Syracuse University to present Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera ‘The Gondoliers’ Jan. 24 and 25
Syracuse University to present Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera ‘The Gondoliers’ Jan. 24 and 25January 17, 2003Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s Opera Workshop and Arts Adventure will present “The Gondoliers,” a classic Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25 in the University’s Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College. The performances are free and open to the public, and free parking is available in the Irving Garage.
“The Gondoliers” is the largest production undertaken by SU’s Opera Workshop, a program sponsored by the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and directed by Eric Johnson. The production is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Opera Workshop and the SU Drama Department, with significant funding for sets and costumes provided by Arts Adventure.
Conducting the opera will be Frederick Willard, assistant professor in the Drama Department, who has worked extensively off-Broadway and regionally as a conductor, arranger, keyboardist and composer. His Broadway credits include “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Anything Goes.”
The cast includes students from the Setnor School of Music, the Drama Department and SUNY Oswego, as well as guest artists from the Central New York community. Accompanying the cast of “The Gondoliers” will be a 12-piece orchestra composed of students from the Setnor School of Music. Costume designer is Dorita Reyen, a graduate student in VPA’s Department of Fashion and Design Technologies.
First performed in 1889, “The Gondoliers” was the third-to-last last opera produced by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan before the duo split. Like many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, “The Gondoliers” satirizes snobbery in all levels of society. It is the story of two gondoliers, raised as brothers in Venice, who marry and then are told that one of them is really the son of the late king of Barataria. The identity of the prince, however, is unknown because the gondolier to whom the royal baby was entrusted during the Baratarian revolution mixed up the child with his own son. Thus, both young men temporarily leave their brides and travel to the kingdom to rule jointly until the situation can be sorted out in typical Gilbert and Sullivan comic fashion.
Singing the roles of gondoliers Giuseppe and Marco are Jimi James, who regularly performs with the Syracuse Opera, most recently as Schaunard in “La Boheme;” and Shaun Moe, a senior at SUNY Oswego and professional dancer from Liverpool. Moe is also choreographing “The Gondoliers.”
Other cast members include Patti Thompson (Inez), a voice instructor in the Setnor School of Music and professional operatic soloist and recitalist with performance credits in more than 50 roles in the United States and Europe; VPA graduate students Wendi Kittlaus (Casilda) and Joanna Manring (Duchess of Plaza-Toro), who debuted last fall with the Oswego Opera Theatre in “The Magic Flute;” VPA senior Jennifer Nadig (Tessa), who also appeared in the Oswego Opera Theatre’s “The Magic Flute;” VPA juniors James Hunter, Michael Guiou (Luiz) and Julia Ebner (Giannetta), who played the First Lady in the Oswego Opera Theatre’s “The Magic Flute;” and freshman Ian Irvine (Duke of Plaza-Toro).