The Delta State University Opera will present “A Night of Opera Scenes” Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus. A grouping of various scenes will introduce major works from the operatic stage.
The program will begin with a scene from “Hansel and Gretel”by Engelbert Humperdinck. Kate Harbaugh, freshman from Byram, and Melissa Joiner, freshman from Silverhill, Ala., will be singing the roles of Hansel and Gretel. They will be joined by Dominique Smith, sophomore from Greenville portraying their Mother Gertrude.
The second offering on the program will be a scene from the well-known opera “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Presenting a comical picture of courtly life will be Keila Rone, sophomore from Hernando, Chiquita Allen, sophomore from Shelby, Ben Holley, senior from Memphis, Tenn., Tyrek McKinley, freshman from Greenville, and Jeanna Wilkes, freshman from Hernando.
A welcome offering in the operatic repertoire will be presented in two scenes from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” Christopher Meerdink, assistant professor of Music at Delta State, and Sarah Eads, senior from Hernando, will be singing the lead roles of the star-crossed and yearning lovers, Tamino and Pamina, respectively.
They will be joined by Johnathan Williams, sophomore from Forrest City, Ark., as the lovable bird-catcher Papageno. Heather Bunkley, sophomore from Pearl, Robin Passer Washington from Cleveland, and Katie Gibson, sophomore from Summerdale, Ala., will be singing the roles of the three ladies. The kindhearted three spirits will be played by Geraldlynn Williams, Patricia Thomas, and Brittany Moxley, all freshmen from Greenville. McKinley will complete the cast for these scenes.
Holley, baritone and Delta State Opera veteran, will sing his final performance with the Delta State Opera as he portrays the role of the loving father Germont in Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.” He will be joined in this cameo performance by Meerdink singing the role of Germont’s son Alfred.
The final offering of the evening will be an extended scene from the powerful 20th century opera “The Consul” by Gian Carlo Menotti. This work premiered in 1950 during the Cold War, but its story is still relevant in today’s world. Set in an unnamed European country with an oppressive regime, the action focuses on the main character’s efforts to get a visa to join her husband in another country.
Michael White, columnist for The Independent (London) writes, “The Consul” is a nightmare-thriller of an opera. Menotti has an instinctive feel for high suspense, and what he created in “The Consul” is Hitchcock with recitatives. But mostly this is music-theater of unnerving power with a climactic Act 2 aria that stops the show, your heart, and your disbelief.”
Teri Herron, assistant professor of music at Delta State, will be heard as the main character of Magda. She will be joined by Lindsey Roy, junior from Greenville, as the cool and detached Secretary; Crystal Howard, senior from Clarksdale, sings the emotionally supportive role of the Mother; and Washington, sings the role of the Foreign Woman. The ensemble is completed by Holley, Williams, Latoya Calhoun, sophomore from Cleveland, and Tara Rowe, sophomore from Lake Village, Ark.,, singing the roles of various people in the consulate’s waiting room.
For “The Consul,” Menotti won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize in Music and the 1950 New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Musical.
Mary Lenn Buchanan, professor of music and Delta State University Opera Director, said the evening opera can complement Cleveland’s Christmas parade on Thursday.
“We invite everyone to enjoy the Cleveland Christmas Parade and then complete the evening with a variety of operatic scenes,” Buchanan said. “There is something to interest everyone – comedy, tragedy, and a strong political statement.”
Kumiko Shimizu, assistant professor of music and coach/accompanist for the Delta State Opera will be providing the accompaniment for all of the productions.
The production is free to the public, and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. For more information, please contact the Delta State Music Department at (662) 846-4615.