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Instilling confidence in her career



Published: Sat, October 28, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former Miss Ohio plays Barbarina in 'Figaro.'

By GUY D'ASTOLFO

VINDICATOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Amanda Beagle didn't win the 2005 Miss America Pageant, but she did walk away with something even more valuable: confidence.

"Anytime I get nervous now, I say to myself 'You've walked in front of thousands of people in a bikini and high heels. You can do this,'" the Howland native said in a recent interview.

In the year after the pageant, Beagle -- who was Miss Ohio in 2004 -- also absorbed a wealth of information about entertainment marketing. She's putting the knowledge to use in her own career.

An operatic singer who won the talent award at the Miss America Pageant, the soprano, has teamed with her fianc & eacute;, tenor Craig Raymaley, to form bel Duetto. They sing contemporary classical music.

They released a CD in August and are booking shows throughout the region and aboard a cruise ship. Bel Duetto's next area appearance will be Nov. 18 at St. Anthony's Church in Youngstown's Brier Hill neighborhood.

'Figaro' role

Beagle, a vocal music graduate of Youngstown State University, can also be seen in Opera Western Reserve's Nov. 10 production of "Le Nozze di Figaro" at Stambaugh Auditorium. She plays the role of Barbarina.

It's her first appearance with OWR, but she's well-versed in opera. Beagle has held the lead soprano role in several musical comedies and operas, including "La Boheme," "Xerxes," "The Old and the Thief" and "The King and I." She most recently appeared in the Greensburg (Pa.) American Opera's production of "The Gift of the Magi."

She has also been a featured soloist with the Packard Concert Band, Stephen Foster Chorus and the Seraphim Chorus and Orchestra.

A winner of both the Youngstown Opera Guild's Giorgio Tozzi Scholarship and the Marvin Hamlisch Award, Beagle studied for two months with the Opera Theatre of Lucca, in Italy, where she said she learned to speak "a little" Italian.

Her own sandwich

While Beagle is still building her singing career, she's already left her mark in another field.

On the menu at Jimmy's Italian Specialties on Belmont Avenue in Liberty is The Rosina ("the small rose"), which is billed as "Miss Ohio's Favorite." A photo of Beagle is next to the item.

Irene Occhibove, one of the owners of Jimmy's, said her family has known Beagle for years, and created the sandwich in her honor. Beagle helped create the sandwich, which is made of rosemary ham (a gourmet Italian product), fresh mozzarella, hot peppers and roasted red peppers on Italian bread.

To buy bel Duetto's CD, go to www.belduetto.com.




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