Season and audition announcement
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of The Bard, and Lawrence Opera Theatre (LOT) has planned its 7th Summer Festival to celebrate the lasting legacy of the world’s greatest playwright. Shakespeare 400, which runs July 29 – August 14, 2016, will feature performances of Shakespeare’s words set to music in opera scenes, art song, and musical theatre. The festival will culminate in a fully-staged production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays in addition to his poems and sonnets. He invented thousands of words, often combining or contorting Latin, French, and native roots. His impressive expansion of the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, includes such words as: arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, heartsore, hunchbacked, leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany. His plays have been translated into dozens of languages, and operas based on his plays can be heard in Italian, German, French.
As in prior seasons, LOT is partnering with several community organizations who are providing performance venues for concerts and cabarets. The lead partner is Theatre Lawrence, whose state-of-the art theatre offers unique staging opportunities to LOT’s creative team. Other partners include the Castle Tea Room, John Brown’s Underground, Signs of Life and the Lawrence Public Library.
New York Metropolitan Opera Tenor, Hugo Vera, is the founder and Artistic Director of Lawrence Opera Theatre. Having recently joined the University of Arizona faculty as Assitant Professor of Voice, he maintains his ties to Lawrence and his alma mater, KU, coming back every summer to direct the festival. Vera stands by the mission of the company to fill in the void of opera during the summer season in Lawrence and the surrounding area. Vera said, “Lawrence Opera Theatre continues to present innovative offerings at a variety of venues in the area, expanding our community partnerships and reach in and around Lawrence.” He also emphasizes that LOT provides performance opportunities to emerging vocal artists, local singers and high school students to perform and gain experience as well as learn from professionals associated with the company, and he encourages singers of all levels to apply.
Auditions will take place on April 26th and 27th from 4pm-8pm at Theatre Lawrence, 4660 Bauer Farm Dr. in Lawrence. Applications can be filed online via the yaptracker website (http://www.yaptracker.com/applications/lawrence-opera-theatre-2016 ). The deadline to apply is Tuesday, April 19th. More information on audition requirements can be found on LOT’s website, at www.lawrenceopera.org/auditions/ .
Lawrence Opera Theatre presents:
July 29-August 14, 2016
Friday, 7/29 – Final Friday (time tbc, Lawrence Public Library)
Musical teaser for the coming season featuring a variety of songs and arias.
Friday, 8/5 – Shakespeare at The Castle (7:30pm, Castle Tea Room, 1307 Massachussetts, Lawrence)
Shakespeare influenced all aspects of the arts, including the world of art song. An art song might be defined as “a poem set to music, usually for trained voice and piano accompaniment. Famous composers of art song such as Schubert, Wolf, Chausson, Vaughan Williams and Finzi among others, combine their beautiful music with the words of Shakespeare.
LOT is excited to return to the Castle Tea Room to recreate the atmosphere of a parlor concert, bringing intimacy between performer and audience. Shakespearean Sonnets will be recited as well. Pre-performance and intermission hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and spirits are part of this special evening.
Thursday, 8/11 – The Bard’s Tale: Operas and Words from Shakespeare (7:30pm, Theatre Lawrence, 4660 Bauer Farm Drive, Lawrence)
For a playwright who described music as ‘the food of love,’ it is little wonder Shakespeare has inspired so many composers to transform his works for the operatic stage. This program features scenes and arias from operas by Adès, Bellini, Berlioz, Britten, Gounod, Purcell, Rossini, Thomas and Verdi alongside scenes from the original plays. Works include selections from Falstaff, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Macbeth.
Friday, 8/12 – Incidental music from The Fairy Queen, Dido and Aeneas (7:30pm, Theatre Lawrence)
Sunday, 8/14 – Incidental music from The Fairy Queen, Dido and Aeneas(2:30pm, Theatre Lawrence)
Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (1692) is usually dubbed the first Shakespearean opera. Its music, however, is confined to interludes within a curtailed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The program includes an Overture arranged for brass ensemble and a Chaccone performed by our own Lawrence Chamber Ensemble conducted by Carlos Espinosa. Purcell’s only real opera, Dido and Aeneas, was written for a cast of young girls and displays distinctly Shakespearean influences that can be attributed to his librettist, the poet and playwright Nahum Tate. Tate consistently “improved” Shakespeare to suit new audience tastes. He kept true to Virgil’s tale, with the exception of the addition of two Macbeth-inspired witch scenes.
Saturday, 8/13 – Brush up your Shakespeare! (7:30pm, Theatre Lawrence)
The plays of William Shakespeare were so popular “across the pond,” that they inspired several American musicals. This program features selections from the classics The Boys from Syracuse, Kiss Me, Kate and West Side Story, to the more contemporary Lion King and All Shook Up.