Shakespearean-based operas take the stage

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    By Adrian Call

    Vikings and large, screaming women will not occupy the Madsen Recital Hall stage this week. Wagnerian operas with horns and pointed brassieres will not be entertaining either.

    But opera will still fill the evenings with culture and talent as students in the vocal performance program present a variety of Shakespearean-based opera scenes through Saturday.

    ?People expect operas to be boring with fat women singing in vibrato, [but] most are written to be dramatically convincing and touching,? said Jason Vest, a vocal performance graduate student from Indianapolis, Ind. ?The more you allow yourself to be involved with the music emotionally, the more it moves you.?

    Vest will be singing the part of Romeo in the death scene of Charles Gounod?s ?Romeo and Juliet.? He is also directing a scene from ?Otello,? written by Rossini and based on Shakespeare?s ?Othello.?

    This year each scene will be based on plays by William Shakespeare. This may help the audience to understand the scenes because many people are acquainted with Shakespeare?s plays, said Marilyn Reid, director and singer in the ?Romeo and Juliet? death scene and vocal performance graduate student from Provo.

    ?The audience that we get isn?t as familiar with the opera plots,? Reid said. ?Shakespeare is a good idea because people will be able to identify with it. Who doesn?t know the story of Romeo and Juliet??

    Each scene will be performed in the language they were written. In addition to people explaining the scenes before they begin, super-titles are provided above the stage so people can understand what?s going on, Reid said.

    The same scenes will be performed each night and some of the roles are double- cast. Since the students only prepare two full operas a year, the opera scenes are just another opportunity for students to perform, opera program director, Lawrence Vincent, said.

    Opera is also an opportunity for the audience to see other cultures, said Peter May, a freshman in the vocal performance program from Vancouver, Wash.

    ?Opera?s just another part of culture and not everybody will enjoy opera,? said May, who will sing the part of Romeo in Gounod?s marriage scene. ?I?d recommend giving it a chance just to see what it?s like.?

    Opera can offer more than just a glimpse into a culture for audiences, said Katrina Crage, vocal performance graduate student from Seattle.

    ?I think it?s even better than drama because you don?t only get to know the culture, but also the music,? Crage said.

    The opera scenes will be performed in the Madsen Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. every night through Saturday.

    INFOBOX

    Scenes and Directors

    ? ?A Midsummer Night?s Dream? Directed by: Dr. Ruth Christensen

    ? ?Otello? Directed by: Jason Vest, graduate student

    ? 2 scenes from ?Romeo and Juliet? ? directors: Dr. Arden Hopkin and Marilyn Reid, graduate student

    ? 2 scenes from ?Beatrice Et Benedict?(Shakespeare?s ?Much Ado About Nothing?) Directors: Katrina Crage, graduate student, Dr. Arden Hopkin

    ? Falstaff (Shakespeare?s ?Merry Wives of Windsor?) – Directed by: Simone Hardisty, senior in vocal performance

    ? ?Kiss me Kate? (Shakespeare?s ?The Taming of the Shrew?) ? Directed by: Dr. Barry Bounous

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