JAN 24, 2002
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu

Opera scenes presented at CSUB

A veritable operatic buffet at California State University, Bakersfield will provide some of the world's best loved opera scenes when "An Evening of Opera Scenes" is presented Friday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dore Theater.

The CSUB Singers' Opera Theater and the Italian Heritage Dante Association will present the show with fully staged and costumed performers. "You might say it's an evening of opera's best parts," said Peggy Sears, CSUB music professor and "An Evening of Opera Scenes" director. She said the recitatives will be sung in English and the arias by the Italian composers will be sung in Italian. "People will be able to understand what's happening, but also get a feel for what the arias sound like in their original language," she said.

CSUB music professor Charles Badami will provide accompaniment on the piano.

Eight scenes will be performed:

• From "Hansel and Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck, a scene from Act I, with Mary Bellah singing the part of Hansel, and Roxy Goin singing the part of Gretel.

• From "Hansel and Gretel," a scene from Act II, with Bellah as Hansel, Goin as Gretel and Michele Spaid singing the part of the witch.

• From "Elixir of Love," by Gaetano Donizetti, a duet, "Only a moment, Adina," with Juan Morales singing the part of Nemorino and Stephanie Bloemhof singing the part of Adina.

• From "Showboat," by Jerome Kern, a duet, "Only Make Believe," with Bellah singing the part of Magnolia, and Henry Valderrama singing the part of Ravenal.

• From "La Boheme," by Giacomo Puccini, a scene from Act III, with Leslie Roberts singing the part of Mimi, Badami singing the part of Marcello, John Gerhold singing the part of Rodolfo and Alysia Cain singing the part of Musetta. Diana Bell will play the accompaniment for this scene.

• From "Showboat," a duet, "You are Love," with Bellah as Magnolia and Valderrama as Ravenal.

• From "The Barber of Seville," by Gioacchino Rossini, from Act I, an aria, recitative, aria, recitative and duet, with Adam Calvillo singing the part of Figaro and Morales singing the part of Count Almaviva.

• From "Showboat," Duet and ensemble: "Why do I love you?" with Bellah as Magnolia, Valderrama as Ravenal and Nicola Hennen as Julie.

Sears is excited about this year's presentation for a couple of reasons. "We have some tremendously talented students," she said. "I think the audience will really enjoy them. We have some music majors, and some who are not but who wanted to work on their voices. All of them are energetic and talented."

She said that she was also pleased to have talented performers from the community for key roles. "John Gerhold, who is singing Rodolfo in 'La Boheme,' is on the music faculty at Bakersfield College," she said. "Juan Morales, who sings the Count in the 'Barber' scene and Nemorino in the 'Elixir' scene, teaches and plays mariachi all over the valley. The rest of the cast are CSUB students."

She said the performances will give a glimpse of opera at its best. "Opera is a unique combination of music, art and drama that brings the best out of our performers," she said. "It's a larger than life medium."

Sears is also delighted with the support of the Italian Heritage Dante Association. "The Italian Heritage Dante Association wanted to get more involved in opera," she said. "It gave a generous donation for the Opera Theater. Jimmy Icardo before he died really wanted this to happen, and Pete Leveroni is following through to bring it to reality. We're so grateful for their support."

Tickets are $6 for general admission and $4 for students, children and seniors, and are available at the door. For more information, please call CSUB music professor Peggy Sears at 664-2168.

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