Opera students take a note of history
Opera will take a historic turn this week at Chapman as students rehearse for their newest production, “An Opera Odyssey,” which opens Friday and continues through Sunday.
The Conservatory of Music is preparing for part two of the show, which began in fall last year, to educate students on the history of opera. Peter Atherton, associate professor of music and director of operatic studies, is directing the production, which will showcase a cast of 42 vocal performance students who will rotate roles throughout the three nights.
“It is very important for students and viewers to be educated on the history of this music,” Atherton said. “It gives opera so much more depth and appreciation.”
This year’s show will trail through operatic history with a sequence of seven separate scenes, each with a preface to explain opera’s history from the classical era to the late 20th century.
Atherton has directed productions showcasing operatic history since 2001. A recent trip to Italy inspired him to recreate European architecture for the Chapman production.
He said this year’s performance in Salmon Recital Hall is a recreation of “Le Fenice,” an opera house in Venice.
The conservatory was given a budget of $9,000 for the show, which was spent on props, costumes, set pieces and a new backdrop, Atherton said.
Junior vocal performance major Kevin Gino will perform as Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Boheme” Saturday and as Sam in Floyd’s “Suzannah” all three nights.
“We are covering a wide range of skits,” Gino said. “The long amount of time opera music has been around the style may differ, but the purpose is unchangeable.”
Gino said the variety of performers in the show will be educational for musical students.
“As a vocal performance major myself, I like to be involved and watch other performances than my own,” he said.
Junior vocal performance major Dan Fister said he will attend the performance because he enjoyed the first show last year, which sold out for all three shows.
“I am excited to compare the history of opera’s progression from this year’s performance to last year’s,” Fister said. “I think the evolution is going to be very interesting.”
Oct. 19 and 20: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21: 3 p.m. $15 general admission $10 senior citizens and students Tickets sold at the door, (714) 997-6812 or www.chapman.edu/COPA