The school of music and SHSU Opera performed ‘Unforgettable Opera Moments’ this past weekend in the Recital Hall.
‘Unforgettable Opera Moments’ included scenes from ‘La Boheme’ by Giacomo Puccini, ‘Il Barbiere Siviglia’ by Gioacchino Rossini, ‘The Merry Widow’ by Franz Lehar, ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ by Giuseppe Verdi, ‘Falstaff’ by Giuseppe Verdi, ‘Les Contes d’ Hoffmann’ by Jacques Offenbach and ‘L’Elisir d’ Amore’ by Gaetano Donizetti.
Director Dr. Dawn Padula said, “We chose ‘Unforgettable Opera Moments’ because it’s hard to get a full production in just three months, and we wanted to allow for more students to be showcased.”
Auditions for the opera began before school even started. Padula said the students have been working hard every since.
‘La Boheme,’ an Italian opera, is about reuniting two lovers. The cast included Brannon Barnaba, Sarah Hardin, Skip McLinden, David Bracken, Brendan Emig, Audrey Jenke, Adam Bishea, Eric Bowden and the Opera Workshop Chorus.
Next was the upbeat performance by Matthew Kent and Matt Wallace, ‘Il Baribiere di Siviglia.’ The Italian sung opera is about two men who are putting together a scheme to get a girl. Figaro, played by Wallace, comes up with a plan to disguise his friend as a soldier to gain entry in to Rosina’s house.
Junior vocal performance major Wallace said, “We had to have our music memorized in just four weeks. We had to know every word’s translation and be convincing with it.”
‘The Merry Widow,’ the only opera sung in English. It is about group of men trying to figure out women. The male cast, Eric Bowden, Matt Wallace, Brendan Emig, David Bracken, Christian Clark, Skip McLinden and Matthew Kent, danced around stage in a hilarious performance. The men even joined arms and formed a kick line that received a standing ovation.
David Bracken, music education major said, “To put on an opera like this you need a lot of time and talent, and we have a lot of talent around Sam Houston.”
Also performed was the Italian opera ‘Falstaff.’ Falstaff is a knight that has debt to pay and devises a plan to scam two women with love letters. The two women begin to gossip and soon find out about the letters and design their own plan of deceit. Sarah Hardin, Rachel Saines, Jennifer Johnson and Sheerah Koloroutis made up the all women cast.
‘Les Contes d’ Hoffman,’ a French sung opera, is a about Dr. Miller, played by Brendan Emig. He murders Antonia’s mother played by Jennifer Johnson and then torments singer Antonia, played by Blair Doerage until she sings herself to death. Violinist Erin Daniel also performed in the scene.
The evening ended with ‘L’Elisir d’ Amore’ an Italian sung opera about a young peasant named Nemorino, played by Christian Clark, who buys a fake love potion. He uses it on Andina, played by Audrey Jenke. His plan only back fires when Andina agrees marry Belcore, played by David Bracken. Melanie Hodge, guest conductor Stephaine Handal and the Opera Workshop Chorus also performed in finale.
Dr. Padula said, “The best part about directing ‘Unforgettable Opera Moments’ is watching the entire process of the kids and then seeing the final product. These kids just have this amazing energy.”