Two one-act operas set to take the stage at CSUB

January 5, 2009
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,
CSUB students prepare for opera opening

Heart-wrenching drama and light-hearted mischievousness is set to fill the Doré Theater Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan 31 at 8 p.m. when California State University, Bakersfield presents two one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini. A full orchestra will accompany the performances.

Directed by Peggy Sears, music professor, and conducted by Gordon Mehling, professor emeritus, "Suor (Sister) Angelica" and "Gianni Schicchi" depict conflicting paths to heaven and hell. The ensemble cast of nearly all CSUB students and alumni will be clad in costumes designed by Roger Upton amongst scenery and lighting sets designed by Ray Finnell.

"We are lucky to have enough talented singers that almost all of the 25 roles are filled with students and alumni," Sears said. "We only do a full opera with orchestra once every three years, so it is important to pick an opera that gives maximum opportunities."

"Suor Angelica" tells a tale of loss and repentance. After bearing an illegitimate child, Angelica is sent to a convent by her family. Years later, Sister Angelica receives the news that her child has died. Devastated, she mixes poison and decides to kill herself. After drinking the poison, Sister Angelica realizes that her suicide is a mortal sin, and she will not go to heaven. The part of Sister Angelica will be played by Almalinda Duran, a music major in her senior year and CSUB Fine Arts Merit Award Scholarship winner. Other cast members include Jessica Trevino, April Hopkins, Liz Davis, Katherine Kiouses, Cora Frantz, Alessandra Banducci, Becky Turner, Amy Chavez, Elizabeth Ziemer, Ariane Hughes, Natosha Ramirez, Hannah Kean and Caitlin Smolka.

The second opera,"Gianni Schicchi," is a lighter piece about a greedy family trying to gain control of the estate of their dead relative. The family turns to Gianni Schicchi, a cunning con artist, to secure the inheritance. But Schicchi has plans of his own and creates some light-hearted fun for the audience. The part of Gianni Schicchi will be played by Danvir Grewal, an upper division theater major. Other cast members include Adrianna Medel, Jill Burdick, Marco Rodriguez, Kenny Burdick, Sara Kean, Alex Burdick, Brian Losa, Kevin Calvin, Roberto Becerra, Sarah Feliz, Hannah Kean, Aly Banducci.

An opening night reception in the Albertson Room from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. will precede the Jan. 30 performance. Reception reservations will be accepted through Jan. 23 and can be made by calling (661) 654-2136. Cost is $50 per guest or $45 each for reservations of two or more.

Prior to the Jan. 31 performance, Joel Haney, CSUB assistant professor of music, will present a pre-opera lecture at 7:15 p.m. The lecture will highlight various theories and stories of interest relevant to the performance.

Cost for the performance is $18 general admission, $12 for faculty, staff and senior citizens, and $6 for students with identification. For more information about performances, contact Sears at (661) 654-2168. For tickets call the CSUB theatre box office at (661) 654-3150.