Meadows Opera Theatre

Meadows Opera Theatre presents Susannah, Feb. 5-8, 2015

Susannah 6852The award-winning Meadows Opera Theatre opens the 2015 opera season with Susannah, running Thursday, Feb. 5 through Sunday, Feb. 8, in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. 

Written by Carlisle Floyd in 1955, Susannah is based loosely on the Apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders. Set in rural Tennessee where the fate of the young town beauty hangs, Susannah explores the plague of religious fundamentalism, intolerance, hypocrisy and prejudice. Weaving together folk tunes, country hymns and haunting melodiesSusannah 3105, Floyd’s American masterpiece tells the timeless tale of desire, lust, seduction and revenge.

The Meadows production is directed by Hank Hammett. American lyric baritone Hammett is an award-winning performer, director, teacher and coach. As an acting coach for singers, Hammett has worked for Broadway and Off-Broadway, in television and film, and the world’s most prestigious opera houses, ranging from The Metropolitan Opera to the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Currently, Hammett serves as Director of Opera, Senior Lecturer and Chair of Ensemble Department in Meadows School of the Arts. 

Under the baton of Maestro Paul Phillips, this main stage production is accompanied by the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. Phillips has served since 1996 as music director and conductor of the Meadows School of the Arts. A native of Dallas, Phillips completed his undergraduate studies at SMU where he studied with James Rives Jones.

Tickets for faculty, staff and students are $7 and can be purchased online. For more information, call 214-768-2787. A full cast list can be found below.

Susannah 

Libretto and Music by Carlisle Floyd

Feb. 5-8

Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center, SMU

CrewSusannah 6999

  • Producer/Director – Hank Hammett
  • Conductor – Paul Phillips
  • Choreographer – Danny Buraczeski
  • Scenic Designer – Sarah B. Brown (MFA ’15)
  • Costume Designer – Amanda Capshaw (MFA ’15)
  • Lighting Designer – Luther Frank (MFA ’15)
  • Vocal Coach/Répétiteur – Jason Smith
  • Supertitles – Opera Supertitles
  • Stage Manner – Suzanne Lavender

Cast 

(in order of vocal appearance)

  • Fiddler – Jiah Kyun
  • Mrs. Gleaton – Julie Martinez* and Dallas Caulkins**
  • Mrs. Ott – Laura Gastinel* and JinYong Kwon**
  • Mrs. Hayes – Courtney Stancil* and Kristen Meyers**
  • Mrs. McLean – Moretta Irchirl* and Arielle Collier**
  • Elder McLean – Frank RosamondSusannah 6984
  • Olin Blitch, an evangelist – Raul Escalona* and Langelihle Mngxati**
  • Elder Hayes – Benjamin Roberts
  • Elder Ott – James Resch
  • Elder Gleaton – Quintin Coleman
  • Susannah Polk – Alissa Roca* and Audra Methvin**
  • Little Bat McLean – Jordan Hammons
  • Sam Polk – Jeawood Lee* and Myles Pinder**
  • First Man – Dennis Wees
  • Second Man – Charles Karanja
  • Townsfolk of New Hope Valley – Jordan Beranek, Regina Joi Branford, Laura Bumgarner, Dallas Caulkins, Arielle Collier, Shannon Conboy, Gabrielle Ferrari, Laura Gastinel, Maggie Harper, Moretta Irchirl, Jenilee Joan, Maya Jones, Charles Karanja, JinYoung Kwon, Vinnie Mahal, Julie Martinez, Kristen Meyers, Brandon Moore, Lauren Pinzás, Kelly Silverthorn, Courtney Stancil, Christian Thrailkill, Kiara Wade, Dennis Wees, Alison Wheaton

* Thursday and Saturday

** Friday and Sunday

All photograph in this article were taken by Kim Leeson. 

SMU scares up some fun during Halloween Week 2013

Halloween jack-o-lanternIt’s almost Halloween – seek out some scary fun at these campus activities:

• The SMU Center on Communities and Education sponsors a free screening of the 1988 Halloween classic “Beetlejuice” for Scary Movie Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 on the Clements Lawn, between Clements Hall and Maguire Hall. The Easy Slider and Kona Ice food trucks will be on hand starting at 6 p.m. with food for purchase. The event supports The School Zone in West Dallas.

• Meanwhile, SMU’s Student Filmmakers’ Association and Program Council team up for Fright Fest starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 on the Late Lawn, between Simmons Hall and the Airline Road garage. The fall-themed fun includes candy, caramel apples, popcorn, pumpkin painting, and an outdoor screening of the cult-favorite horror comedy anthology “Trick ’r Treat” (2007). Bring a blanket and RSVP on Facebook or Twitter.

• SMU Preschool and Child Care holds its annual Halloween Parade on the Boulevard 9:30-11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. Wear your friendliest costume and come out to Bishop Boulevard to treat the mini-Mustangs – wrapped candy, boxed raisins, fruit snacks, packaged graham and goldfish crackers, and small trinkets are all welcome.

• Central University Libraries bring sharks, tornados and Tara Reid in a free outdoor showing of 2013’s instant Z-movie camp classic “Sharknado” at 8:30 p.m. Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31, on the Laura Bush Promenade at the Fondren Library Center east entrance. The screening is offered by SMU’s Fondren Library Media Collection.

• Meadows Opera Theatre explores the eternal battle between good and evil in its annual Halloween Opera Free For All. This year’s theme, “Singing Saints and Sinners,” features Meadows School of the Arts students performing scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and Bizet’s Carmen. The free event begins at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center. For more information, call the Meadows Division of Music, 214-768-1951.

Meadows Opera Theatre performs Albert Herring Feb. 7-10, 2013

It is time for the annual May Day Festival, but what happens when none of the girls are pure enough to be May Queen?

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten, the Meadows Opera Theatre and Meadows Symphony Orchestra will perform Britten’s comic opera Albert Herring. The production runs Feb. 7-10, 2013 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Albert Herring is set in 1947, just two years after the end of World War II, in a time when youth were trying to pull away from traditions and live life in their own terms. This theme is explored through the title character, who is named May King after being lauded as the only virgin in town. Albert is embarrassed by his new title and seeks adventure and independence from his mother after unknowingly drinking rum-spiked lemonade at the May Day Festival. The opera is a story of triumph and having the right to be who we really are regardless of what others think and accept.

The opera was first performed in 1947, with a libretto by Eric Crozier. Meadows Opera Theatre Director Hank Hammett had the privilege of studying with Crozier in his younger years, and they became good friends. “Eric and Nancy (Eric’s wife) fell in love during the writing of the opera,” Hammett says, “and that love is very much reflected in the music that Britten wrote for Nancy’s character. Nancy is one of the individuals who spikes the lemonade.”

Meadows student Julie Dieltz, playing Lady Billows, says, “Performing in an opera is one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences I’ve had. One must rely on specific personal experiences in order to develop a character. Through research into one’s life, the life of the character, and into history, the character comes alive.”

A unique element of Meadows Opera Theatre productions is that they are each fully designed by third-year M.F.A. students from the Division of Theatre. All sets, costumes and lighting are specially created by Meadows production, something that sets Meadows apart from other universities.

“This year’s production has surpassed them all. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by this kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary talent,” Hammett says.

First-time opera performer Daniel Bouchard, playing Mr. Gedge, also noted the collaborative nature of Meadows. “The true beauty of opera is that it is a collaborative art, bringing extremely talented musicians together on stage and in the pit to tell a story. Cooperation between these talented artists can be difficult sometimes, but we have worked so hard together that this interaction is almost second nature now.”

The Meadows Symphony Orchestra will be in the pit under the direction of Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities Paul Phillips. The opera will be sung in English, with projected English text above the stage as well.

Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. The show begins at 8 p.m. Feb. 7-9 and 2 p.m. Feb. 10. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(All images by Brian Hwu c/o Meadows School of the Arts)

Find a complete cast list below the cut.

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Calendar Highlights: Oct. 23, 2012

Happy Homecoming Week!

Beer advertising art from the turn of the the 20th centuryBrown Bag Lecture: SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies presents a 2012 Brown Bag Lecture that explores beer beyond the bar and focuses on the activities of the St. Louis brewers as an integral part of a regional cultural economy at the turn of the 20th century. Paula Lupkin, professor of art history at the University of North Texas, will discuss “A Lager Landscape: The Cultural Economy of Beer in the Great Southwest” at noon Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer library. Don’t forget to bring your lunch!

Classical elements: The Meadows School of the Arts invites you to an afternoon of opera. The Meadows Opera Theatre will explore the four elements – earth, air, fire and water – through one-act operas and scenes from opera and musical theatre beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby.

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 6, 2012

A Taste of Tango: Break out your dancing shoes and join the Meadows Wind Ensemble for “A Night in Buenos Aires: A Celebration of Tango.” The program features numerous tango performances that are sure to dazzle and inspire you – and even includes works by Igor Stravinsky and John Phillip Sousa! The performance begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7 in Caruth Auditorium. Admission is $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Back to the Boulevard: The Mustangs’ first home game of the season is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. We are up against Stephen F. Austin and hope to see everyone in white supporting our team. Pony up!


Jammin’ in the Atrium: Starting Sept. 12 you can add zest to your Wednesday lunch hour and join the Meadows World Music Ensemble for a jam session. The sessions start at noon in the Taubman Atrium, Owen Arts Center, and feature art and music from various cultures.

Annual archaeology lecture: Jeremy Sabloff, president of the Santa Fe Institute, gives the 2012 Fred Wendorf Distinguished Lecture in Archaeology at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. Sabloff will discuss the development of Maya hieroglyphic texts and other exciting advancements of study in “Settlement Pattern Studies and the Emergence of the Current Model of Ancient Maya Civilization.” The lecture takes place in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. (Left, Jeremy Sabloff, photo courtesy of the Santa Fe Institute.)

Spanish art influence: This semester the Meadows Museum of Art will host the exhibit: “Diego Velazquez: The Early Court Portraits.” Velazquez was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV and had large influence over the portraiture of the period. In the Meadows Museum from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sep. 13 a free symposium, featuring three guest speakers, will take place. The exhibit will open the following Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012 and run through Jan. 13, 2013.

The Opera Stars of SMU: The opening showcase of the 2012-13 Opera Free For All series begins at 1 p.m Friday, Sept. 14 in the Bob Hope Lobby of the Owen Arts Center. The showcase will feature 60-second arias by Meadows Opera Theatre Ensemble members. Performers will strategically use their allotted time to stand out and make a lasting impression.

Latin Spice: Latin American Heritage Month begins Sept. 15, 2012. President Lyndon Johnson first introduced this month-long celebration of Latin history and culture; Sept. 15 was chosen as the start date because on that day in 1821, five Latin American countries gained independence. During this month we recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of the Latin American community.

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