BY CATHERINE TROLL
The sacred music program and the drama department at Franciscan University of Steubenville joined together for the student-performed presentation of “Divas and Duets: An Evening of Opera Scenes” in Anathan Theatre on Feb. 8 and 10. Alanna Keenan, assistant professor of music and director of the program in voice, and Christopher Warwick, adjunct professor of fine arts, directed this series of opera excerpts.
“Opera, in its best iterations, enlivens the text and reveals more fully the heights and depths of human emotion,” Keenan said
The audience really enjoyed the opera. Sophomore John Serafini said: “I thought that the students were really talented—it was great. It was really cool to see both the drama and the sacred music together.”
The performance consisted of various scenes from different operas. The first two scenes in the performance were from the same opera, “Cosí fan tutte” by Mozart. The playful, humorous mood of these scenes was conveyed successfully by performers Andy Ward, Joe Andreola, Gabe Velazquez, Andrew Leung, Christina Sowinski, Amanda Enriquez and Allison MacDonell. Dressed in modern clothes and acting animatedly as they sang the English version, these students drew many laughs from the audience.
The third opera scene, “Le nozze di Figaro” by Mozart, also had a humorous overtone. Matthew Grote and Jessica Wasko performed this duet.
” Béatrice et Bénédict” by Hector Berlioz was the fourth scene, performed by Anne Sauer, Johanna Hadac, and Marie Eger. It was the only one of the scenes not sung in English.
Jessica Wasko, Mary Bonadies, Cayce Smits, and Olivia Meldrum performed the fifth scene, “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart.
“Hänsel und Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck came next, starring Julia Germain, Jessica Schuster, and Tess Austin. Schuster and Austin were the only freshmen in the opera series.
The light mood of the previous scenes waned during the final scene, “Sister Angelica” by Giacomo Puccini, which was a more serious and emotional performance. It was also longer than most of the other scenes. Johanna Hadac, Marie Eger, Allison MacDonnell, Mary Bonadies, Tess Austin, Jessica Schuster, Jessica Wasko and Olivia Meldrum did an excellent job of conveying the drama of this opera.
Overall many students thought the opera performance was a lovely balance of humor, drama and style.
“I would have liked it if they’d finished one of the operas, but I thought they were all really good,” said freshman Ari Thatcher. “There was definitely a lot of talent,”