CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University’s department of music will be performing “Devils, Demons and Redemption: SUU Opera Scenes” at the Thorley Recital Hall on campus at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, taking its audience on a musical journey through the darkness and joy of the human experience.
The program opens with a collection of scenes from well-known operas.
“Preparing for this performance has taken a lot of hard work but it has pushed me to new levels and definitely helped me to grow in ways I didn’t think were possible,” Leslie Perkins, a junior vocal performance major, said. “It has been difficult due to the long hours of practice and rehearsal, but has been an incredibly rewarding learning experience.”
A scene that is new to the Thorley stage will be performed from Charles Gounod’s “Faust,” a redemption tale about a man who makes a deal with the devil.
While “Hansel and Gretel,” by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck, was performed at the university about 10 years ago, this particular scene has not been performed there individually.
A scene from “Susannah,” written by Carlisle Floyd, is being presented with the final scene from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”
The second half of the show features an early chamber opera by Mozart called “The Impresario.” Even though Southern Utah University’s music department performed scenes from this one-act opera in 2006, the opera has not been performed in its entirety at SUU since the early ’90s.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Impresario” was written as a result of a one-act opera competition with Antonio Salieri, the imperial court composer for Emperor Joseph II, in Vienna, Austria. The rivalry between Mozart and Salieri was widely known, so the emperor devised the competition for the entertainment of the public.
Both one-act operas explored the intrigues of opera and were performed on the same night in front of hundreds of guests during a spring festival at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. While Salieri emerged as the victor in the competition, it pushed Mozart to becoming an even better composer and led to the writing of his opera “The Marriage of Figaro.”
“My favorite part about the rehearsal process is the amount of growth that happens within the cast,” Claire Robinson, member of the cast and a sophomore majoring in vocal performance, said. “Everyone is challenged and improves immensely by the end. We also grow as colleagues and friends. I feel honored to work in such a great department.”
“The Impresario” is about Mr. Scruples, a theater director who is looking for new actors but is having money troubles. A banker, Mr. Angel, offers his financial assistance under one condition: his lover, Madame Goldentrill, must be included in the theater’s production. As Mr. Scruples auditions the different artists, he almost threatens to give up due to their capriciousness. Finally, the actors agree that the audience should decide who gets hired for the part. It is a fun, lighthearted production that is sure to leave you laughing.
More information about the music department is available on SUU’s music department webpage.
- What: “Devils, Demons and Redemption.”
- When: Nov. 9-12 at 7:30 p.m.
- Where: Thorley Recital Hall, Southern Utah University, Cedar City.
- Cost: $10 for adults and $5 for youth.