Faculty of Music presents: Such Sweet Sorrow

The Wilfrid Laurier University faculty of music’s latest production, Such Sweet Sorrow: an Evening of Modern Opera Excerpts, successfully accomplished the task of appealing to Wilfrid Laurier students and alumni alike. Such Sweet Sorrow is a poignant production dealing with themes of religion and the consequences that result in a lack of faith.

The production, which took place in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, presented three excerpts from compositions written by Laurier alumni and students. Andrea Wingelaar directed the production while Leslie De’Ath and Wayne Strongman contributed an elaborate musical element. The three excerpts of the operas were listed as May 23, written by fourth-year composition major David Foley, One Lump or Two by Laurier alumnus Glenn James and Ruth by Laurier alumnus Jeffrey Ryan.

Each production centred on the prevalent themes of faith, while presenting in various forms feelings of angst, comic relief and religious motifs through the use of song. The immense talents of the cast were the main attraction, overpowering the simplistic setting and basic black costumes.

The cast sang in perfect harmony, never missing a beat and projecting their powerful voices for those sitting in the back of the theatre. Several songs had the power to send goosebumps down the backs of audience members. Although all three excerpts were successful, Foley’s May 23 was the most memorable and poignant performance of the evening.

May 23, which follows the life of a man named Henry and his disconnection from the world around him, was Foley’s first production. “I didn’t expect it to go to production. I was just writing it and hoped it would be produced but through talking to the opera directors here, I managed to get it on the program,” Foley shared.

The inspiration for May 23 came to Foley at the end of his second year of study at Laurier, when he first became interested in opera. During this time, Foley had also seen a film that coincided with his ideas and love of opera. He then decided to take a risk and began to write the play. May 23, which deals with the theme of suicide, is Foley’s way of reaching out to those who are suffering.

“One message that I want to put forth is that sometimes suicide is the only option to some people’s lives and we should be able to stop them before it has to come to that,” Foley added.

The faculty of music was successful in their production of Such Sweet Sorrow, as they continued to display the talented singers and composers that study at Laurier.

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