star Wars soundtracks.

  Ramgopal said he owes much of his success to his teacher. 

   “I want to thank my teacher for helping me on this journey so much; I wouldn’t be anywhere without her and she has helped me get so many opportunities, win so many different competitions, train to the level that I am now,” Ramgopal said. “She really is one of the best people that I worked with and my favorite teacher.”

   Ramgopal has had many accomplishments in the opera world. Other than an appearance on an NPR broadcast, he performed at the Tanglewood Festival for Classical Music and debuted in a professional opera. At the Tanglewood Festival, he performed with the Boston Symphony and met some of his favorite classical musicians like Yo-Yo Ma. Ramgopal was also a part of a professional opera with the company Opera Carolina, which he said was an amazing experience.

   NPR’s podcast “From the Top,” is a forum for teenage classical musicians. He described the application process as similar to college applications. He got selected to take part in a learning lab, which was a new and interesting experience for him.

“[In the learning lab,] you learn a lot about community engagement and how to use music to help people around you,” he said.

    After high school, Ramgopal said he will continue to sing wherever life takes him. He plans on possibly joining a choir in the future.

   “I will continue to perform and still take lessons, so my journey doesn’t end here,” Ramgopal said.

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