USD Opera to stage children's production in November

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s Department of Music Opera Workshop will showcase the children’s opera, “The Princess and the Pea” with several local performances in November.

Under the direction of Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland, professor of voice in the USD Department of Music, the 50-minute opera, which is based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen, will tour various locations in Vermillion, including Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. in Colton Recital Hall on the USD campus. Other scheduled performances include Monday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. at St. Agnes School; Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at Austin School; and Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 1 and 2 p.m. at Jolley School.

Gesteland said an interest in developing “The Princess and the Pea” for the local stage is to bring opera to elementary school children, many of whom may experience the classical music for the first time. “They will see that opera is fun and entertaining,” she added, “and, perhaps, be inspired to get involved in music and the other arts.”

The cast, featuring a mix of USD undergraduate and graduate students, is Amanda Rich of South Sioux City, Neb., as the Princess; William Darwin of Sioux City, Iowa, is the Prince; Ryan Landis of Rapid City, S.D., is Buffo; Kristin Edwards of Aberdeen, S.D., is the Queen while Cody Perk of Yankton is the Doctor. Susanne Harmon of Sioux Falls, S.D., is Dragon; Tim Cone of Rapid City, S.D., is Ogre; Megan Donohoo of Houston, Texas, is Cook; and Kendra Van Nyhuis of Hull, Iowa, and Clint Johnson of Harrisburg, S.D., are Hilde and Esperanza.

In addition to “The Princess and the Pea,” Gesteland, Rick Piersall, professor of voice at The U, and the USD Department of Music will produce the department’s first full opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” this December. The first performance of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Akron (Iowa) Opera House. The cast will feature a mixture of USD students, community members as well as members of the faculty at The U.

For more information about the USD Department of Music, please visit www.usd.edu/fine-arts/music.