“Falstaff” opera premieres this Friday night
After months of preparing, The Lyric Theatre Society is finally ready to present ‘Falstaff,’ an opera that will keep you laughing at every moment. So as you start planning your weekend, make sure you save time to go to at least one performance.
Now that you are won- dering why you should actually stay here on a weekend to see an opera, let me explain. The production is a comedy based on Shakespeare’s ‘“The Merry Wives of Windsor.” It also contains a speech made in “Henry IV,” a work that may be familiar to Foundations students. Set in the sixteenth century, it focuses on Falstaff, a knight who is not the best role model.
He is a drunk, thief, liar and very fat. Falstaff is a ladies man, believing that all women swoon over him because of his obesity. He devises a plan to woo some of the wealthiest ladies in town (who happen to be marrried) so he can continue to live a life of luxury without doing any work. The ladies catch wind of his plan, and set out to teach him a lesson. Needless to say, if Verdi’s opera could be rated, it would be ‘PG-13.’
I caught the first ten minutes of a rehearsal and was almost in tears from laughing so hard. I got to see Chuck Harris as Falstaff with Shakir Mackey and Zach White as his two sidekicks. “We were compared to the ‘Three Stooges.’ Falstaff is the smartest, Pistol is the dumb one, and I’m just the really dumb one,” White said. They all get to act as lazy as possible and eat tons of food on stage. Nathan Van Til, also playing Falstaff, is very excited about the food. “On the night of the show there will be real rotisserie chickens,” he told me.
The set is going to be spectacular. Dr. Dathan Powell is set designer, and an expert on making creative backgrounds that will bring the opera to life. Before coming to Georgetown College to teach, he worked with Disney World, helping to create the ‘Animal Kingdom.’ Parts of the set include a tavern, sitting room, garden and enchanted forest. The enchanted forest will sparkle with lights, with a life-like tree the height of the stage. A chair that would be the 16th-century version of a ‘La-Z- Boy’ recliner was created specifically for Falstaff.
The costumes are also a sight to behold. Falstaff will be in a fat suit, and the wealthiest ladies will be decked out in jewels from head to toe. A large amount of diamonds and pearls were attained and sewn onto the dresses themselves. You may not recognize some of your friends in their wigs, petticoats and make-up. The entire cast is extremely talented, and have been working on the repertoire for months to get it memorized. The opera is, of course, sung throughout, but it will be in English with the words on a screen in case you cannot catch them fast enough. This year we have freshman as a big part of the production, with William Stanhope as technical director, Zach White as Bardolph, Meredith Scalos and Sarah Cox as supernumeraries.
As if those weren’t reasons enough to come, Friday night you are provided the chance to receive double NEXUS credit. Dr. Barbaccia is lecturing on ‘Falstaff’s Serious Play’ at 7 p.m. in Asher Room 112. The opera is directly following at 8 p.m. There are also rumors of a few Foundations teachers giving extra credit to those who come see the show.
The first production is this Friday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. and you can also see it on Saturday at 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. and Sunday and 8 p.m. The main roles are double cast; which means you may want to come to two performances to see both sets of actors. Make sure to bring friends! A student ID from any school will get you in the door for $3, so be sure to invite your UK friends too. Adult tickets are $5; children get in free. You can beat the rush and purchase tickets at the Bookstore, or come early and buy them at the door.
Georgetown students sing at SNATS and score
This past Friday and Saturday, eight of our vocal students traveled to a NATS district competition, returning proudly with six students making it to semi-finals and two students receiving 1st place.
NATS stands for the National Association of Teachers of Singing. SNATS is the student chapter of the association. According to their web- site http://www.nats.org, the association has over 7,000 members from more than 25 countries. They lead com- petitions like this one, which was held at Morehead State. George- town students sang alongside students from their district; like Eastern Kentucky University, Ken- tucky Wesleyan and Northern Kentucky University. They split in certain categories based on gender, genre of music and current year in college.
Students are required to be a member of SNATS in order to compete. They must have a certain number of pieces memorized; the juniors have to know at least five by heart. Weeks before the competition, students that were interested auditioned in front of Dr. Miller and Dr. Hunnicutt, our two voice teachers. The stu- dents who passed the audition were awarded a scholarship that covered expenses of the trip, including accompanist fees, registration fees and meals. This year every student who auditioned received a scholarship, making eight in total.
Mackey competed in the Classical category and won first place out of the junior men. It was his third year competing; he had always made it to semi-finals but never placed. He says it has been a learning experience for him. “You get a lot of feedback from judges. They tell you how to improve your vocal technique.” Among the people judging him was Daniel Bell, a voice teacher who performed at Georgetown last year. Nathan Van Til and Sarah Smith, both upperclassmen, also made it to semi-finals. Van Til placed first during his freshman year and has always made it to semi-finals in past competitions.
We had two freshmen make it to semifinals this year: Nikita Taggart and Sarah Cox. This is very impressive as this is their first time ever at NATS. Cox sang ‘Voi che sapete’ by Mozart as part of her repertoire. “Competing made me nervous, but I tried thinking of it as not a competition but just a chance to get feedback on my singing from other music professors.” she said. Both will most likely be in the next NATS competition as well.
Overall it was just a fun weekend for the eight vocalists. They will always have the memories they made, including the car ride in Dr. Miller’s minivan. Everyone agreed that there were a lot of laughs and singing. “I was trying to sleep and everyone broke out in Disney songs and Journey.” Shakir Mackey said. The upperclassmen bonded more with the freshman, getting a chance to get to see them come out of their shells. Every student came away with ways that they could improve their voice. You will have many chances to see them perform this year, as individuals and as a group, including the opera this weekend, where Harris and Van Til have the lead roles.