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Rio Students Perform Operas in Bob Evans Farms Hall

March 4, 2013

  The University of Rio Grande, John Berry School of Fine and Performing Arts, voice students presented two short operas of Gian Carlo Menotti on March 2nd and 3rd. The Rotunda in Bob Evans Hall provided an intimate setting and wonderful acoustics that showcased the singer’s talents. Studio accompanist, James “Sunny” Sundquist assisted and supported the production with his keyboard skills.

“The Telephone”, a twenty-five minute, one act comedic opera, was brought to life by sophomore, Aryn Gritter (Lucy) and freshmen, Andy Knipp (Ben). Ben and Lucy are a young couple in love. Ben is on his way out of town and intends to propose to Lucy. However, numerous phone calls prevent him from doing so. After much frustration Ben realizes the only way he can talk to Lucy is to call her on the phone.

“The Medium”, two act dramatic opera featured senior theatre major Lucia Colley (Monica) and voice professor, Valerie Tanner (Madame Flora/ Baba) as a Mother daughter duo that work together to con clients during weekly séances with the help of a mute, Toby, portrayed by Levi Hornsby. Junior, Ally Waddell (Mrs. Gobineau) and freshman, Erica Cuckler (Mrs. Nolan) portrayed two young mother’s desperate to reconnect with their dead children.

Bizarre twists of events lead Madame Flora to drink herself into fits of rage and fury. She is convinced that Toby is “haunting” her and takes out her anger on him. Monica does her best to protect Toby but Madame Flora won’t hear of it. In an attempt to escape the tormented environment Toby tries to escape with Monica. While gathering some of his belongings he wakes Madame Flora from a drunken sleep. Frightened, Madame Flora awakes and shoots “the ghost”.

The opera’s were a special project Mrs. Tanner decided to try at the end of last year. She cast the shows based on the voices and talents within the studio. The students put in extra time for rehearsals and theatre professor, Greg Miller, came in during the final weeks to lend his professional expertise to help the students with their emotions and stage presence.