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March 12, 2010

School of Visual and Performing Arts presents one-act operas, March 25-27

The School of Visual and Performing Arts presents two fully staged one-act operas at 7:30 p.m. on March 25, 26 and 27, in Brown Auditorium on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Tickets are free to ULM students, faculty and staff, but should be reserved in advance. General admission is $15. Tickets may be purchased or reserved in the VAPA Office. Call 318-342-1414 for more information.

The production is directed by Mark Ross Clark, conducted by Jason Rinehart, technical director is Greg Bruce, and Robin Stephens is the choreographer.

The two pieces represent collaboration between the university divisions of Music, Theatre and Dance with original sets and designs by guest Jerry Johnson. Sylvan Beach will receive its premiere performance, with a musical score and visual concepts by Mel Mobley of the ULM music faculty.

“This fascinating new music-theatre piece has all styles of music, including hip-hop influences, a strong rhythmic foundation, with lyrical highlights,” said Clark. “The text is by Mobley collaborator from Texas, Wade Williams, which should make for an interesting performance.”

The small cast includes Elizabeth Boston-Bennett, Lance Dumas, and Doug Bennett. Faculty member Louis Nabors sings the role of the Judge. The premiere will be a modern work that includes visual integration of film, slides, sound, costumes, and set design with the music.

The other work, “Dido and Aeneas,” by Baroque English composer Henry Purcell, is traditionally set in Carthage, Greece, but the ULM production will transpose the setting to Carthage High School in Carthage, Texas. With the cast in cliques of nerds, band geeks, Goths, jocks, and cheerleaders, the modern setting brings the traditional baroque music to life in a new way.

Voice graduate student Linsy DePooter, playing the homecoming queen Dido, heads the cast. James Willis performs as Aeneas, the transfer student moving to Texas. As a blue-chip baseball-pitching prospect, he will decide whether to go on scholarship to join the University of Southern California Trojans, or turn pro for the Seattle Mariners. The cast of Dido includes Madonna Gil, Jennifer Free, Calvin Stafford, Brittany Paulk, Leah DeWitt, Allyson Wilson, and Betsy Lowe.

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