Opera Laurier puts on an impressive performance

This past weekend, a little night of music took place in Laurier’s Theatre Auditorium – two in fact – as the faculty of music presented their annual opera concert A Little Night Music to family, students and the general public.

The concert was a continuation of Opera Excerpts that were performed this past November; its main goal was to familiarize students with the complex processes of putting on musical productions.

The educational exercise was also meant to serve as a pleasant treat for spectators.

Once again, the faculty of music’s opera program was successful in delivering a professional and entertaining concert in a minimalist style.

Two pianists and a plain black multileveled stage were relied on to support the 26 performers playing 16 roles.

A Little Night Music was a ‘70s Broadway musical based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film Smiles of a Summer Night, which centred on the dramas of love among the young, the foolish and the old.

Set in Sweden at the turn of the century, the opera presents various love stories, which turn into a tangled web of affairs and seduction.

In the end, each character involved ends up with his or her right mate and the story comes full circle.

Perfect for the event’s goal of readying opera students, the musical’s storyline presented challenges that were unusual for a school production.

Aside from the fact that talent was required to act and sing in dramatic and comedic scenes, there were the distractions of simultaneous multiple narratives; not to mention that the cast had to play off of the production’s sexual focus – onstage kissing, undressing and fondling.

Responding excellently, the cast’s ability to handle themselves well with the material and demands of the play was impressive.

Each performer was convincing in his or her character and emotional performance.

Alexandra Beley was wonderful as the sarcastic and unhappy Countess Charlotte, as was Ryan Vallée as the composed yet confused Fredrik and Amanda Wilhelm as the hilariously wise Armfeld.

Going further than just embodying emotion, the cast did so while dancing and singing, overcoming a whole new set of challenges.

The Broadway musical A Little Night Music featured music by Stephen Sondheim and is based on a book by Hugh Wheeler; it was originally launched in 1973. In 1977, it was re-adapted for film.