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SMC stages fairy tale opera

| Thursday, February 20, 2014

A new operatic production at Saint Mary’s tells the boy-meets-girl story of a young prince and princess, except with one problem: he is a pig, literally.

The Romanian fairy tale inspired opera “The Enchanted Pig” will be playing Thursday through Saturday in Little Theater at the Moreau Center for the Arts.

The opera’s director and associate professor of music, Laurel Thomas, said she took a chance bringing “The Enchanted Pig” to Saint Mary’s. The opera, composed by Jonathan Dove, was originally written for an opera company in Leeds, England, Thomas said.

“I could hear very little of the music,” she said. “It sounded like something we could do, so I went for it.”

The main character is the princess, played by junior Victoria Connelly, who attempts to break an old woman’s spell that has turned a handsome prince, the future husband of the princess, into a pig. The princess must break the spell and turn the pig back into a prince in three days or lose him to the old woman’s daughter, Thomas said.

Her journey to save the prince and her marriage takes her to the end of the earth, to the moon, to the sun and to the Milky Way as she meets interesting characters along the way, Thomas said.

PIGGGGGPhoto courtesy of Peter Ringenberg

Several Saint Mary’s and IU South Bend students, as well as freshman Carlos Torres from Notre Dame, will lend their voices to the opera, with six professional musicians comprising the opera’s chamber orchestra, Thomas said.

The cast has dedicated many months to rehearsal and preparation for the upcoming show.

“We’ve actually been learning the music since the first day of class in the fall,” Thomas said. “It’s a big show.”

Despite the long hours of rehearsal, the cast has managed to make their own fun, Thomas said.

“There have been a lot of nights when we have been working out blocking that we all just stand around laughing our heads off,” Thomas said. “It’s really been fun.”

Thomas said “The Enchanted Pig” includes a variety of musical styles, with elements of musical theatre in addition to opera.

“It has some music that really sounds like high opera,” Thomas said. “And it also has some pieces that sound like musical theatre.”

The choice of an opera is unusual for the Saint Mary’s Music Department, Thomas said.

“We rarely do full operas in the music department,” Thomas said. “So this is a really big show for us.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday with an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Thomas said.

Admission is free for all Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross students. Faculty and staff tickets will be sold for $8 for evening performances and $5 for the matinee.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit MoreauCenter.com or call the Box Office at (574) 284-4626.

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