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Opera Workshop celebrates Leonard Bernstein with scenes performance

Published 11/01/18

Colby Luper

TNE Writer

Opera Workshop is educating and entertaining the general public and students with the music of Leonard Bernstein in an opera scenes performance. This concert celebrates the Bernstein Centennial, which is on the 100th birthday of the famed music composer, conductor and author.

This event is a collaboration between the Opera Workshop and NSU Libraries. The event includes performances of scenes from different Bernstein musicals and operettas, and the history of these works are presented throughout the event.

“Performances will consist of scenes from Bernstein works such as West Side Story, Candide and On the Town,” said Dr. Whitney Myers, Opera Workshop director. “The students have been hard at work learning music, staging and choreographing for each of the different scenes and arias being presented. To name a few, America, Tonight, Glitter and Be Gay and Some Other Time are among the pieces to be performed.”

These pieces are performed by students in the Department of Music. They are accompanied by piano performed by Farren Mayfield, instructor of music. Students act, sing and dance in solo performances, duets and ensemble numbers. The program strives to portray every facet of Bernstein’s works in a professional and entertaining manner.

“Dr. Myers selects certain pieces for students who have certain vocal ranges and can perform these pieces to the expected standard and beyond,” said Lacey Franklin, University Singer junior. “The students are expected to learn their music and staging in a certain amount of time. We rehearse every Tuesday and Wednesday from 3-4:30 p.m. Sometimes we have extra rehearsals, especially during the week leading up to the performance.”

In addition to musical performances, this event includes educational presentations of Leonard Bernstein’s life that give context to the music performed. Dr. Erica Argyropoulos, general library instructor, is a specialist on Bernstein. She is presenting on Bernstein as a musical theater composer and providing insight into his biography as his works are explored throughout the duration of the concert.

“I have been researching the career of Leonard Bernstein for the last 16 years,” said Dr. Argyropoulos. “He was the topic of both my MA thesis and Ph.D dissertation. The opera performance grew out of an effort of collaboration with the department of music. As a Bernstein specialist, I will serve as an informational guide who takes the audience on a tour of this extensive and delightful repertoire.”

This is the only performance of its kind put on by Opera Workshop this semester. The program presents scenes concerts each fall semester to showcase different works. Last year, the program presented songs from The Great American Songbook.

“We are living in divisive times,” said Dr. Argyropoulos. “I think one of the most important aspects of Bernstein was his belief that music had the power to demonstrate our common humanity and bring people together through difficult times. I think we can learn a lot from his passion for togetherness and music and the example he set in that regard.”

During the spring semester, the Opera Workshop presents a full production. In the past, the program has presented musicals such as A Little Night Music, and operas such as The Elixir of Love. More information about the spring production will be released in the coming months.

The fall 2018 Opera Workshop scenes performance is at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16 in the Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost $8 for the general public and $5 for NSU students and senior citizens.

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