Opera entertains on campus

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(Photo by Nick Lachance)

Providing a quick peek into some of the world’s most celebrated operas, Laurier’s annual Opera Excerpts delivered a night of drama and deceit in their self-titled production Mistaken Identities, Disguises & Other Operatic Misunderstandings.

Under the stage direction of Laurier Faculty of Music alumnus Erik Thor and musical direction of pianist Emily Hamper, the music students of Opera Laurier put on an entertaining show on Nov. 9 and 10.

Striking a perfect balance between comedy and drama, Saturday night’s performance gave an amicable introduction to the world of opera, allowing audience members to realize the contemporary relevance of this classic art form.

This year’s show helped to elucidate how the common trope of deception and disguise is not relegated to the opera, but rather, remains a vital component of stories today (hello 50 years of James Bond).

The show opened with a hilarious excerpt from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and was followed by the first of three scenes from Emmanual Chabrier’s L’étoile. Interspersed throughout the show, the short, comedic segments of L’étoile were excellent transition pieces between some of the heavier excerpts.

The only English opera of the evening, Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, saw Shakespeare’s classic tale re-imagined for the modern world. The four lovers, clad in contemporary club-wear, drunkenly gallivanted through the forest holding red-solo-cups.

The standout piece of the night though, came from an excerpt of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Perhaps the best singing of the night, this segment brought Hansel (Emma Mansell) and Gretel (Kristen English) to the Witch’s (Samantha Pickett) gingerbread house.

Getting an audience to laugh aloud amidst a German opera is no easy feat. However the three singers did it with ease as all delivered outstanding performances, breathing new life into this classic fairytale.

Singing in Italian, French, German, and of course English, subtitles were displayed on top of the stage allowing the audience to follow along.

However, this crutch was rarely needed because frankly, it was much more enjoyable to watch the action play out on stage.

Opera Laurier mounts a full-scale opera production in the New Year. After the success of their excerpt production this past weekend, it is a highly anticipated event.

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