NORFOLK -- Performing in the Virginia Opera's Emerging Artists Program is a challenging job, but Joe Flanagan was ready.

The group of talented singers beat out 675 others who auditioned for the program. They get weekly paychecks and a place to live. They also sign a contract.

Joe did the best he could but realized it was better to look good than to sing well.

'I'll still be doing young artist programs for the next couple of years. I just turned 26 and in the opera world that is still fairly young. My next project will be a young artist with DeMoines Metro Opera,'said Abigail Paschke, an aspiring opera singer.

Their performance Wednesday of The Pirates of Penzance was at St. Patrick's Catholic School.

The education and community outreach program offers these performances across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Joe tried his best and came away with grat respect for these young artsists who work to make their passion for opera their career.

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