Russian Background Helps Student Gain interest in Opera World
Published: Monday, March 7, 2011
Updated: Monday, March 7, 2011 15:03
"If I hadn't reconnected with my Russian heritage, I might never have made it here to William Paterson to study opera," said Iliya Roitman. "Opera is my passion and I couldn't be more excited to be doing what I love."
Roitman, a William Paterson University student, has a much more interesting story than one would imagine. After being born in Soviet Russia, Roitman and his family moved to Tel-Aviv, Israel, when he was just 3.
"It was just as you would imagine—a hot, vast desert," said Roitman. "And there wasn't a lot of water."
Roitman said he and his older brother struggled to assimilate to their new surroundings and ended up denying their Russian culture.
"My brother hated everything Russian," explained Roitman. "After a while he wouldn't use Russian products or anything like that, and he only spoke Hebrew. But since he was my older brother, I looked up to him and just sort of followed suit."
It wasn't until he was entering high school that Roitman began to appreciate his roots again.
"When I was 18, I started listening to Russian music and trying to get myself accustomed to the language again," he continued. "It was such a beautiful language; I couldn't believe I had rejected it for so long."
Today the 23-year-old is an RA in WPU's Century Hall and enjoys studying Russian music, literature, and movies. He is a music major and is performing in a production of the famous opera, Carmen, in Summit.