Public martyrdom, suburban frustrations and the trials of a young chimney sweep are all themes portrayed in the three short but dramatic operas presented by the Frost Opera Theater. Concluding their 2008-2009 season, excerpts of the works will be performed April 22-25.
The first opera, Pearl, is based on a book by Mary Gordon. It follows a mother’s journey to understand her daughter’s act of rebellion in Ireland, where she chains herself to a flagpole in front of the U.S. embassy. The opera is a work in progress, currently undergoing its gestation and experimental period until its full debut.
The next piece, Trouble in Tahiti, follows the lives of an American couple, Sam and Dinah, who have much in common with the couple featured in the recent movie release Revolutionary Road. They become disenchanted with suburban life and the opera follows all the troubles that ensue.
Finally, The Little Sweep is the story of a young chimney sweep who is mistreated and, while working, gets lodged in a chimney. He is rescued by the children of the house and finds freedom from his cruel employer. This unique opera can be likened to works such as Annie and Oliver Twist and even includes audience participation.
In performing these memorable works, the Frost Opera Theater hopes to increase attendance.
“Since we have a smaller ensemble, a lot of people are not even aware of our opera programs,” said Alan Johnson, the music and program director of the Frost Opera Theater. “Our mission is to bring all the hard work of these students out to the university at large.”
Dean Southern, the stage and music director of The Little Sweep, shared similar sentiments.
“I think it is very exciting to see the future of opera,” Southern said. “People should get out to see how alive opera can be.”
IF YOU GO
What: Frost Opera Theater 2008-2009 Season Conclusion Performance
When: April 22 (Excerpts from Pearl and Trouble in Tahiti), April 23 (Pearl and The Little Sweep), April 24 and 25 (Trouble in Tahiti and The Little Sweep) All performances are at 7 p.m.
Where: Victor E. Clarke Recital Hall
Cost: $5 for students/faculty/staff; $20 general admission; $10 seniors.