Classical comes home

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Carmel native works to bring her music back to the US

By Michelle Williams

She has been living and working in Europe since 2009, pursuing her passion for classical music. A Carmel native, Bryn Vertesi says she misses her family — and even a good hamburger from time to time. She always enjoys coming home to see family and friends. But at the end of this month, she is coming home for more than just a quick visit.

The Carmel community may know her better as Bryn Chapman, the former Miss Indiana who placed in the final ten of the Miss America 2004 competition. She graduated from Carmel High School in 2000, and formally trained for the vocal arts at Indiana University and Miami of Ohio. She met her husband, Campbell Vertesi, during her undergraduate years at IU. A post-master’s program eventually took her to Europe in 2009 to study French repertoire.

She has engaged in numerous freelance and regular vocal jobs during her time in Europe, including performing on stage with such well-known artists as Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. In addition to her musical work, she also serves as a consultant of intercultural communications and change management to universities and arts organizations.

With a passion for opera and classical music, Germany has been an ideal location for Vertesi to start her career. It is the center of classical music — the largest market for the genre in the world.

“People travel to Germany from all around the world for the music,” Vertesi said.

During her visit home this month she intends to bring a piece of her work with her and plans to meet with several theaters and performance venues across the country. Her objective is to secure bookings for the international vocalist group with which she and her husband both sing.

The Cast is the name of their vocal performance group, and with it they have forged a fusion between opera and pop. The group is composed of people from around the world, including Russia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

“Each culture brings its own story,” Vertesi said, describing the significance of being an international music group. On their website, the group is characterized as “classical music with a smile on its lips.”

The goal of the ensemble is to deliver classical music to a broader base of music lovers. The group wants to bring opera to people across the globe who would not normally seek it out.

The group has been touring around Europe for the greater part of the past year, but Vertesi is eager to bring the group to her home in the United States.

“I just want to share the experience with other people,” she said, citing the new Palladium as a “big motivator” in her push to bring a performance to Carmel.

The group has recently unveiled another way for the world to learn about who they are and what they do. In May, screenings will begin for a musical documentary entitled “Operatic” about The Cast. The trailer for the film is available at OperaticTheFilm.com. The group is working to set up selective film screenings in North America, and Vertesi expects the film to be available online later in the year.

Life abroad

When asked to describe the differences between living in Europe and the United States, Bryn Vertesi said that she has found the people very similar about everywhere she has been. Many of the social aspects are the same — lots of time spent with family and friends. She said that living in Europe has forced her to become more patient and easygoing. Americans are accustomed to a fast pace of life, much different from the way things are in Europe.

“Dinners may last 2 hours or longer,” Vertesi said.

As much as she loves the culture and the enthusiasm for music in Europe, she does still miss several aspects of Carmel. She misses much of the typical American food, and the eases of life. She also misses the friendly people, as she said: “Someone you don’t know will say hello or offer help.”

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