CU Eklund Opera presents colourful ‘Postcard from Morocco’

Surrealistic opera by Dominick Argento Friday by means of Sunday within the Music Theatre

By Peter Alexander April 18 at 5:35 p.m.

Dominick Argento and John Donahue’s one-act opera Postcard from Morocco undoubtedly doesn’t function a postcard, it might not happen in Morocco, and it does probably not have a plot.

Colourful characters within the CU Eklund Opera’s Postcard from Morocco by Dominick Argento

What it does have is seven curious and colourful characters who collide and work together whereas ready for a prepare that will, or could not—shades of Ready for Godot—ever arrive. The subsequent manufacturing of CU’s Eklund Opera Program, this distinctive opera will probably be offered Thursday by means of Sunday within the Music Theater area of the Imig Music Constructing (see particulars and ticket info under).

The coed performances are stage directed by Leigh Holman and performed by Nicholas Carthy. Stage design is by Ron Mueller, with costumes by Ann Piano based mostly on drawings by Maya Hairston-Brown.

In the event you suppose this doesn’t sound like every other opera you’ve seen, you may be proper. “In a traditional opera, we get a plot and hints of a personality,” Carthy says. “And on this one we get the character and hints of a plot.”

“We wished to dig into this piece as a result of it was completely different,” Holman says. “It’s a means for our singers to dig into a complete style of opera that’s fully completely different from different issues they’ve accomplished. They’ve the liberty to essentially seek for the characters they need to develop.”

The CU Eklund Opera’s set for Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco

In some ways, it is a perfect piece for a college opera program. “As an academic venture it’s excellent,” Carthy says. “Everyone’s onstage on a regular basis. Everyone has an aria. Folks sing alone, individuals sing collectively, individuals sing in ensemble—mainly it’s all there, and [the opera] is so astonishingly effectively put collectively.”

Past the tutorial benefits, Holman emphasizes the sheer enjoyable of the piece. “There’s a ton of humor in it,” she says. “There are various actually humorous moments. [During rehearsals] we’re simply guffawing. There are some very critical moments too, but it surely’s a pleasant experience for the viewers.”

For Holman one of many pleasures of performing Postcard from Morocco is the truth that it isn’t typically accomplished. “There aren’t any traditions to stick to,” she says. “That opens up the scholars and the path and the music to simply do what you wish to do with it. It provides [the singers] area to dig in and discover issues” in every character.

The central conceit of the opera is that every character is carrying some form of baggage or field with them. These differ from a cornet case to a paint field to a cake field, however not one of the characters is wiling to indicate the others what’s of their baggage. “Everybody has their little secret,” Carthy says. 

The seven characters of Postcard from Morocco with their baggage

It is a clear metaphor for the “baggage” that all of us carry with us by means of life, which is likely one of the covert topics of the opera. “We placed on a facade of who we’re and what we do, however only a few individuals know what’s actually occurring inside,” Holman says. 

The characters—three girls and 4 males—are intentionally stored mysterious, and solely one in all them has a reputation. “An eclectic bunch of characters calls for an eclectic rating,” Carthy says, and the rating incorporates a kaleidoscope of musical types, from faucet dancing to Richard Wagner. The latter seems a number of occasions, together with a vaudeville scene paradoxically titled “Souvenirs de Bayreuth.”

Postcards is scored for a chamber ensemble of eight gamers, who will probably be costumed and positioned onstage. Along with the singing characters, there are two mimes, and “the maestro is likely one of the characters onstage, too,” Holman says. “He’s interacting [with the others].”

Carthy factors out the various literary references within the libretto—the whole lot from Samuel Beckett’s Ready for Godot, to James Joyce’s Ulysses, to The Odyssey, to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Baby’s Backyard of Verses. “You could possibly spend a lifetime deconstructing it,” Carthy says. As for Stevenson’s poetry, “There’s little quotes, however [the opera] has nothing to do with that,” he says. “It’s far-off from that.”

Ann Piano’s costumes function drawings by Maya Hairston-Brown and a particular shade for every character

The CU manufacturing goals for a form of timelessness and placelessness that’s neither Morocco nor not  Morocco. The units and costumes will probably be as colourful because the characters, actually. Early within the design course of, Holman studied the characters and assigned a shade to every. “I had somebody sketch little image of the varied issues they supposedly maintain of their containers, so that you’ve acquired hats, footwear, a cornet,” she explains.

That artist, Maya Hairston-Brown, despatched the sketches to an organization that printed them on material, a special shade for every character, after which costume designer Ann Piano turned the material into costumes. “That is actually wonderful,” Holman says. “We by no means free sight of who’s who and who’s related to what.”

On the finish of the opera, both a prepare arrives, or it doesn’t, relying in your interpretation. Everybody leaves the ready room to go onto the skin platform, however, Holman says, “We don’t know if it is a fantasy, or what it’s.”

You additionally get a small trace of what everybody has been hiding, however like a lot else within the opera, it’s enigmatic. “It’s actually as much as the viewers to determine what it means,” Holman says.

“It’s Dadaist, it’s surrealist, it’s enjoyable,” Carthy says, referring to creative actions from the mid-20th century when the opera was written. “And it’s such an unbelievable experience to go and see!”

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Postcard from Morocco by Dominick Argento and John Donahue

CU Eklund Opera Program
Leigh Holman, director, and Nicholas Carthy, conductor

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23
2 p.m. Sunday, April 24
Music Theatre, CU Imig Music Constructing


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