Friday, November 05, 2010

It’s Not Over Until Red Riding Hood Sings: Opera Workshop Presents Operatic Fairy Tales

Pinocchio sings Mozart, Jack and the Giant do Gilbert and Sullivan, and the evening’s not over until Little Red Riding Hood sings Offenbach: It’s the HSU Opera Workshop performing four classic fairy tales using music by operatic greats.

“It’s a fun and education romp through the realm of opera and a new angle on familiar fairy tales,” said Opera Workshop director Elisabeth Harrington. “Nothing serious here!”

The show will be performed in Fulkerson Recital Hall twice: at 8 PM on Friday (November 5) but at the child-friendly time of 6 PM on Saturday.

Opera singer and director John Davies put together music from his favorite operas with fairy tale scenes, primarily for children but with a history of delighting audiences of all ages since they were first performed in 1982. The Opera Workshop is doing shorter versions of Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red’s Most Unusual Day.

“The text is all in English, and dialogue has been added to keep the story moving,” Harrington said. “Our singers are having fun with it, adding their own vocal sounds.”

Thirteen students will act out the tales, and sing arias, duets, trios and ensemble numbers. Former HSU Music student Christopher Hatcher directs Pinocchio, student Danielle Van De Wetering directs “Little Red,” and Harrington directs Jack and the Beanstalk and Three Little Pigs. Pianist John Chernoff accompanies throughout.

Opera Workshop members will wear costumes of their own invention but with a mobile set built by HSU Theatre, Film & Dance MFA students Elizabeth Uhazy and Rachel Parti.

Though the fairy tales are familiar to everyone, audience members who know the opera repertoire will find another level of fun not only in the music but the opera parodies. For example, the Big Bad Wolf goes to dinner with the Three Little Pigs in a scene spoofing Mozart’s Don Giovanni. “It’s a wonderful introduction to the world of opera,” Harrington said, “both for the complete novice and the advanced university student.”

After the two weekend performances at HSU, the Opera Workshop will take the show on the road to entertain high school and middle school students in Sacramento and Redding.

HSU Opera Workshop performs on Friday November 5 at 8 pm and a child-friendly 6 pm on Saturday November 6, in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 children/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Free to HSU students with ID. Opera Workshop is directed by Elisabeth Harrington, and produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Humboldt Beacon.

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