The opening night for the PSU Opera was held on April 17 in Lincoln Hall. Our students performed to a full house and their performance was absolutely stunning. They certainly earned my admiration for their talent, dedication, exuberance and stamina. It was a great opportunity for them to perform a classic, Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro”– an opera that premiered in 1786 that nearly every acclaimed opera singer has performed in one of the leading roles. Le nozze di Figaro is a wonderful story of love, friendship, power, social ranks, and gender differences and treatment. It is also bursting of wonderful elements of humor and “you never know where love is hiding” sentiments.
Mark Mandel, The Oregonian, provides a raving review — “Conducting, stage direction, set design and much of the singing and acting are terrific. And the 450-seat venue where all can be seen and heard clearly is crucial. U.S. opera companies performing in theaters way too large have little hope of delivering Mozart with such panache…Mozart’s comedy reads and rocks in a small theater in a way that it cannot do in a 3,000-4,000-seat barn.”
Second year undergraduate students, juniors, seniors, graduate students and guest artists performed their parts flawlessly. The audience may have noticed retired School of Social Work faculty member, Nancy Koroloff, on the stage. Nancy made her debut with the PSU opera as a member of the opera chorus. Nancy did buy her way into the part – 🙂 – as the successful high bidder to perform on stage with our talented students at last year’s “Voce d’amore” – our annual PSU opera celebration and fundraiser.
I had the opportunity to go backstage after the performance with Bob Bucker, our Dean of the College of the Arts, to meet with students and faculty. The excitement and energy our students had on the stage was still very much evident in their smiles and feelings of gratitude to their faculty and the audience.
One student responds to the dean: “I did it—I was so nervous before it started—but I did it!” And yes, she did.
Mandel further captures the spectacular production — “I’ve attended PSU’s spring opera productions for 40 years now, and I don’t think they’ve done anything more enjoyable than this vibrant ‘Nozze di Figaro'” (The Oregonian).
Good news! You can still attend the PSU Opera on either:
- Friday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, April 26, 3 p.m.
The PSU opera is only one example of the unique opportunities we provide our students. They were joined by our 2015 Jeannine B. Cowles Distinguished Professor in Residence, Ari Pelto, the Portland State University Orchestra, the technical crew and house staff; all contributed to a professional production and wonderful opera experience.
My hats off to Professor Christine Meadows, the artistic director; Professors Alison Heryer and Dan Meeker, both from our School of Theater and Film; Professor Douglas Schneider from our School of Music; stage director, Brenda Nuckton; and lighting designer, Peter West. They, like so many of our faculty and staff, dedicate their time and talent to create learning opportunities for our students. An opera performance, clinical or field experiences for our students, working in a laboratory or studio, or having an internship are just some of the many ways these experiences are created.
I hope you will also attend one of the many varied performances/events given by our students in the College of the Arts.