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College students to perform two operas

Alicia Smith | Friday, March 4, 2011

Saint Mary’s College will look to hit the right note this weekend as six students perform two short operas this weekend.

The performances of “The Old Maid and the Thief” and “The Telephone,” both by Gian Carlo Menotti, will showcase the talents of students involved in a one-credit opera workshop, associate professor of music Laurel Thomas said.

“In the semesters we do opera workshop, students can receive one credit for taking the class,” she said. “The term ‘opera workshop’ is used quite loosely, in the sense that we might do a one-act opera in its entirety, or we might do several scenes from different operas, which is how the term is usually used.”

Thomas said the College presents a staged musical performance each year within the music department, with the exception of every fourth year, where the College teams the music and theatre departments to create a full-length musical.

“Every fourth year we do a large musical together,” she said. “We are currently in discussion about doing a smaller musical every other year, and we tried this last fall when we collaborated to produce ‘Into the Woods’ by Stephen Sondheim.”

Thomas said she is responsible for selecting music each year that caters to the students’ skill set.

“I always choose the opera or opera scenes based on the students in the department who are musically capable and interested in working hard on a production,” she said.

Thomas said the operas she selected this year are comical, and will showcase each performer’s talent.

“I hope that people will enjoy the music, find the singing of high quality, but mostly, that they will be able to laugh and have fun,” she said.

“The Telephone” runs about 20 minutes long and is about a female character, Lucy, who is on the telephone with Ben, who is trying to propose to her.

“It is an earlier case of a problem we still have today — technology getting in the way of true communication,” Thomas said.

The plot of “The Old Maid and the Thief” reflects the history of 1930s — the era in which it was written.

“‘The Old Maid and the Thief’ reflects Menotti’s view of this town and its inhabitants,” she said. “Though it is a comedy, the female roles in this opera are not necessarily all likeable. It was the first opera written for radio broadcast, another indication of its era.”

The operas will be held on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre in Moreau Hall. Tickets are free for students and cost $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $8 for faculty and staff of the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College.