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NMSU double opera presents two musical styles

  • By Tonya Suther
  • (575) 646-6233
  • suther@nmsu.edu
  • Apr 09, 2013
NMSU Spring Blooms on Campus. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

A double bill of comedy and tragedy at New Mexico State University will feature something for everyone. W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's "Trial by Jury" and Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" will run at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 19-20. A matinee is scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21. Tickets prices are $15 and $10, $5 for students, and all performances will be at the Atkinson Recital Hall.

"There is a chance to hear two different styles of music on one evening," said John Carlo Pierce, professor of voice and director of opera in the College of Arts and Sciences. "'Trial by Jury' is a musical comedy that satirizes the legal system of Victorian-era Britain. The music is light and tuneful, the story is witty, and situations in which the characters find themselves border on the absurd."

The second opera has a tragic ending, according to Pierce. "Dido and Aeneas," composed in 1688, tells the story of the widowed Queen of Carthage who is persuaded to take another chance at love with Aeneas. Their love is thwarted by the forces of evil.

NMSU's music department collaborated with the greater Las Cruces community on the production.

Students from the opera workshop will be accompanied by Roberta Arruda, violinist in NMSU's Grammy Award-winning La Catrina String Quartet, and Janet Loman, professor of harpsichord and organ in NMSU's music department. Students from the string program will also perform.

Additionally, dancers from the Las Cruces School of Dance and Music, under the direction of studio owner and director Monique Foster, will participate in the production. In "Trial by Jury," the opera workshop students will dance.

"For some of them, this production is the first opera in which they will take part, and it represents the culmination of many weeks of hard work and dedication." Pierce said.

Both works are in English and suitable for young viewers. Pierce said he chose the operas with his students in mind.

"Young singers must learn to sing and be understood in their own language," Pierce said. "As native speakers, we tend to be less careful when it comes to English pronunciation. Finally, I enjoy the juxtaposition of two very different pieces presented back-to-back."

Ticket can be purchased at Ticketmaster's website at http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/98715. For more information contact the Pan American Ticket Office at 575-646-1420.