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UAF Opera Workshop presents Menotti double bill

Submitted by Linda Harriger
Phone: (907) 474-7555

03/22/06

On Saturday, March 25, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Opera Workshop will present performances of two Gian Carlo Menotti operas, "The Telephone" and "The Medium." The fully staged production, under the direction of Associate Professor John Hopkins, will begin at 8 p.m. in the Charles W. Davis Concert Hall on the UAF campus. Tickets are available at the music department office and at the door. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, and military.

"The Telephone" is a one-act 20-minute opera buffa for two singers. Lucy, sung by Amy Horstman, has just moved to New York City and has comfortably settled into her small apartment. She spends most of her time on the telephone, and when her boyfriend, Ben, sung by Dean Shannon, visits her intending to propose, the telephone keeps ringing, interrupting Ben every time he is about to pop the question. Eventually, Ben realizes that the telephone is not only Lucy's means of remaining connected to the world but also a defense mechanism. Ben has to devise other means of penetrating this shield.

"The Medium" is set in a dingy flat in postwar Rome. Baba, sung by Gwendolyn Brazier, is an aging and impoverished woman who earns her meager income by posing as a clairvoyant and holding weekly séances. Her daughter Monica, sung by Sarah Reger, aids in the charade by posing as the ghosts called forth in the séance. Also helping is Toby, a mute played by Chris Malen, who operates all the special effects. Two guests, Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau sung by Dean Shannon and Amy Horstman, arrive for their weekly séance and are joined by a newcomer, Mrs. Nolan, sung by Dorothy Freeman-Whitig. The business continues until, during a séance, she feels a cold hand touching her throat. She panics and sends the guests away. She distrusts Toby and tries to get him to admit that it was he who touched her. When her customers return for another session, she tells them that she is a fake and demonstrates her tricks, but her clients protest that she must be real, that it was not Monica's voice they heard. She drives them out and chases Toby out as well. Baba begins to unravel mentally, and the opera comes to a tragic end.

Bruce Hanson is the stage director for "The Medium." Trudy Harris, piano, supplies the orchestra for "The Telephone," and Harris and Paul Krejci join for "The Medium."

For more information, call (907) 474-7555.