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

Paul Phillips

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|

Meadows at the Meyerson 2012 honors Gloria and Jack Hammack

The Meadows Orchestra under the direction of Paul Phillips

SMU’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Paul Phillips.

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present its 19th annual benefit concert, “The 2012 Meadows at the Meyerson,” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center at 2301 Flora Street in Dallas.

Held each spring, the concert features the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra and honors a community leader. This year’s honorees are noted arts and civic patrons and Meadows School supporters Gloria ’52 and Jack Hammack.

Under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips, the Meadows Symphony will perform Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. Completed in 1909 after the composer had been diagnosed with a fatal heart condition, the work seems to reflect Mahler’s acceptance of impending death while affirming the beauty of life. The eloquent and poignant symphony is Mahler’s last, and is considered one of his greatest.

“Since its inception, Meadows at the Meyerson has been our most important fundraising event,” says Meadows Dean José Bowen. “Thanks to the generosity of many supporters, it has raised more than $2.6 million to benefit our students, our programs and our educational mission. For the past four years, it has served as an important source of scholarship funds for our Meadows Scholars program, enabling us to recruit the most outstanding arts and communications students from across the nation to Dallas and SMU. We are now proud to support 60 Meadows Scholars at the university, thanks to the generosity of our Meadows at the Meyerson benefactors.”

Tickets to the Meadows at the Meyerson concert are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For tickets, contact the Meadows Box Office, 214-768-2787.

> Read the full story from SMU News

April 5, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

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. 21, 2010

Map of Texas, 1830sHistory for lunch: The Clements Center for Southwest Studies will focus on one of Texas’ more memorable moments in this week’s Brown Bag Lecture, “Privileges of Locomotion: Expatriation and American Power in the Southwestern Borderlands.” (Pictured right, a map of 1830s-era Texas.) Assistant Professor of History at UT-Dallas Eric Schlereth will give the one-hour lecture at noon Sept. 22 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Bring your lunch.

‘Revolution’-ary exhibit: The Clements Center for Southwest Studies continues its busy week as it opens its newest exhibit, “Mexico: Porfiriato to Revolution, 1876-1920.” The opening will be punctuated by UNT professor of Mexican and Latin American History Aaron Navarro, who will deliver a lecture on “The Porfirian Cycle in Mexican History.” The lecture and opening are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in SMU’s DeGolyer Library. A reception will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. For more information, call 214-768-3231 or visit the DeGolyer website.

So much for resale value: The Gilbert Lecture Series continues with an entry on, well, kids writing in their books. Current Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC-San Diego Seth Lerer gives a unique lecture on how the act of children writing in their books has led to some rather unusual studies in literacy rate, self-ownership, and the never-ending potential of creating young writers from modern times back to medieval history. The lecture will begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 24 in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall. For more information, visit the Gilbert Lecture Series page.

Saul Levine filmstripMSO returns: SMU’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra will open its season this weekend with a wildly varied study of three different composers. Included in the lineup is Meadows Professor of Music Paul Phillips‘ recent work Midday, Rachmaninoff’s tribute to a Romantic violinist hero, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Brahm’s final symphony, the Symphony No. 4. The performances are at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 and 3 p.m. Sept 26 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff, and students. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

It’s the arts: The Taste Series continues with an ongoing look at “New York Avant-Garde Film, 1950-80.” The series’ films are presented exclusively on 16mm prints on loan from The Filmmakers’ Cooperative in New York City. This showcase includes works by George Landow, Saul Levine, David Brooks, Bruce Baillie and Shirley Clarke. Next up: screenings of Stan Brakhage‘s Dog Star Man and Cat’s Cradle at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Greer Garson Screening Room 3527, third floor, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free. For more information, call 214-768-2129. (Right, a filmstrip sample of Saul Levine’s work.)

September 21, 2010|Calendar Highlights|

Meadows Opera Theatre presents a Mozart classic Feb. 4-7

Scene from Meadows Opera theatre production of Mozart's 'Il re pastore'-'The Shepherd King'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.)

Visit the Meadows Opera Theatre homepage
Read more about the Meadows Opera Theatre’s award-winning work
Buy tickets for The Shepherd King

February 2, 2010|Calendar Highlights, News|
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