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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