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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Musical talents to shine in operas


After a successful fall semester, the Moores Opera House presents two unique operas, “The Consul” and “The Barber of Seville,” that will offer drama and comedy to students. | Courtesy of Moores Opera Center

Presented by the Moores Opera Center, audiences can expect great productions of two upcoming and contrasting operas, “The Consul” and “The Barber of Seville.”

“The Consul” is a musical drama that discusses totalitarianism and bureaucracy with a libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti. “The Barber of Seville” is a comedic opera with music by Gioachino Rossini and a libretto by Cesare Sterbini.

Although the two may be different in genres and settings, both operas are classics to begin Moores’ winter repertoire.

Menotti’s “The Consul” premiered on Broadway in 1950, during the Cold War. The opera is a three-act piece set in a European country with an oppressive regime. The plot focuses on a young freedom fighter who runs from government agents and leaves his wife, mother and sick infant son.  His wife tries to obtain a Visa and faces obstacles at the consul’s office while he attempts to return home.

The opera is directed by opera veteran and doctoral student Lynda McKnight and Kalamazoo Symphony’s music director and guest conductor Raymond Harvey.

Moores Music Director Buck Ross said he believes strongly in the piece.

“It’s only one of the three operas we have performed more than twice,” Ross said. “It’s a terrific opera and a great work for our singers.”

Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” premiered in 1816 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. The opera consists of two acts and is based on the French comedy “Le Barbier de Seville.”  The story revolves around a young count, eager for the love of the beautiful Rosina. When the count realizes Rosina is guarded by the ward of old Dr. Bartolo, the young count, accompanied by his former servant Figaro, undergoes various disguises to win her affection.

“’The Barber of Seville’ has become part of our culture. Even those who are not familiar with the opera itself know ‘Figaro,’” Ross said. “It offers one astonishingly good piece of music after another. Just when you think it’s reached its high point, something else comes along that tops it.”

Ross will conduct the opera with Jake Sustaita as the assistant conductor.

Music business major Alauna Wilson said she looks forward to seeing the opera.

“The storyline reminds me a bit of Romeo and Juliet with a mix of the “Some Like it Hot” humor, due to the disguises,” Wilson said. “It’s a love story yet a comedy. I plan on being ready to laugh.”

The operas will be performed from Jan. 23 to 27 at the Moores Opera House. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors.

For more details on the Moores Opera Center, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/opera/.

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