Experiencing Laurier’s opera

Though many students don’t know it, Laurier has opera singers – and good ones at that.

Exhibiting their pool of talent, the music department hosted the annual Opera Excerpts show on the weekend.

The Friday night performance, and its encore on Saturday in the Theatre Auditorium, consisted of four scenes from various operas.

All period operas, the excerpts chosen allowed for a fairytale ambiance.

“Excerpts are an opportunity for students to get their feet wet,” explained music director and co-ordinator of Laurier’s opera program Leslie De’Ath.

Whether students were interested in merely testing the waters or taking the plunge into the world of opera, the entire cast performed each number superbly which according to De’Ath is no easy task.

She noted that when performing opera, there is the added concern of trying to act while singing.

“The [performers] have to multi-task in a way they haven’t done before,” said De’Ath.

“It’s easy to underestimate the skill set that you need.”

Regardless of the challenges, the student performers met the pressures, projecting their agile voices with power and strength.

The performance is a requirement for a mandatory music classes necessary for graduation with an undergraduate degree in opera and De’Ath adds that students “put it together over the course of the term. We have professionals doing the set-up and we ask our students to get involved with the production side,” he said.

However, the Opera Excerpts were much more than a class production, each scene rich in moments of performed perfection.

Hänsel und Gretel

The first of acts featured a scene from Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck.

The piece was performed in German and as light-heartedly as a childhood tale should be.

The second excerpt, from Carmen by George Bizet, questioned our control over fate and destiny.

Necessitating more acting, the cast showed off their theatrical skills while speaking in French at the same time.

The excellent balancing of the diverse chorus made the end number a highlight.

Click Here to see a photo gallery of the event

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Photo by Nick Lachance

Piera Turone plays Frasquita in Georges Bizet’s Carmen .

Cosi fan Tutte

Cosi fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the most comedic performance of the night.

Centering on the woes of young love, the male players delivered hilarious acting, committing fully to their roles.

Die Fledermaus

The last excerpt, Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II, was a dedication to the sensual expression of the Viennese waltz and to champagne.

The most intricate of the numbers, Die Fledermaus necessitated co-ordination in the dialogue and in the singing.

The solo by Lindsay Reinholt was breathtaking and full of emotion, despite the mask she was wearing.

With a simplistic set design and only the piano as accompaniment, the focus was truly all the students’ performances.

The Opera Excerpts will be complemented by a full-scale opera production in the winter term.

This year, the music department will be performing Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim.