(Michael J. Lutch)

Leigh Wilson of Ayer, 16, a percussionist, will be among more than 100 young musicians from the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras performing Bizet's popular opera, "Carmen."

The internationally recognized youth musical organization will perform its 11th consecutive, full-length opera in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University on Jan. 28. It is the only youth orchestra in the US to do so. Under the leadership of BYSO Music Director, Federico Cortese, the Boston Youth Symphony will perform "Carmen" as part of its 60th anniversary season.

BYSO's young musicians will have the unique opportunity to work alongside professional singers and a full chorus. The illustrious and international cast includes Soprano Ketevan Kemoklidze, past winner of the Placido Domingo Operalia, taking on the role of Carmen, tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven, 1st year Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera, as Don José and Franco Pomponi as bullfighter Escamillo.

"The performance of a full opera by a youth orchestra is a remarkable and rare accomplishment of which I am very proud," said Cortese.

"Opera is a fantastic tool for the musical and personal growth of our students because of the rich and intricate musical and psychological storylines that weave in and out of the music in ways not seen in a standard symphony."


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