By Bobinec, Greg on October 29, 2019.
The University of Lethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts is presenting an evening of opera performances by the U of L Opera Workshop on Friday and Saturday.
The auditioned course of advanced singers at the U of L have been working on a compilation of Italian-themed opera pieces titled “Viva Italia!,” which celebrates some of the most beloved and celebrated operas of all time.
“‘Viva Italia!’ is all under the umbrella of a loosely connected Italian theme, which is the cradle and birthplace of opera,” says Blaine Hendsbee, director. “We are doing the first opera that still fully exists and that is still performed today and it is from the early 1600s. We then time travel through the Baroque period, classical period with music from Mozart, and then we hit some of the big titles such as ‘Barber of Seville’ by Rossini, and Pouchkine, and then we have some lighter music, we have a piece from ‘Kiss Me Kate’ by Cole Porter.”
New to the Opera Workshop is transfer student Patrick Davis, who has taken on the challenge of opera for the first time. Davis says he wanted to continue his passion for singing while taking on other curricular activities and is happy Hendsbee suggested to him to join the workshop.
“Patrick is a transfer student and I knew that he had a beautiful voice,” says Hendsbee. “When I saw his audition I saw the potential but I wasn’t sure so I cast him in several of the scenes. He is a great stage actor but he has never combined the singing and acting element, but he is fantastic at it so I just kept giving him more.”
Another performer in the “Viva Italia!” performance, Krysia Ferguson, has been singing opera since the age of seven and says getting on stage is always a rush, but gaining the experience at the U of L gives the performers more experience for their resume.
“It has been good and really busy, it is definitely a challenge to balance all of your classes and rehearsals multiple times a week, but it is always fun and a rewarding challenge,” says Ferguson. “We all just like to perform, it is such a rush and it is so fun, but also everything you learn and getting this experience to put on your resume, so many music schools have a mix of undergraduate students and masters and we don’t really have master students in the voice program so the undergrad students actually get to sing roles and that is such a great thing to put on your resume.”
“Viva Italia!” will be running at the U of L Recital Hall Friday and Saturday, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the U of L Box Office, 403-329-2616, or online at ulethbridge.ca/tickets. Tickets are $20 for regular admission, $15 for seniors and alumni, and $12 for students. Be sure to also check out the fully staged annual operatic concert production at the end of January in collaboration with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra.
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