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You'll be begging the GSU opera to fool you twice


October 25, 2014

    Missed Fool Me Twice: Opera Breve VI Friday night? By the looks of the full recital hall and crowds standing on the walls, not many of you did. For those who missed it or are looking for an encore, the performance will take place again tonight, Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 in the Foy Building Carol A. Carter Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

    Each opera in the double feature start with a brief overview of the storyline displayed on the screen behind the stage. The first, Il campanello, starts off with the reception for newlyweds Annibale, an apothecary, and young Serafina. The guests sing their well wishes (in perfect harmony) to the couple, led by the ex-lover/cousin of Serafina, Enrico. (It is the 18th century.) Of course, this is just a ruse so that he is not suspected of the shenanigans to follow. When everyone departs, Serafina goes to bed, and Annibale tries to do that same. As an apothecary, he must answer his night bell when it rings, so as to be of service to all who need him and his medicines. The bell rings, and he answers it, a bit annoyed. The caller is Enrico in a blatantly obvious disguise.  As the night gets longer, the disguises get more ridiculous, as do the prescriptions. The last “caller” leaves just as the sun comes up, and Annibale’s servants come to prepare him for a several day work journey.

Although the entire cast was spectacular, I have to highlight a couple of people. Serafina wasn’t in the majority of the play, but when she was, T’Nai Wilkins could hit the high notes beautifully. Matthew Blankenship, playing Annibale, was the highlight of the evening. His ability to sing, in Italian, so flawlessly and continue to act out the role was amazing.

The second opera, after a short intermission, also did the same, with a summary on the screen before the students took the stage. It began in a living room, where a beautiful young lady, Gasparina, was sitting at a dressing table. Her (very manly) mother, Apollonia, walks in sporting a dress and heels. (Props to Jacob Furse for staying in character the entire production.) They begin to discuss the presents the young lady’s suitor has given her, with the mother obviously showing her greed in her talk of such items. When the suitor comes to the door, brandishing more gifts, we see the greed in both of them. Don Ettore, played by Victoria Devyn Crawley (who also stayed in her male suitor role for the duration of the opera), leaves and Gasparina’s song teacher comes in, also hopelessly in love with her. He gives her presents too and then, suspecting her unfaithfulness, hides instead of leaving. Ettore returns, having seen the song teacher come back when he should have left, demands to know if she has been seeing him too. Both suitors offer more and more to Gaparina, and in the end, she chooses their tokens and gifts, and her trickery is lost on the two men.  The student playing the song teacher, David Hopkins, was equally devoted to his physical comedy role and singing, which made the whole opera.

It’s easy to forget that the cast is comprised of just students because they all obviously have immense talent. Their performance and professionalism reflect their dedication to their program.


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