Opera Workshop Class’s First Performance

Kira Budge
The Paw Print

This semester, a new class opened up for those interested in opera performance. Directed by vocal teacher Dr. Christine Keitges, Opera Workshop is a by-audition class that focuses on various operatic elements and allows the students to perform opera pieces solo and in ensembles. This Wednesday, March 6, the Opera Workshop students had their first performance. Their dress rehearsal on March 5 was also open to the public, due to a number of conflicts with various other events Wednesday night. Though sparsely attended, the dress rehearsal went well.

The performance encompassed a number of operatic works, from Mozart to Gilbert and Sullivan. A number of the central pieces were solo arias done by the students. Sandwiching them were a few sets of performances with groups or duos completing full scenes from operas. In general, the pieces were very well-done. A couple of the performances came out stifled, but most of them were very sweet, intense, and meaningful. All of the singers had good voices, which have improved across the class time, and the pieces were well selected. The piano occasionally got off of the singing, but considering the difficulty of some of the pieces and the time had to prepare, that is understandable. The costumes had obviously been thrown together and a couple of them could have used some extra work, but in general they were decent.

A few highlights of the performance stood out. This included a duet by David Webb and Kacia Schmidt, “Pa-pa-pa-pa”, from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Their performance was sweet and heartrending, with genuine acting and good singing. “The Black Swan” from The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti was sung by Michelle Vance, who came across in her performance as intense, frightening, and heartbroken. An amusing part of the performance was in Julia Nichols and Kacia Schmidt’s duet “Gesundheit…Woe” from The Stoned Guest, by P.D.Q. Bach, which contrasted a ‘real-life’ story of two opera performers with an opera-within-an-opera about two women lost in the woods. Another fun part came with “As some day it may happen” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, which spotlighted Erik Thurston along with all of the male operatic performers.

The performance concluded with a performance by all of the singers spotlighting Martin Jay McKee, with “I am the very model of a Modern Master General” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, which is a rather well-known and amusing piece. It came as an affective and amusing ending that stuck in people’s minds afterwards.

The performers were gifted and the entire concert fairly well put together. This class and the related performances appears very promising. The next time this concert comes around, anyone with interest in music and theater would do well to attend. Also up on the block for the music department is student recitals, which are every Wednesday at 2pm in Leon Memorial Hall. Come support your music students whenever you can!

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