Thoughts and Ideas

I am an idea person. I very much enjoy brainstorming different possibilities and solutions and letting the creativity flow. I remember taking some random personality test years ago, and one of my strengths was coming up with ideas and being imaginative. However, I may be great at coming up with ideas but I don’t always … More Thoughts and Ideas


Hi there! Welcome to my blog! My name is Estarah Berciunas and I am an operatic soprano based in Kansas City. I’m so glad you made it to my page and have decided to join me on my journey of learning Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and creating, developing, and becoming Juliette. My desire is … More Welcome!


I believe it is important to take time to rest and break away from work. It creates space and gives the mind some time to really rest and let what you’ve studied and worked on settle in and percolate. I also think it’s really necessary to find a balance between self-discipline and hard work and … More Check-in

Telling the Story

Prologue: The chorus sets the scene of two rival families and their endless wars. Juliette appears and Romeo loves her – and these unfortunate lovers pay for their families’ age-old hatred.  Act One: Capulet’s ball Everyone attending the masked ball is having a great drunken time with each other. Tybalt hopes to impress Count Paris … More Telling the Story


Listening Before I jump into learning the music, I find that it’s really helpful and important to do some solid listening of the entire work before I even crack open the score. Both active and passive listening helps me get a good feel for the work as a whole, the trajectory of the story and … More SCORE PREP

King Harald’s Saga : Becoming King Harald (and seven other characters too)

About a year ago, I started learning and studying King Harald’s Saga by the British (and living!) composer Judith Weir. This grand opera for unaccompanied soprano includes three acts, an epilogue and eight different roles all sung by one soprano. It tells the epic tale of Harald Hardrada, a Viking king and warrior who fought … More King Harald’s Saga : Becoming King Harald (and seven other characters too)

Yoga, Movement, and Learning to Feel Comfortable in my own skin

In my last post, I reflected on how I move physically on stage. I was graceful, but it almost seemed too protected, reserved and unnatural. Watching more videos of myself as Juliette, I noticed that I really do seem a bit stiff. Maybe not everyone on stage or in the audience could tell, but I … More Yoga, Movement, and Learning to Feel Comfortable in my own skin

Charles Gounod

Charles Gounod was a French composer in the 19th century, born in 1818. When he was about five years old, his father died and to support the family Gounod’s mother started her own piano studio. This early experience with music fostered great interest, education and skill in Gounod.  In 1836, Gounod began attending the Paris … More Charles Gounod


My husband and I took a vacation to Chicago this past weekend, and it gave me time for some much needed rest and relaxation. It also created some space for reflection of this entire process and where I am with the role of Juliette.  Obviously with the pandemic, I have had a lot of time … More Reflections

Caroline Carvalho and nineteenth-century coloratura

I just finished reading the article “Caroline Carvalho and nineteenth-century coloratura” by Sean M. Parr, written in 2011. This was a fascinating article! Caroline Carvalho (aka Marie Miolan) was a French soprano in the mid-nineteenth century that created sixteen operatic roles between 1850 and 1867. Of the sixteen, five of those premieres were Gounod operas. … More Caroline Carvalho and nineteenth-century coloratura

Juliette’s Musical Transformation: Act III

While Act II is packed with a lengthy and intimate interaction between Romeo and Juliette, Act III is a little more straightforward and simple. It is an important moment because the couple gets married! This wedding scene is interesting because it is something that the librettists and Gounod created and added into the work. (In … More Juliette’s Musical Transformation: Act III

Coming of Age in Verona: Musical Examples

In my last post, I discussed Coppélia Kahn’s article “Coming of Age in Verona” in which she describes the rites of passages that both Romeo and Juliette are enduring throughout the story. The masculine rite of passage was to earn one’s manhood through violence or love, while young women were expected to symbolize purity, beauty, youth, … More Coming of Age in Verona: Musical Examples