Neighborhood rising star

Fame is both fleeting and fickle. It's some sort of combination of hard work and luck, the exact combination being different for everyone. One's rise can be slow or meteoric. And you only have a little control over how long you stay (or how many times you rise). Knowing all that, it's still exciting to see people get their chance.

Melody bumped into one of our neighbors the other day, and they said they had recently returned from Los Angeles. They were there to see their daughter Solea in a performance of West Side Story.

At the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Playing Maria.

As if that weren't exciting enough, this is her first job after graduating from the University of Michigan in May. Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the L.A. Philharmonic, saw one of her YouTube videos. Being such an unknown in the Los Angeles arts world, she was a good subject for the Los Angeles Times to interview her about her background and the role.

The performances are now in the past, and Solea got a great review, although it was tempered with the observation that Dudamel had a very apparent hand in shaping her approach to the role. Even with that, Mark Swed, the Times' music critic says she's an “overnight sensation” and that her casting was an “exceptional exception.”

Without doubt, Solea was very excited for this opportunity, as her parents must be. Way to go, and best of luck for a long, fruitful career.