Athletes With Ripe Pipes Show It Ain't Over Until The "Fit" Lady Sings

Singer-athletes in the Florida Grand Opera abandon basketball courts for vocal cords -- namely, Soprano Lisette Oropesa and soprano coloratura Jeanette Vecchione, who portray Pamina and the Queen of the Night, in "The Magic Flute."

The idea to change careers came for Jeanette when she sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at halfcourt during a high school basketball game. So she traded basketball for the twinkling lights of the stage.

Playing the daughter of the Queen of the Night, soprano Lisette Oropesa, a self-professed lifelong "band geek" committed to shed at least 85 pound when teachers at the Metropolitan Opera's Young Artist Program warned her that her girth would limit her worth at a singing career.

Both sopranos have netted starring roles in Florida Grand Opera's "The Magic Flute," playing Thursday and Saturday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. "Now I'm addicted to staying healthy," says Oropesa.

Vecchione says she has played her part in the Mozart composed singspiel before, but even so, she never imagined an opera career a decade earlier, when her point-guard skills were so tight that even "college basketball teams were scouting me."