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A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
If you're looking for something different to do this weekend, perhaps a night at the opera is in order, courtesy of the music department at Southeast Missouri State University's production of "The Marriage of Figaro."
Director Tim Schmidt, who also plays the title role, said this production "is a perfect introduction for someone to opera."
This opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart focuses on Figaro and his quest for the Count's permission to be married and his ultimate collaboration with the Countess to expose as Count a womanizer. It is a three-hour production with an intermission.
Mozart, a German-speaking Austrian, composed the opera in Italian. However, this version will be presented in English. Schmidt said there are some minor differences in presentation when switching languages but the essence of "Figaro" is left intact.
"The biggest switch for singers is the vowels, how they're set on different notes because some vowels are easier to sing on some notes," Schmidt said.
He said there were times when the English translation had to be creatively reworked to get to a more singable text that's comfortable for both the singer and the audience. Southeast sophomore Jacob Alexander plays the part of the Count. This will be Alexander's first full-staged opera.
"I've done small one-act operas and things like that," he said. "But never a big Mozart aria or any this big."
He said he expects a large turnout based on the crowd sizes and support for other classical music and baroque chamber music recitals.
Senior Laura Pace plays the Countess. This will be her first time in that role, but she is familiar with the opera.
"I had been involved with 'The Marriage of Figaro' when we went to the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and performed scenes from the opera," she said.
In addition to performing, the students are involved behind the scenes with set construction and painting. The faculty is heavily involved as well.
"I'm wearing a lot of different hats," said Dr. Chris Goeke, chair of the music department. "I'm conducting the music, and I'm helping coordinate technical aspects of the production -- ordering costumes, finding scenery."
Goeke said that when some people think of opera, their eyes just glaze over, but it's worth stepping outside a comfort zome.
"'The Marriage of Figaro' is actually quite funny. It is in English so people will get the humor," Goeke said.
"The Marriage of Figaro" will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.
Tickets are $8 at the River Campus Box Office or by calling (573) 651-2265.