Monday November 5, 2007

Full Orchestra to Accompany Student Opera

The University of Dayton Opera Workshop will mark two milestones as it presents scenes from four comic Italian masterpieces.

The 14-member opera workshop will perform at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, in Kennedy Union's Boll Theatre. The highlight of each evening will be a full production of Puccini’s one-act comic masterpiece Gianni Schicchi, sung in English.

UD music professor Linda Snyder will conduct a 23-piece orchestra of students, faculty and guest artists to accompany the performance, marking the first time the workshop is accompanied by a full orchestra.

"We are performing the work as it was intended, and I always feel singers sing their best with orchestra accompaniment," Snyder said, calling it a major step forward for the university opera program.

With this production, the UD opera workshop also celebrates the upcoming 90th anniversary of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918.

The program will also include scenes — performed in English — from Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage, Verdi's Falstaff and Donizetti's Don Pasquale.

UD voice professor David Sievers will stage the production and sing the leading tenor role. Senior music major Michael Blocksidge will sing the role of the unscrupulous but clever and lovable Gianni Schicchi, and senior music major Shannon LaRue will sing the role of his daughter.

John Benjamin is the pianist and assistant musical director for the production, with Daniel Behnke providing technical direction.

Adult admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. Children are free, and there is no charge for UD students, faculty and staff with ID.

For more information, contact the Department of Music at 937-229-3936.