ASU student combines the worlds of classical voice and musical theatre

To non-musicians, the stylings of classical performance and musical theatre performance may seem synonymous. However, the two worlds are constructed in their own unique stylings and structure — to master both is a conquest in itself.

Vocal performance and music theatre senior Anasofia Gallegos tackles this dichotomous relationship and weaves the attributes of classical music and musical theatre to create her own unique style of performance.

Gallegos is studying voice under David Britton, but she said she did not always intend on pursuing music.

“I was originally going to pursue biomedical engineering,” Gallegos said. “I was offered a free ride to Northwestern and everything, and my grandpa (an optical engineer) and my aunts and uncles (software and mechanical engineers) all sat me down and told me to pursue music instead. So I did.”

Gallegos ultimately decided to attend ASU, and while these two degree tracks may seem similar to the untrained student, the two tracks require different classes. Pursuing the double major means Gallegos does not have much time for non-music academic ventures, she said.

“I’m actually really bummed about the fact that I don’t get to take any electives,” she said. “The courses sort of fill in for each other, so I don’t get to take any ‘fun classes’ unrelated to my degree. And of course it’s just a lot of work.”

For her senior recital, Gallegos said she chose the title “Bitches, Witches, and Britches."

“The theme is based off of the famous stereotypes for mezzo roles,” she said. “I wanted to explore the similarities and differences between the two worlds of classical music and musical theatre.”

Accompanied by pianist Nathan Uhl, Gallegos said she opened her set with “Smanie Implacabili” from Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, and ended with contemporary musical theatre piece “Pretty Funny” from Pasek and Paul’s Dogfight.

“I think it ended up being a great representation of what I strived for with my dual degrees,” she said. “Merging the concepts while still maintaining two different styles of storytelling.”

Gallegos said she draws inspiration from other musical theatre and/or classical voice artists.

“(My inspirations include) Lisa Howard, Audra McDonald, Alysha Umphress and Lindsay Mendez,” she said.

Britton said he admires her work ethic and time-management skills.

"Since she's a double Vocal Performance/Music Theatre major, her time is very finite, and since she works at a job, in addition to these two majors, her time for practice is extremely limited," he said. "Being focused and on-task can sometimes be a daunting task, but she usually delivers in very fine fashion."

Music theatre junior and close friend of Gallegos, Boston Scott, said there is more to Gallegos than her musical side.

“She’ll hate that I’m telling you this,” he said. “But once her grandfather said he wouldn’t buy her a car unless she built one herself, so she did. She built her own car.”

Music theatre freshman Julia Davis said she admires Gallegos in her in-class performances.

“She really knows how to bridge the two worlds of voice,” she said. “She takes her classical training and applies it to musical theatre, and applies her musical theatre training to classical, which is not something every performer can accomplish.”

This taste for twist in performance was reflected in Gallegos’s recital, where for part she donned a fake mustache for her “britches” songs, which are songs sung by male characters.

Gallegos’s taste in musicals also reflect her dual training. She said she loves musicals that have classical foundations, but have a unique twist.

“I love shows that have a classic core, but then push the boundaries in at least one way,” she said. “By this I mean, 'Billy Elliot' with their use of traditional tap dancing in a revolutionary way, or 'Bridges of Madison County’s' merging of golden age-type repertoire with country sounds.”

Related links:

ASU's 'A Clarinet Extravaganza!' to feature exciting, bombastic new music

ASU According To You: A music therapy student


Reach the reporter at ekong2@asu.edu or follow @ERINKONG1 on Twitter.

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