Meadows Opera Theatre performs <em>Albert Herring</em> Feb. 7-10, 2013

Meadows Opera Theatre

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.

(more…)

February 6, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

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.

October 23, 2012|Calendar Highlights|

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.

September 6, 2012|Calendar Highlights|

Meadows Opera Theatre opens 2012 with The Marriage of Figaro

John Hendricks as Figaro and Julie Marx as Susanna in the 2012 Meadows Opera Theatre production of The Marriage of Figaro. Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler.

Cupid is at work and at play on Figaro and Susanna’s wedding day – but who is wooing whom?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day month, Meadows Opera Theatre and the Meadows Symphony Orchestra bring to life a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire, The Marriage of Figaro. The production runs Feb. 2-5, 2012, in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The Marriage of Figaro – with or without its alternate title that translates as The Day of Madness – has charmed audiences since the debut of Pierre Beaumarchais’ original play in 1784. The working-class hero and heroine want only to celebrate their wedding in peace, but the competing agendas of friends, family members and even their aristocratic employers complicate the proceedings.

Count Almaviva, their master, has eyes for the bride, and a mysterious older woman lays claim to the groom. Countess Almaviva wants to win back her husband’s love, while the hormonal teenage page Cherubino wants to win the heart of every female he meets.

The play was banned in Vienna for a time because of its satire of the aristocracy, yet the 1786 opera became one of Mozart’s most successful works during his lifetime. (The composer himself directed its first two performances from the keyboard of his fortepiano.) It was the first of three collaborations with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, with whom he also wrote Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte.

Njabulo Mthimkhulu as Count Almaviva, Julie Marx as Susanna and Paul Kroeger as Don Basilio in the 2012 Meadows Opera Theatre production of The Marriage of Figaro. Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler.

Mozart’s celebrated score will be performed by the Meadows Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities Paul Phillips. Meadows Opera Theatre Director Hank Hammett directs the production, with choreography by Professor of Dance Danny Buraczeski.

The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English translation. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets for The Marriage of Figaro online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Find a complete cast list under the link below. (more…)

February 1, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 13, 2011

Scholar and author Stephen ProtheroThe Gartner Honors Lecture Series on SMU’s 2011 Common Reading continues Sept. 14 with”HeLa Cells and the Law,” featuring Jennifer S. Bard, the Alvin R. Allison Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Faculty Research, and Development Director, Health Law Program, at Texas Tech University School of Law. She also serves as associate professor (adjunct) in the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Tech University School of Medicine. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Free and open to the public.

Scholar and bestselling author Stephen Prothero (top right) will speak on “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World” as part of SMU’s Willson Lecture Series. The lecture draws its title from Prothero’s 2010 book by the same title, in which he argues that attempts to portray all religions as different paths to the same God overlook the distinct human problem that each seeks to solve. The lecture begins at noon Sept. 15 in the Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. Free and open to the public. Read more about Stephen Prothero from SMU News.

Meadows Opera Theatre performs in the Opera Free for FallThe Meadows Opera Theatre (bottom right) celebrates SMU’s 2011 Family Weekend with a new Opera Free for All at 1 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center. Called “New Faces and Old Friends,” the show will feature new and returning soloists in the Meadows Opera Ensemble performing arias, songs and scenes. Free and open to the public; bring your lunch. For more information, call the Division of Music, 214-768-1951. Read a 2010 Q&A on the Opera Free for All with Meadows Opera Theatre Director Hank Hammett, by SMU Meadows student Chris Calloway.

September 13, 2011|Calendar Highlights|
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