Something to Sing For
Paul Fields ’79 creates new visiting artist series.
By Luka Starmer ’11
In 1976, legendary opera diva Roberta Peters established a scholarship fund at Ithaca College in her name to be awarded each year to an outstanding voice student in the School of Music. Since then, the scholarship has supported the education of more than 40 students.
Last October, Peters’s son, Paul Fields, a 1979 alumnus from the School of Business, created a separate fund, in honor of his mother, to establish and support the new Roberta Peters Visiting Artist Series in the School of Music. The series includes a two-day master class taught by an accomplished visiting artist. A special ceremony was held January 31 to celebrate the scholarship award and launch the new series. Peters Scholarship co-recipient Brigid Kegel ’11 participated in the master class. Michaela Bushey ’11 was unable to attend.
“It was my motivation to have a vehicle to be able to hand out the scholarship and do something extra special for the recipients,” says Fields, who presented the scholarship award at the master class, alongside interim provost Greg Woodward. Peters was not in attendance, but Fields spoke on her behalf, saying that his mother is thrilled that the scholarship has been long-lasting.
The master class was taught by renowned operatic soprano Johanna Meier in the Hockett Family Recital Hall at Ithaca College. Meier has had a successful career both internationally and in the United States, including 14 years at the Metropolitan Opera, the same opera house where Roberta Peters began her career. Dozens of students and faculty ob served the class.
“The idea of having the recipients take a master class with a soprano who has performed some of the same roles and worked in some of the same opera houses as my mom completes the circle,” says Fields.
A short film about Roberta Peters was shown during the ceremony, including clips of past performances and interviews.
“Watching [Peters] speak about opera with such joy was very special,” says Kegel. “It’s nice to be reminded about what is truly beautiful and fun about this art form.”