UMKC students present weekend opera, ‘Die Fledermaus’

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Give a cheer to the UMKC Conservatory students in their weekend performances of Strauss opers, Die Fledermaus. The opera with recognizable music takes a major turn as it is updated from the 1870s Vienna to 1940s Hollywood.

In the current UMKC Conservatory production, the farce fits well with talents enrolled at the Conservatory. The show is light, lively, funny, melodic, and offers opportunity for orchestra and opera students a performance weekend of beautiful music and frolic.

The performance is in English with some spoken dialogue to bridge the gap between numbers. Also included, a theatre student has been cast in a non-singing role to offer some humor and recite some fractured Shakespearean verse.

Some poetic license was undertaken as some 40s era music crept into the story line with songs like “Lullaby of Birdland,” all “All the Things You Are.” The addition of the songs just helped set the time-frame for this production. Also added, a dance number to provide opera students the opportunity to get their feet moving.

Even those who do not know and appreciate opera, like me, can appreciate the English language and updated story in the UMKC production. The voices are fabulous and even an untrained ear recognized the talent these students possess. The leads are superb.

UMKC Conservatory students combined their vocal or orchestral talents for a four day presentation of Die Fledermaus, with music by Johann Strauss II and liberetto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genee. The opera directed by Doug Jones and Williaam Saaetre and conducted my Michelle Alexander opened April 11 and runs through April 14 in the White Recital Hall of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center in the White Recital Hall. Evening performances begin at 7:30 and Sunday matinee begins at 2:30. General admission seating.

For this production many roles were double cast so that twice the number of students get the opportunity to display his/her talent. The cast and their performance days are listed as follows: Rosa Linda, Kelli Van Meter (Thurs., Sat.), Sarah-Lynn Bennett (Fri., Sun.); Adele, Ariel Downs (Thurs., Sat.), Estarah Berciunas (Fri., Sun.); Ginger Nicole Burkhart (Thurs., Sat.), Anna Mans (Fri., Sun.); Prince Orlofsky, Ruby Dibble (Thurs., Sat.), Logan Contreras (Fri., Sun.); Gabriel Eisenstein, Jonathan Ray (Thurs., Sat.), Ira Stecher (Fri., Sun.); Alfred, Anthony Varner (Thurs., Sat.), Aaron Bunnell (Fri., Sun.); Blint, Michael Wu, (Thurs., Sat.), Mark Sepulveda (Fri., Sun.); Falkey, Armando Contreras (Thurs., Sat.), Nicholas Navarre (Fri., Sun.); Frank, Rob Riordan; Maître d’Ivan, Quinn Sheehan; Frosch, Frederick Rivera; Diane Shore, Lauren Sutherland (Thurs., Sat.), Courtney Bostwick (Fri., Sun.); Joliene Stafford, Claire Stark (Thurs., Sat.), Megan Dobbs ( Fri., Sun.); Chorus, Alyse Berger, Natalie Boos, Courtney Bostwick, Camryn Brown, Bailey Crase, Hope Dedrick, Megan Dobbs, David Figueroa, Megan Heitbrink, Morgan Hennessy, Laura Jacob, Max Keunzi, Jose Mendoza, Caleigh Michnowicz, Sam Mohart, Quinn Sheehan, Claire Stark, Emily Stott, Lauren Sutherland, Tyler Swaffer; Dancers, JP O’Donnell, Christine Kraus; Telegram Boy, Max Kuenzi; Hedda Hopper, Megan Heitbrink; Photographer, Emily Stott.

Artistic and Production Teams: Directors, Doug Jones, William Saetre; Conductor, Michelle Alexander; Assistant Conductor, Drew Crane; Choreographer, Gary Abbott; Choreographer Assistant, Colin Frederick; Costume Designer, Gretchen Halle; Properties Manager, Joyce Merrill; Lighting Designer, Zan de Spelder; Associate Dean of Performance Operations, James Snell; Production Coordinator, Sadie DeSantis; Stage Manager, Olivia West; Production Assistants, Caroline Jackson, Taylor Neill; Stage Crew, Ja Lyn Grayson, Amanda Searles, Julia Kasten; Recording Engineer, Robert Beck; Vocal Coaches, Michelle Alexander, Natalia Rivera; Chorus Master, Lorissa Mason; Voice Chair, Raymond Feener; Rehearsal Accompanists, John Livingston, Liyue Yin.

Members of the orchestra are: Violin I, Emily Boone, Po Sung Huang, Yi-mao Huang, Nathaniel Humphrey, Ho Man Lee; Violin II, Can Balcik Moretti, Sarah Clough, Grace Hemmer, Mitchell Reilly; Viola, Victor Diaz, En-ting Hsu, Chung-wen Lee; Cello, David Amussen, Yi-chun Chen, Hunter Taliaferro; Double Bass, Ben Foerster, Christian Kliem; Flute, Baltazar Díaz Dávila, Daniel Shineberg; Oboe, Chloe Pointer, Aaron Robinson; Clarinet, Connor Myers, Dana Sloter; Bassoon, Austin Way, Andrew West; Horn, Joshua Hannon, Marina Krol, Maria Nyikos; Trumpet, Ryan Anderson, Joon Park, Alberto Racanati; Trombone, Andrew Anderson, Johnathan Curtman; Timpani, Zac Keyser; Percussion, James Harris, James Taylor.

“Die Fledermaus” runs this weekend only. So, only two more chances to hear the magnificent vocal performances and the stunning orchestra accompaniment. Contact UMKC Box Office for tickets.

Tags: UMKC, UMKC Conservatory, “Die Fledermaus” review, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts and Entertainment

Image courtesy of UMKC Conservatory

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