SUU Opera students are opening their hearts to love's triumph and heartache in a dynamic double-bill performance: "Love Is Where You Find It" and "Speed Dating Tonight!: A Comic Opera in One Act" on November 13-16.
In a unique operatic pairing, the classic scenes opera and musical theatre scenes of "Love Is Where You Find It" depict romance in its many iterations over the centuries, while Michael Ching’s new contemporary opera, "Speed Dating Tonight!" spotlights a comic exploration of modern day wooing.
Beyond the great variety in performances that audiences will surely enjoy, music professor Carol Modesitt says the production has been just as dynamic and enjoyable for its student performers, many of whom are enjoying the challenge of multiple and very diverse roles over the many selections within the love-themed compilation performance.
“It is, of course, imperative for students to perform traditional opera scenes because they have stood the test of time," explains Modesitt, "But I also feel that it is important for students to experience new music that is being written in the twenty-first century."
"Speed Dating Tonight!" is a one-act, comic opera that portrays the obvious and more subtle humor in a speed dating night at a bar. Composer Michael Ching is best known for his comic opera, "Buoso's Ghost." At SUU, audiences may remember the SUU Opera's 2000 production of Ching's "Out of the Rain, which Modesitt says was popular among performers and audiences alike. SUU Opera's students will now be the first troupe in the state to perform Ching's latest venture, "Speed Dating Tonight!"
"Our students can easily identify with many of these characters and are actually having fun bringing the characters to life,” says Modesitt, who anticipates the production will reach far beyond the standard opera enthusiast's interests.
Given the manner in which "Speed Dating Tonight!" is composed, Modesitt has also enjoyed the more contemporary production and the great deal of freedom she has had to tailor the performance both to her audience's interests and actors' strengths.
On the more traditional side, "Love Is Where You Find It" features popular opera and musical theatre numbers, including “Mistress Ford and Mistress Page Duet” from Otto Nicolai’s "The Merry Wives of Windsor," three duets from Mozart’s "Marriage of Figaro," “Three Little Maids from School” from Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert’s "The Mikado," “Agony” from Stephen Sondheim’s "Into the Woods," and “Pa–, pa–, pa– (Papageno and Papagena’s duet)" from Emanuel Schikaneder and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s "The Magic Flute."
Carol Ann Modesitt stage directs all these scenes and the one-act opera, with musical direction by Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel and Dr. Willem van Schalkwyk.
Performances run November 13-16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Thorley Recital Hall in the SUU Music Building. General admission tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for SUU Faculty and Staff, and $3 for children. SUU Students are free with a valid student I.D.
Student performers, who appear in both "Speed Dating Tonight!" and the selected classical scenes, include Rebecca Dayley, Emilee Hales, James Harris, Luke Johnson, Jayson LeBaron, Lindsey Lopez, Emma McGuire, Christina Meikle, Annie Powell, Janese Shaw, Sarah Stout, Jocelyn Taylor and Sara Thorson.