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April 22 - April 24| $23 Get Tickets
Main Stage Opera with Symphony Orchestra
Friday, April 22 at 7:30PM
Saturday, April 23 at 7:30PM
Sunday, April 24 at 2:30PM
Set on Shenandoah Conservatory’s main proscenium stage and directed by our new Director of Opera Ella Marchment, The New World of Opera provides audiences with the full opera experience! This year’s program features the U.S. premiere of Germaine Tailleferre’s four comic operettas, composed in the style of Rossini, Offenbach, Charpentier and Rameau. A pioneer in the opera world, Tailleferre was the only female member of Les Six, a renowned group of influential twentieth century French composers. In this exclusive and inventive staging, Tailleferre’s operettas are cleverly paired with excerpts and overtures by the classical composers who served as her source of inspiration. Farcical plots, lush designs and the full force of the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra complete the experience as audiences take a journey through the classical French canon and the eyes of a twentieth-century creative genius.
Excerpts sung in various languages with English subtitles
Music direction by Jan Wagner
Duration: 2.5 hours (subject to change)
New This Year: Digital Programs!
Shenandoah Conservatory is launching digital programs for the 2021/22 season! We’re always looking for ways to improve your audience experience and provide more ways to connect with our students, faculty and guest artists from around the world. The digital program is best viewed on your mobile or tablet device.
SUGGESTED SHOW RATING: G
This production contains theatrical haze and a gunshot effect. Contact the Box Office for more information.
Meet the Director + Q&A
Universally acclaimed as one of Europe’s most original and progressive directors, and widely celebrated as the founder of the global #OperaHarmony movement, auteur-director Ella Marchment has also taken on leadership roles for international arts organizations and spoken and lectured at world-renowned companies and conservatoires, including Opera Europa in the Netherlands, the Royal Opera House in London, the Juilliard School in New York, and the Royal College of Music in London. She was previously director of the opera programme at Northern Illinois University and is the current artistic director of Manor Opera in the UK, and Opera Festival of Chicago. Visit www.ellamarchment.org to learn more.
Q: What makes you so excited to produce these pieces?
“Germaine Tailleferre was one of Les Six, a group of composers at the vanguard of musical development in Paris in the early twentieth century. At the time they were a media sensation, yet whilst the work of the other members lives on Tailleferre herself has been all but forgotten about.
Arguably her voice was the most progressive of the group, yet she both found fame in the shadow of these men and has now been overshadowed by them in her memory.
I’m committed to addressing the lack of female representation in the opera industry (and co-founded a charity in the U.K. to promote the work of women and highlight their professional successes), so it seemed crucial for me to stand by my principles of equity and expansion of the traditional canon by offering audiences work by a female composer in my first year of the job here. The pieces are also brilliant because they offer such a huge variety of roles to several of the cast. Ultimately, university is about getting as much experience as possible and within these operas we are able to offer nineteen principal roles to students (most operas have between three to six main roles).
And I’m finally interested in producing these pieces because they are brilliant. Fun, witty, charming. I believe that art should engage with the key issues of life and expand our reality, or offer an escape from it. After so much destruction and devastation in the world over the past few years this evening is light, Fawlty Towers-esque comic relief and escapism into a surreal and charming French world.”
– Ella Marchment, director
Q: What are the students learning/enjoying?
“Our students are learning how to be professional performers in a production where they have numerous levels of responsibility. All our cast play multiple roles throughout the pieces: alongside their main roles in the four operettas they also pop up dancing, acting and singing in various other places throughout the piece. It’s great because it is teaching them about the importance of being a soloist and an ensemble member, as well as being able to come together and sing with an orchestra for the first time (for some), and for the first time in years (for others).”
– Ella Marchment, director
Q: What will audiences find exciting about the pieces?
“Imagine you open a cabinet of curiosities and find endless weird and wonderful objects inside. This is what these pieces are. They are beautiful vignettes of surrealist French stories, that are imaginative, playful and fun. I’m a director who firmly believes that the ‘park and bark’ mode of singing belongs to a different country so you should expect the unexpected. It’s an action packed two hours, full of surreal fun and an opera like you have never seen opera before.”
– Ella Marchment, director
Food & Drink
Concessions will be available for purchase beginning one hour prior to this performance.
All facilities are wheelchair accessible. Infrared hearing system headsets are available in Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre only. Accommodations for disabilities may be arranged by contacting the Box Office at least three days prior to the performance.