Five Successful Scenes

Opera was heard this past Tuesday in the Thorpe Langley Auditorium and variety was the main attraction.  As part of a workshop in preparations for a longer production, Dr. Vicki Fingalson’s students put on a show featuring five scenes from five separate operas.

“The students inevitably exceeded my expectations,” replied Fingalson.

The first was the opening scene from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr..  After a light moment of piano, a clear, moving tenor from the auditorium’s balcony was heard.  On stage, a lady sang aloud an invitation, starting cheerful before falling forlorn, presenting excellent facial expression.  Combining both dialogue and singing, this piece was comical and fancy.

Next, was Old Maid and the Thief by Gian Carlo Menotti.  Two lovely ladies performed a bracing duet which occasionally involved awkward silence . . . but with effect.

Before Victor Herbert’s The Red Mill began, singer Sam Gray and the audience participated in a little breathing exercise, something invaluable if you are to ever perform opera.  As for the scene, it involved six colorful ladies singing a peppy number titled “Mignonette.”  With top notch harmony, it was a joy to watch and hear.

Memories of Disney were brought to the stage with music from Beauty and the Beast.  The music of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman were sung by Gaston, a large pompous with a remarkably fine voice, and Belle, who’s just trying to read her book.

Before the final piece, Dr. Fingalson gave thanks to Meghan O’Toole-Gott and Emily Vanda, two longtime members of the Opera Workshop who are both graduating this December and are together moving to Chicago.

“Glamorous Life” from A Little Night Music was, indeed, glamorous, both in voice and pose.  Having the most members, this piece was performed with effortless teamwork, presenting a classy tone that concluded the event elegantly.

Michael Shaw -- The Stinger
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