Minimalism on stage

CNU Opera Workshop presented ‘Marriage, Mayhem & Magic’ Tuesday night in Peebles Theater

With a packed schedule of performances and events all semester, the theater and music departments never cease to provide unique entertainment, even going into the last few weeks of the semester. 

Tuesday night, the CNU Music Department presented “Marriage, Mayhem & Magic,” scenes from three of Mozart’s well-known operas, in Peebles Theater. 

Students in Dr. John McGuire’s Opera Workshop class sang arias and duets from Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Accompanied only by Dr. Seung-Hye Kim on the piano and using minimal staging, the singer’s voices were the main highlight of the event. 

Subtitles and short summaries were provided for context, as the songs were sung in their original Italian and German lyrics. 

While there was no shortage of student talent on stage, one of the most striking aspects of each opera performance was the minimalist, yet powerful approach. With almost a bare stage, some costuming and only piano accompaniment, the voices became the central component above all else. Operas today are not performed in this manner, but it serves as an interesting way to focus on the words, tone and other elements of the singer’s vocals. 

Throughout the night, the five students sang nine pieces, covering a variety of characters and vocal ranges for the audience. Each singer brought something to the stage, even if it was as small as hiding behind a plant. In one particular piece from Le Nozze di Figaro (“Deh vieni, non tadar”), Fiagaro (Kyle Sheridan) hides behind their only stage piece, amusing the audience with some exaggerated facial expressions. 

The variety of songs—ranging from sorrowful, playful and passionate—captured the unique style and genre. In the final duet featuring Papageno and Papagena, the singers moved and danced almost the entire time, making their somewhat hilarious performance even more impressive. 

If anything, the performance made me more excited for the Fall opera, which is sure to be exciting and full of talent.

~Kristen Ziccarelli, A&E Editor~

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