The NMSU Opera Workshop presents an evening of ghostly song and opera on Monday, October 29. The event features a double-bill of supernatural lyric theater in a pre-Halloween event entitled “Lyrical Apparitions” along with Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, “The Medium,” staged in one act.
The opening segment will spotlight guest artist, Annie Pennies, as the leader of a séance, conjuring student and community singers to appear in arias and songs about spirits and ghostly apparitions. Featured will be the music of Saint-Saëns, Weber, Haydn, Finzi, Ponchielli, Chanler, and Bonds. This section will also present choruses from Gilbert & Sullivan, Mendelssohn, and Music Department Head, Lon Chaffin.
The second half of the program is Menotti’s dark and intense opera, “The Medium.” The story tells of a con artist, Madame Flora, who, assisted by her daughter, Monica, and a mute servant boy, Toby, dupes bereaved parents out of their money by appearing to contact their departed loved ones. Madame Flora (or Baba, as she is called by her daughter) is also an abusive drunkard. One evening, during a séance, she feels the touch of a hand at her throat, and for the rest of the opera, she spins out of control, trying to determine who touched her. Was it Toby, something else come to haunt her, or just her alcohol-fueled guilt?
The production is directed by Dr. Sarah Daughtrey, Vocal Coordinator at NMSU, with music direction by Ron Gillis, Visiting Assistant Professor. Dr. Daughtrey is also singing the title role of Madame Flora. Annie Pennies is featured in both portions of the show and graduate vocal student, Ida Holguin, plays the role of Monica. Theater major Riley Merritt is in the role of Toby, with Max Contreras and Sine Phillips in supporting roles.
“Lyrical Apparitions” & “The Medium” will be presented on Monday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Atkinson Recital Hall in the Music Center on the NMSU Campus. “The Medium” will also be presented on Halloween, Wednesday, October 31 at 3:30 p.m. The performances are free and open to the public.
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