Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's men against women--one of the conflicts explored by the Opera Workshop April 20 & 21 

Opera Workshop’s Inclusive Spring Show

With selections from West Side Story, Avenue Q and other musicals and operas, HSU Opera Workshop highlights the serious and comic treatment of race, gender and other bias in two performances with an early start: 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

In addition to such familiar shows as South Pacific, the Workshop performs a scene from lesser-known works such as “Les Mamelles de Tiresias,” a surreal opera by 20th century French composer Francis Poulenc. This farcical scene portrays a woman revolting against her role as a housewife, and a husband certain he can easily raise the children. “He eventually has to deal with an entire stage full of screaming babies,” according to Opera Workshop director and HSU Music professor Elisabeth Harrington.

The Opera Workshop is a class at HSU that produces different kinds of shows on a four-semester rotation. This was a “special topics” semester, and this year’s topic was inspired by Harrington’s participation in last spring’s HSU Inclusiveness Institute. Faculty members were asked to take at least one element from their discussions on prejudicial behavior and incorporate it into a class. “I decided we could do a whole show about it,” Harrington said.

“We began the semester with group discussions about privilege, what is means to be excluded--in any fashion-- and where prejudice comes from,” Harrington said. Students also perform several short original scenes depicting an issue that arose in their own experience, presented with musical help from pianist John Chernoff. There will be audience discussions after each performance.

HSU Opera Workshop performs on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21 at the earlier time of 7:30 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets $7/3/free to HSU students from HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Elisabeth Harrington, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Tri-City Weekly, Arcata Eye, Humboldt State Now.

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