RIO GRANDE – Voice students of the Berry School of Fine Arts at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College will perform a pair of short operas by Gian Carlo Menotti this weekend in the Bob Evans Farms Hall rotunda.
The first performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 with a finale at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. Each show is free and open to the public with beverages and snacks provided.
“It’s a good opportunity for students to get to perform classical musical theater in there intended medium,” Rio Music Department Coordinator Dr. Chris Kenney said. “When opera started that was the popular entertainment. In the 19th Century, these were the pop stars of the day.”
Rio voice professor Valerie Tanner will direct and perform in each opera — “The Telephone” and “The Medium.” The productions also feature four Rio students, Lucia Colley, Erica Cuckler, Aryn Gritter and Andy Knipp – and former student Levi Hornsby.
“The Telephone” is a 25-minute light and humorous piece performed by Gritter and Knipp. Gritter, a sophomore Music Comprehensive student, plays Lucy, who continually answers every call as Ben (Knipp) anxiously waits to propose.
“Menotti was a composure who liked to put something between two people who try to get together,” Tanner said. “He is a contemporary composer, so it’s not as melodic as what most people would consider a traditional opera. These pieces were written to be together.”
“The Medium” is a two-act production with a darker nature, as a psychic mother (Tanner) mistakenly murders a mute boy (Hornsby) in love with her daughter (Lucia).
“The Telephone” was written as a curtain raiser for the “The Medium,” which was too short for most opera theaters.
“I’ve never actually performed an opera, but I’ve always wanted to,” said Gritter, a sophomore Music Comprehensive major. “Its been challenging. But it’s also been a lot of fun, so it was a good challenge.”
For more information about the University of Rio Grande, visit Rio.edu or call 800-282-7201.