The Meadows Opera Theatre, directed by Hank Hammett and conducted by Paul Phillips, debuts its production of a classic opera by a teenaged Wolfgang Mozart this week. Il re pastore (The Shepherd King) runs Feb. 4-7 in the Bob Hope Theatre in SMU’s Owen Arts Center.
Written in 1775, when Mozart was only 19, the libretto features Alexander the Great in a major role. After the conqueror deposes the ruling tyrant of the city of Sidon, he searches for the true heir to the throne, who turns out to be a shepherd boy. The story sets the demands of duty against the demands of love as Aminta, the shepherd-king, struggles with the prospect of an arranged marriage and his own wish to keep to the simple life he knows.
Meadows Opera Theatre comes to the production fresh from winning an important award. In January, with the first entry in its history, the group received second prize for Best Production in the National Opera Association‘s annual competition for its 2009 staging of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land.
The national award was “an extraordinary honor for our opera program, and it highlights the excellence of our gifted young singing actors and orchestra musicians as well as the superlative training and performance opportunities we are able to give our students,” Hammett said. “This recognition is also a testament to the exceptional interdisciplinary collaboration we have here at Meadows between music, theatre and dance.”
The Shepherd King is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Find showtimes and buy tickets online, or contact the Meadows Ticket Office at 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).
(Above, junior voice major Katrina Galka and Master of Music candidate in voice Dee Donasco as Elisa and Aminta in the Meadows Opera Theatre production of Mozart’s Il re pastore. Photo by Paul Phillips.)