Apr 17, 2012
 

USD Opera bridges departments, merges talent for ‘Dido & Aeneas’

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Opera will present a modern adaptation of the operatic masterpiece “Dido and Aeneas” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at Aalfs Auditorium inside Slagle Hall.
 

“Dido and Aeneas, ” presented by the USD Opera in conjunction with the USD Theatre, USD Chamber Singers and USD Chamber Orchestra, features a mythic queen, her lover and an evil Sorceress bent on revenge.

“This opera is our largest-scale production to date,” noted USD Opera Director Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., assistant professor of music-voice/opera. “Modern audiences will enjoy our updated adaptation of Henry Purcell’s classic dramatic masterpiece. This production relays the story of the opera not only with beautiful singing, but also through the use of ballet and modern dance to enhance the narrative.”

The plot begins as young Queen Dido of Carthage, played by Natalie Campbell of Sioux Falls, S.D., mourns her late husband and is pursued by the Trojan Prince, Aeneas, played by Cody Perk of Yankton, S.D.  In wooing Dido, Aeneas spurns the affections of the Sorceress, played by Laura Kuschel of St. Paul, Minn., resulting in dire consequences.

With choreography by sophomore music major Rebecca Hebda of Yankton, S.D., the opera also features Marissa Morris from Rapid City, S.D. as Ballet Dido, Kenneth Granle from Mantorville, Minn., as Ballet Aeneas, and Chaya Gordon-Bland, assistant professor of theatre, in the role of Ballet Sorceress.

In addition to combining the forces of voice and dance, USD Opera is blazing forward in new partnerships with the USD Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Marie-Elaine Gagnon, D.M.A., and Eunho Kim, D.M.A., both assistant professors of music at USD, as well as the USD Chamber Singers, directed by David Holdhusen, Ph.D., assistant professor of music.  In addition to preparing the Chamber Singers to serve as the opera chorus, Holdhusen will also conduct the orchestra for this performance. The production will also feature scenic elements created by the USD Theatre Department.

“The collaboration between USD Opera, the Chamber Singers and the Chamber Orchestra is an excellent opportunity to provide useful and invaluable experience to the student musicians within each ensemble,” added Gesteland.

General admission tickets for “Dido & Aeneas” will be sold at the door ($10 adults/$5 students with I.D.). The hour-long opera is performed in English and includes supertitles for ease-of-understanding.  The production also contains mature themes that are not intended for children. For more information, please contact the USD Department of Music at (605) 677-5274, email music@usd.edu or visit the department’s website at www.usd.edu/music.

 
About The University of South Dakota
 
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,200 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.
 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Phillip Carter
The University of South Dakota
605-677-6258
phillip.carter@usd.edu
 
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