Enthusiastic children and teachers from the Child Study Development Center on campus visited the Music Department recently to watch Music students perform scenes from their upcoming Opera Workshop.
One performer, Abby Arenstam, who sang an aria in both English and Italian, played a game with the students, asking them to raise their hands when they noticed a change in language.
Last week, Opera Workshop students performed at Nottingham Elementary School, as well.
This year’s Opera Workshop tackles scenes from three operas: Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte (Women Are Like That) and Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), and Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love). Director Jenni Cook calls the operas timelessly funny and clever. “Mozart and Donizetti recognized the value of love, marriage, and legend in these witty tales,” she says.
The program was chosen to display the talents of voice majors in the Department of Music, says Cook. The students will be singing in English, a deliberate choice in order to facilitate plot and character development, though not necessarily an easy one.
“Many students found singing opera in English a challenge in terms of achieving round, rich vowels and clear diction,” notes Cook. “This was a good exercise for them to sing clearly in the language we American singers take for granted at times: our own.”
The UNH performances of Opera Workshop are this Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. in Bratton Recital Hall, Paul Creative Arts Center. Admission is free.