by Jeffrey Carter
Thanks to senior composition major Chris Poetz for the photo I snagged from his Facebook feed.
Webster University opened the January opera scenes performances last evening. The soiree runs tonight (Saturday, January 24) at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Scenes from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Floyd’s setting of Wuthering Heights, and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw joust with lighter fare from Bernstein (the opening scene of Candide) and the entire second act of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.
Tickets are $3, and free to all students, so the show is affordable to all!
I had much fun last evening as I attended opening night. The laughs were heartfelt. The voices were uniformly well-cast and quite often thrilling to hear. Of course, I’m partial since these are my ‘kids.’ But artistic director Alice Nelson’s opera workshop stands up powerfully when measured with other schools of similar size as Webster, and in many cases bests even larger schools. And that’s not just hype.
Perhaps my favorite dramatic scene last evening was the powerful, passionate moor scene from Wuthering Heights. The text is quite special and evocative, and Kait and Emmy brought it beautifully to life in the music of Carlisle Floyd.
But one always loves comedy, no? The bookends of the evening had the audience firmly in control, with witty wordplay and wise staging the let us see comedy as well as hear it.
How delighted I am to chair a department with this kind of team and leadership, not to mention collaboration with others including Nerinx Hall and the Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts! To which we have added David Toulson’s stage direction and the musical leadership of local conductor Scott Schoonover.