Wichita State News

WSU students take the stage for Opera Kansas festival

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Current and former Wichita State opera students will perform for the Opera Kansas One-Act Opera Festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 4-5, and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 6, at the Galichia Theatre in Wichita Collegiate School, 9115 E. 13th. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 children.

It's a family-friendly festival with two one-act operas featured. "The Schoolmaster" is a comic cantata by Georg Philipp Telemann for bass and children's chorus. "The Ring of the Fettucines" is a fun introduction to grand opera for children (and adults) that was conceived, composed and assembled by Dominic Meiman and Marie King, director of opera theatre at WSU.

Performances for the short program, estimated at one hour and 15 minutes with an intermission, will be in English. People are welcome to bring a picnic and relax on the lawn before the performance, King said.

In "The Schoolmaster," the schoolmaster is teaching the C major scale to his choir of elementary students. All goes well. But when he begins to teach them a fugue and they miscount, musical mayhem ensues. He berates them and eventually they get it right. The story ends in an extended aria and chorus in which all agree that anyone who doesn't know and love music is an insensitive lout.

WSU graduate Jarl Moreland portrays the schoolmaster. The Wichita Collegiate School Choir is cast as his student choir.

"The Ring of the Fettuccines" has been praised by critics around the country for its unique ability to charm and educate both children and adults. This 55-minute operatic pastiche tells a story of passion, power, mistaken identities and witchcraft, and involves a magic love potion that ultimately assures a happy ending for all in the Kingdom of Fettuccine. Set long ago and far away, the plot incorporates all the familiar elements of grand opera from the mezzo "trouser" role to the ubiquitous storm scene, all set to appropriate music "borrowed" from the standard repertory. A prologue introduces audiences to the vocal ranges of the six voice types, and sets the stage for the opera to follow.

There will be a door prize for anyone correctly identifying all 17 public domain operas from which the score is cheerfully lifted, King said.

In "The Ring of the Fettuccines," the role of Camilia is sung by soprano Amanda Brown; Princess Angelina is soprano Jessica Walkup; Tortoni is mezzo soprano Jennifer Weiman, who also portrays Paprika the Witch; Alfredo is tenor Aaron Short; Prince Riccardo is baritone Matthan Black; and King Gustav the Great is bass Marland Chang.

Musical direction and piano is by Tom Grubb, with string ensemble. Stage direction is by Edward Ehinger, Opera Kansas director.

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Created on Thursday, May 27, 2010; Last modified on Thursday, May 27, 2010