A message from the Director:
Since arriving at Missouri Western I have designed the Opera Workshop to showcase the many talented stage performers in the university family by providing workshops in staged music productions each fall and spring. Each actor/singer experiences the magic of performing on stage with costumes, sets and orchestra in spring performances and opera and music theater scenes in the fall.
The opera program began in 2009/2010 with full productions of Menotti’s The Medium, The Telephone and Barber’s Hand of Bridge on the main stage of Potter Hall Theater with a later performance of The Telephone placing 2nd in the nation in National Opera Association’s competition for scenes stage director, Carter. A joint Spring 2011 performance of Maury Yeston’s Phantom brought the Department of Music, Department of Theater/Cinema and Department of Art together to sold out crowds with critical and public acclaim kicking off a music theater success story that had not been seen at Missouri Western for over 7 years.
A group of 10 talented performers join each year to form the Griffon Opera Theater, touring area schools and performing operas such as Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood. Two tours to Colorado allowed this group to travel and present an original opera, An American Story, telling the true story of 1914 mine workers and their families that led to the Ludlow massacre, story by lyricist Laurel Vartabedian. Recognition from the national office of United Mine Workers was given for the 2014 Centennial performance held at the Ludlow Memorial site with funding for travel from Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, and MWSU Foundation.
Mozart’s Magic Flute was presented in 2013 with a 40 foot screen of original animation by 6 of Western’s animators, with oversite by director Pete Hriso, bringing multiple awards from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival Region V including Computer Animation (6 awards), Dramaturgy, Costume and Design and Performance (3 awards). Past success with animation for the opera Hansel and Gretel, Eric Fuson, Department of Art, director, paved the way for this collaboration.
La Tragédie de Carmen was presented in French with English surtitles in the downtown historic Restoration Project and with performances sponsored by Alliance Française of Saint Joseph and Kansas City. Performers included past Classical Singers finalists and 1st place National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) winners, seniors Kaitlyn Christian (Carmen), Donovan Jones (Don Jose) and Sarah Waters (Micaela).
Many thanks go to financial support from Missouri Western Foundation, Arts Society and generous offerings from area supporters without whose support these productions would not be.
Choices for future productions will depend on current and future students enrolling in MUS 318.
Susan Carter-Fricks, director