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Monday, March 8, 2021

Life + Arts

Moores opens two operas


The Moores School of Music is opening and alternating two operas this week – Lucio Silla by W. A. Mozart and Florencia en el Amazonas, by Daniel Catan.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles, the opera Lucio Silla is about a Roman dictator by the same name who falls for his arch nemesis Cecilio’s wife.

‘Throughout the opera, Cecilio tries to get back to his wife, Giunia, who Silla has tried to (keep) for himself by telling her that (Cecilio) is dead,’ music performance graduate Shannon Langman said.

A Houston premiere, Lucio Silla stars some of the finest singers of the Moores School of Music. The cast includes voice performance graduate students Andrew Peck and Steven Uliana, who share the role of Silla. Vocal performance graduate Jennifer Noel and music performance graduate Shannon Langman share the role of Cecilio.

‘This is a quality opera. It has a good plot and it moves very quickly. It is very early Mozart, so it isn’t done quite as often and this is the Houston premiere of the opera, so it will be fun to hear Mozart’s music that influenced his later work, such as Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro,’ music education and vocal performance senior Briana Kruse said.

Cinna, the ambiguous adversary of Silla and ally of Cecilio will be played by vocal performance senior Gwendolyn Alfred during Friday’s performance and music education and music performance Rebecca Weinmann will take over the role during Sunday’s performance. Celia, the sister of Silla, will be played by graduate student Abigail Charlton during Friday’s performance and Kruse will take over the role on Sunday.

Sillia’s advise, Aufidio, will be filled by vocal performance senior Frankie Espinoza on Friday and voice graduate student Jack Beetle on Sunday.

‘Aufidio is a really neat character. I’ve never played an in depth character before. He’s very manipulative, sinister, selfish and controlling. It’s such a fun role to play. It’s not every day that a tenor gets to play the bad guy,’ Espinoza said.

Lucio Silla runs for two days only, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Sunday at the Edythe Bates Old Moores Opera Center.

Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catan is an opera about an opera singer, soprano Florencia Grimaldi. Sung in Spanish with surtitles, Florencia details a trip down the Amazon and the havoc that ensues after a storm.

Commissioned by Daniel Catan of the Houston Grand Opera, this will be Florencia’s first production at UH, and its second production at a university.

Florencia opens at 7:30 p.m. today and plays Saturday through Monday at the Edythe Bates Old Moores Opera Center.

Reserved seating is available and tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and senior citizens.

Both operas are produced and directed by Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center.

Of Lucio Silla, ‘It’s Mozart’s earlier work. He wrote this opera while in his teens and it has beautiful arias. It’s such a neat show. I think there are characters that people can relate to in an extreme way. They’re over the top characters. Also, it would help to support your fellow UH students,’ Espinoza said.


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