SLC's Opera Workshop students preparing to present 'Promises, Promises'

Posted On April 08, 2015


The word “opera” is derived from the Latin term for work.

Students at Silver Lake College are learning just how much work as they prepare to present “Promises, Promises,” a show featuring scenes from five operas.In addition to singing the challenging opera parts, students are gaining experience with things such as costumes, props, sets, stage, publicity, lighting, makeup and hair, said Dr. Rachel Ware Carlton, SLC’s Interim Director of Graduate Music and Assistant Professor of Voice. She is directing the show.

Student performers include Tom Roberts, Kevin Sievert, Emily Cattani, Brittieny Simmer and Emily Laurin. They are enrolled in Opera Workshop, a new class offered this semester, which will culminate with the production. All scenes will be performed in English. Two performances are slated for later this month.

The first performance is at 9 a.m. April 22 on campus in Endries Hall as part of the opening of the Spring Student Symposium, which spotlights student-led presentations. The performance is free and open to the public.

The second show, beginning at 7 p.m. April 25 in Endries Hall, will include the Opera Workshop Performance and Spring Choral Concert. Tickets are $5. The public is invited.

“Opera Workshop is an integral part of the Bachelor of Music degree in the Performance and Pedagogy: Vocal Track, but the class also is open to all Silver Lake students by audition,” Ware Carlton said.

“The class is a way in which students can develop their resumes and practice the art of being singing actors within a workshop environment,” she said.

Students learn about opera from its birth in Italy to its development in France, Germany and America. They also get practice in stage movement, gestures, facial expressions and improvisation.

Other classes are involved as well. Assistant Art Professor Erin LaBonte’s Conceptual Photography class is experimenting with projections and lighting for the show, while her 3D Design class is creating trees and set pieces.

“We’re focusing on what a collaborative effort it is to put on an opera. We’re bringing in people from lots of different artistic areas,” Ware Carlton said.

“Promises, Promises” will feature scenes from “Cosi fan tutte” and “Don Giovanni,” both by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “Hansel and Gretel,” by Engelbert Humperdink; “The Elixir of Love,” by Gaetano Donizetti; and “The Tender Land,” by Aaron Copland.

“Each scene is linked to promises, whether between lovers, ourselves and the divine, or the promise of bounty from the land,” Ware Carlton said.

Damon Carlson, SLC’s Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, also will perform, as well as student Shaughn VanGinkel and Event and Conference Coordinator Tammy Reigel. Dr. Diana Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Piano, will provide accompaniment.