USAO News Bureau

Student opera ensemble to perform Nov. 14

Monday, November 11, 2013

Students will demonstrate the product of a trimester’s worth of their hard work as they present an evening of opera scenes. The performances are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 in the Alumni Chapel at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

The event is free and open to the public.

The performance is the result of an opera workshop class designed to teach the student musicians about the special challenges of performing opera.

The class instructor, Dr. Ken Bohannon, associate professor of music and coordinator of USAO’s music department, said that the class has been valuable for the aspiring musicians.

“Most of the students have never performed anything from an opera on stage in front of a live audience,” Bohannon said. “ The staging of a musical or opera is quite different than traditional theatre in that the timing of the words has to follow the music exactly as notated by the composer.”

The students have worked on interpreting the lyrics through facial expressions and body language as well as character development and analysis. The class focuses also on practical applications such as resume building and preparation for auditions.

The ensemble will perform several pieces from several operas written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, an Austrian composer, including The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro.

Two pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance will also be featured.

The student performers include: Tory Chinn, a sophomore music major from Norman; Cynthia Cunningham, a sophomore music major from Tulsa; Tyler Heilaman, a sophomore theatre arts major from Duncan; Oscar Hernandez, a senior music major from Chickasha; Cherokee Howell, a sophomore music major from Chickasha; Christopher Jordan, a senior music major from Ardmore; Robert Perou, a junior music major from Elgin; and Lindsay Robbins, a junior music major from Moore.

A faculty member, Dr. David Zoetewey, assistant professor of chemistry, is slated to join the ensemble for one number.

Bohannon believes those in attendance will be impressed by the ensemble.

“While they are a small group, they pack a good bit of sound and really raise the roof on some of the numbers,” Bohannon said. 

“They are a good group of students and have been a lot of fun to work with.”

The Opera Workshop Ensemble will be accompanied by Rhenada Finch, special adjunct faculty and staff accompanist for the music department.

More information about the event can be obtained by calling 574-1213.