Dr. Robert Greenberg, formerly of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, argues persuasively that stage dramas and choir concerts are both nice but that opera is better. The reason, he suggests, is that opera presents the best of both worlds with a synergy that makes the result even more dynamic. While the words of a play are carefully chosen, the music of an opera heightens the expressive feelings, the pathos, in a way that words alone cannot.
But Kingwood and Humble residents don't have to drive into Houston to enjoy the flavor of famous operas. On July 7 and 8, the Lone Star College-Kingwood Summer Opera Workshop will tantalize the music palate with excerpts from 6 nineteenth-century operas-a smorgasbord of arias, duets, and trios, if you will. Producing director Marion Russell Dickson, Assistant Director Shana Buckow-Hogan, and Musical Director Jay Whately will lead a cast of college students and adult community members in "Heroes, Romance, and Fairy Tales," a presentation of comedy, faith, and myth in nineteenth-century opera.
The opera scenes will be excerpts from several of the big name composers of the period: Offenbach's "La Perichole," Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel," Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment," Weber's "Der Freichutz," Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" and Beethoven's "Fidelio." But while the operas originate from the same century, they will presented in several different languages, English, French, and German, and they exhibit stylistic differences as well, from the "prettier" bel canto style to the more passionate and full-bodied, brooding power Beethoven. To get the German lines just right, Director Dickson has brought on board German language tutor Gottfried Schiller, who has 35 years of experience as an opera chorus member in Berlin. And like all operas, the scenes will benefit from colorful costumes, sets, and staging in the Lone Star College-Kingwood Performing Arts Theater.
Dr. Todd Miller of the college music department often refers to opera performers as singing actors, and this year's cast of 19 singers includes veterans from past years of opera workshop as well as a number of new faces. Blair Doerge, Sarah Hardin, Beth Higgins, Melinda Hoyer, and Gil Lubecke have all studied musically in college in past years and have participated in former opera workshops doing operas such as Rigoletto, The Marriage of Figaro, and others. Kathryn Logue, Jordy Andrade, and ElenaClaire Lindholtz, to name just a few, represent the younger collegiate singers hoping to profit from the training and experience that opera workshop provides.
Director Marion Russell Dickson has chosen the eight scenes from six different operas with a goal of providing as much singing and stage opportunity as possible for each cast member. Each singer has at least one major contribution, whether in an aria, duet, or trio as well as several choruses. The "hero" designation in the program title suggests champions of the century of Romanticism, but the heroes in these eight scenes represent both genders and varying ages as well. Likewise, the freedom that they deal in goes beyond just the military to involve freedom from cruelty and even marital solidarity. So mark the evening of July 7 or the afternoon matinee of July 8 on your cultural calendar, and come experience an opera extravaganza at Lone Star College-Kingwood's opera workshop.
The Lone Star College System is among the largest and fastest growing community college districts in Texas. It comprises Lone Star College-North Harris, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Lone Star College–Tomball, Lone Star College–Montgomery, Lone Star College–CyFair, six satellite centers and The University Center. For more information about Lone Star College System and its programs, visit www.lonestar.edu or call 832-813-6500.