August 20, 2004
the 20th year of artistic excellence from the Civic Opera
ago, local opera enthusiasts Barbara Dahlor and Edythe McNown founded
the Meistersingers, a group dedicated to bringing quality opera productions
to the Kansas City area. In 1990, Martha Longmire, professor emeritus
and former chair of the voice division at the University of Missouri
at Kansas City Conservatory of Music, took over as general director
and changed the name to the Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City.
We wanted to do something special,
said Anderson in reference to the recent Falstaff, which
he conducted, and the 20th Anniversary of the organization.
Producing is a lot of work. The larger the opera, the
more people are involved, the more elements you add. It was
Verdis last opera. Anytime you hear the last score of
a master composer, you know youll have everything in it
but the kitchen sink.
Its a great space, Anderson
remarked. I love the people who work there. What a great
history it has. Its a small pit, but we have a 28-piece
orchestra and its still comfortable.
Verdi based Falstaff on Shakespeares
The Merry Wives of Windsor. Sir John Falstaff (Roberto Mancusi),
a braggart and a buffoon, insults and enrages people around
him so that they plot ignominious revenge.
Anderson impressively brought forth expressive
sounds from the 28-piece orchestra, effectively matching the
convoluted sound that Verdi created to embody the vengeful plotting
of Shakespeares story.
Garrett staged the work with physical comedy using
traditional and humorous theatrical devices such as sneaking,
drunken pratfalls, kisses up a womans arm and hiding to
overhear a conversation. Verdis music hits a myriad of
levels in Falstaff from poignant aria to lilting chatter,
but some dense phrases of sound offered some of the most gripping
musical moments in the piece.
The Civic Opera is looking for all voice types and people of all ages for A Christmas Carol. Auditions will be held on Sat., Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the UMKC Performing Arts Center. Each auditioner is to prepare a Gilbert and Sullivan piece and a one-minute monologue, also from Gilbert and Sullivan. For audition information, contact Sylvia Stoner at 913-485-4364.
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