Valdosta Daily Times

September 14, 2013

Opera After Dark

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times


Valdosta State University Opera takes a deeper breath this coming 2013-14 season.
Unlike past seasons, there is no major production, such as “Don Giovanni” presented in 2012, but there are three performances scheduled for 2013-14. The first one, “Opera After Dark,” plays for one night next week.
“We are hoping to build a true opera season,” says Carol Mikkelsen, the voice instructor who guides VSU Opera. “These productions are smaller this year, but there are three to offer more opportunities.”
VSU Opera often builds its season, or selects a production, based on the available voice students within Valdosta State’s music department. This year, VSU has several undergraduate voice students and one graduate student. 
For all three productions, Tamara Hardesty, a trained soprano and VSU vocal instructor, will be the stage director. 
VSU Opera provides the following descriptions for the three scheduled 2013-14 productions in its “A Season of Great Miniatures”:
— OPERA AFTER DARK: “A dinner-theater at the Bas Bleu Brasserie (121 N. Patterson St.), Downtown Valdosta, as part of the September ‘Art After Dark’ celebration. Fine cuisine served with fine entertainment — featuring music from operas and operettas performed by VSU and community students and professional singers.” 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20.
— OPERA THEN & NOW: “Main stage opera with orchestra in VSU’s Whitehead Auditorium featuring a double-bill of comic operas: Mozart’s ‘The Impresario’ and leading American composer Thomas Pasatieri’s ‘Signor Deluso.’ This event will reveal new technological scenic wizardry — a first in Valdosta and in the state of Georgia.” Kenneth Kirk, conductor. 10 a.m., Jan. 24, youth performance; 7:30 p.m., Jan. 25; 3 p.m., Jan. 26.
— OPERA BAROQUE: “A collaborative performance presented by VSU Opera and VSU Chamber Singers Historic English choral opera performed in the historic West Hall Rotunda featuring Henry Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas.’” Paul Neal, conductor. 7:30 p.m., April 19; 3 p.m., April 20.
As for “Opera After Dark,” Mikkelsen says the audience can expect a meal catered by Covington’s and music from various light operettas. Music will include selections from a work by Johann Strauss, Hardesty singing the appropriate “By Strauss,” selections such as “Ain’t Necessarily So” and “Summertime” from Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess.” 
VSU vocal students will be joined by singers from Valdosta High School, Lowndes High and Valwood. 
VSU SINGERS: Caroline Hatchett, Shelby Miller, Rakeeta Laird, Esther Maloof, Ashley Hamilton, Scarlett Eirish, Sarah Margaret Young, Nathan Calvert, Antoine Bray, Zack Serrott, Daniel Griffin, Patrick Ireland, Alexandra Peterson, Mariah Hollis.
HIGH SCHOOL SINGERS: Hannah Trowell, Haley Aguero, Casey van Nortwick, Allie Smotherman, Shana Morman, Lisa Garcia.
Valdosta State University Opera presents “Opera After Dark.”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.
Where: Bas Bleu Brasserie (121 N. Patterson St.)
Admission, show and dinner: $50, general public; $40, students.
Reservations: Limited seating available; no online ticket purchases. Tickets may be purchased by calling VSU College of the Arts Outreach, (229) 333-2150. 
Deadline for reservations: 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 16.