Faculty member hits a high note at opera recital

Josh Setchel

On the evening of Nov. 10, faculty member Andrea Garritano performed her vocal recital at White Concert Hall.

Along with colleague Anthony Radford, of California State University in Fresno, Garritano performed a variety of opera compositions with the accompaniment of faculty pianist, Patricia Gibson.

When asked about her musical roots and preoccupation with performing opera, Garritano explained, “When I was in high school, I wanted the lead in the school musical. My amazing teacher was classically trained and introduced me to opera.”

Garritano did in fact win the lead in a high school production of “Once Upon A Mattress,” where she played Winnifred, a role popularized by famed actress, Carol Burnett. Garritano herself, while looking back, described the role as akin to Princess Fiona from “Shrek,” due to the character’s swamp-based home.

“I’m no Carol Burnett,” Garritano confessed, though that certainly didn’t seem to deter anyone in attendance from enjoying her performance. Her fellow performer Radford had nothing but praise for his colleague as she tested her acoustics. “You sound amazing,” said Radford. “You have a very big voice.”

Pieces from the performance included the works of Ludwig van Beethoven, George Gershwin, and Robert Schumann, with Garritano and Radford alternating the spotlight between sets. Both delivered sensational performances and their love of music soared through their voices. Garritano named her favorite of the night as Franz Shubert’s “Lied der Mignon, Op. 62,” from which she sang three different pieces.

“I simply can’t choose a particular number from that set,” she said. “They’re all so beautiful.”

Garritano has lived in Kansas since 2003 when she began attending the University of Kansas for a doctorate in voice. She’s enjoyed a productive career with various appearances with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and many collaborations with acclaimed acts such as the Oregon Mozart Players, Eugene Opera, Hudson Opera Theatre, and Kansas Concert Opera. However, when a full time position at Washburn opened up shortly after her graduation, she immediately took hold of it without hesitation.

“It was so perfect,” Garritano exclaimed. “The timing and location could not have been better. I am so grateful for that.”

Garritano currently resides in Emporia, Kansas with her six-year old daughter, Elizabeth, and her cat, Pepper. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking pasta and cycling in Kansas’ famous Flint Hills. She even finds time to perform with her most recent appearances including a Rimrock Opera Foundation production of “Turandot” and a soprano soloist with the Topeka Symphony Orchestra for Verdi’s “Messa da Requiem.”