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Opera Studio to present ‘Opera Imagined–Myths and Morality’

ISSUED: 30 September 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Opera Studio will present “Opera Imagined–Myths and Morality,” Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 6 at 3 p.m. in the Frank Center Theater.

The program of opera scenes whose characters are drawn from Greek mythology, fairy tales, political satirists, and the Apocrypha of the Bible will be sung predominantly in Italian with supertitles in English projected at the performances.

The evening begins with a large scene from Gluck’s “Orpheus and Euridice,” which explores the torment Orpheus experiences when he leads Euridice back from the underworld on the condition that he must not look at her or he will lose her forever.

The program also includes a scene from “Susannah,” written by American composer Carlisle Floyd. This opera is a modern retelling of the story from the apocryphal book of Daniel in which lecherous voyeurs falsely accuse Susanna of promiscuity.

Scenes from Mozart’s operas including “Porgi amor” from “Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)” and “Cosi fan tutte” will feature Shepherd’s brightest, most promising singers.

Dr. Robert Tudor, director of vocal activities and chair of the music department at Shepherd, will direct the scenes with musical direction by Barbara Irvine, a music adjunct faculty member with more than 30 years experience as a theater and classical musician. Tudor said that when rehearsals begin he asks the performers why they are on stage, what happened before they entered, and what do they want?

“It’s my passion to help them discover the answers, and more importantly, how to communicate that to the audience credibly,” he said.

Many of the scenes presented employ the Italian bel canto singing techniques, which include technical execution of rapid scalar passages with virtuosity.

Since the spring, many of the students have been preparing scenes from Rossini’s operas “L’Italiana In Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), “La Cenerentola (Cinderella), and “Il Barbieri di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville).”

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students 18 and under, and free for Shepherd students and Friends of Music MAC cardholders. Admission and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and advance reservations are not taken. The box office opens one hour before curtain. For more information call 304-876-5555.

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