UMass opera star awarded 2014 Five College Lorna Peterson Prize

University of Massachusetts Amherst student and performer Liana Gineitis has been awarded the fourth annual Five College Lorna M. Peterson Prize in recognition of her talent, hard work and collaborative spirit in the Five College Opera, Street Scene.

[Peterson Prize 2014]

“Liana Gineitis is a remarkably talented performer, both vocally and dramatically,” wrote Amherst College musical director Mark Swanson in his letter nominating Gineitis. “Her vocal technique is secure and reliable, and her dramatic instincts utterly natural.”

Swanson worked with Gineitis (pictured at right with Lorna Peterson) on the six-week rehearsal and production of Street Scene. She was praised for being a superb performer and for her mentorship and support of other cast members. Of her work, Swanson added, “She has found a perfect balance between styles and genres, and interpreted her role so realistically that she has become the true dramatic and musical heart of this work.”

“This prize will support the continuation of my opera career,” Gineitis wrote in her personal statement letter. “Due to the collaborative nature of this Five College experience, I now have the confidence and courage to make a unique statement with this piece as I take one step closer to the competitive professional world of opera.”

The Peterson Prize is named for Lorna Peterson, who worked at Five Colleges for 29 years, 19 of them as executive director. It honors Peterson’s commitment to collaboration as a means of advancing understanding and expanding opportunities, especially for students. The $500 prize is awarded annually based on nominations from Five College programs. Four other students were also nominated for the prize: Mount Holyoke College junior Mariami (Marie) Margishvli, Amherst College senior Danielle Trevino, Smith College junior Sara Stoudt, and University of Massachusetts Amherst senior Juliana van Roggen.

See more photos from the event here.