by Carol Garrard
The Opera Guild has once more teamed with the UA Voice and Theater Program and the Jewish Community Center to fill the J’s lovely outdoor space with beautiful music at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30. The program features excerpts from two unusual contemporary operas, performed by voice students under the direction of Cynthia Stokes, Director of the UA Opera Theater and Artistic Director of the San Diego Opera. An aria concert by Fred Fox School of Music faculty members follows, and it’s all capped off by light refreshments and the opportunity to chat with students and faculty. Tickets are $10 through the JCC (520-299-3000) or at the door.
The Sculpture Garden is ideal for the fluid staging and rapid pace of both operas excerpted: La hija de Rappaccini, by Mexican composer Daniel Catán (1949-2011), and Speed Dating Tonight!, by American Michael Ching (born 1958). Neither opera has been previously presented in Arizona, but UA Opera Theater will mount a free fully staged site-specific production of La hija on November 10 and 11, in the UA Environment and Natural Resources 2 Bldg.
La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini’s Daughter) is set in Renaissance Padua, where Dr. Rappaccini’s garden is tended by his beautiful daughter Beatriz, who was raised on the same poisonous plants that she cares for. When a young student falls in love with her, drama ensues. See our October 2018 Guild Voice for more on the opera and UA’s innovative staging.
In a completely different mood, Speed Dating Tonight! imagines a contemporary bar hosting a session of speed dating. Each participant expresses his or her thoughts and emotions in a brief aria, giving us an intense view of the character. Things turn serious, then zany. For some daters, the evening is their worst nightmare. For others, there is hope of a romantic future. Each one’s future lies within our own engagement and imagination. It promises to be riveting.
As the finale to our program, members of the UA voice faculty will sing some of the best-loved arias in opera; which ones are up to the audience. Here’s how it works: each artist will offer to sing one of two arias. Audience members then “vote” for the aria they prefer, by pledging a dollar amount to our grant and scholarship fund for student singers. The “votes” are then tallied and the aria with the larger total sum is performed. Donations are tax-deductible.
So do not miss a unique musical experience. Mark October 30th on your calendar today!