Soprano singer Hillary Jean Young has accomplished quite a lot despite her age. The 22-year-old has already completed her masters degree, performed in multiple European countries and received numerous awards.
On Saturday (Aug. 23) Young, along with mezzo-soprano Heather Molloy, will be performing selections from Mozart, Bellini, Strauss and others at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
“I am really excited to be involved with Opera Nanaimo as a whole,” Young said. “It really seems like it is a really great up-and-coming company on the Island and I think that is really great. They are trying to get some more opportunities for opera lovers out there.”
Young was born in Grand Forks, B.C., and became involved with opera and music at an early age.
When Young was 16 years old she began her post-secondary studies at Camosun College and then attended the University of British Columbia’s voice performance program, graduating in 2012.
“UBC’s program is really great because there is a ton of opportunities for performance of all kinds,” she said.
“I studied with Nancy Hermiston, who is also the head of the department, and she always had my best interest in mind. Not just vocally, but for my career and giving me as many opportunities as possible.”
Young has previously performed to crowds in the Czech Republic and Italy.
“I think it is so important to go back to the birthplace of opera as a young singer,” Young said about performing in Italy. “It gives you a new perspective. Although singing in North America is amazing, it is kind of recognized differently in Europe. It [opera] has such a long and rich history and it gives you a new perspective for sure.”
Young is gearing up to complete a Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music Performance at the University of California-San Diego.
“Twentieth- and 21st-century music is something I am so passionate about,” Young said. “It’s something I am looking forward to specializing in and diving into. I’ve had the luxury of being able to do a voice undergrad, an opera masters and now I get to do a contemporary music doctorate.”
She will attend UCSD on a full scholarship and looks forward to immersing herself in the southern California music scene.
“The new music scene in San Diego is absolutely just blowing up,” Young said. “There are amazing things going on there for modern music and I am so excited.”
Young sings Saturday at St. Andrew’s at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, please visit operananaimo.ca.