Reprinted here in its entirety.
The wives of Windsor, England, are plotting something big. To
find out what’s afoot, see Jacksonville’s Opera Theatre’s “The Merry Wives of
Windsor” by Otto Nicolai this week at Mason Hall. In seeing it, you’ll find the
elements of a good comedy in an operetta.
There is romance, humor, pranks, and suspense in the story told by lovely
voices. The actors are emerging trained singers from JSU’s music department. The
17 instruments in the university’s student orchestra play their special part,
too, in the plot.
The comic opera will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday Jan. 17, through
Saturday, Jan. 19. On Sunday it will be at 2:30 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $10 to $35. Tickets were limited as of last
Saturday, so reservations should be made now. Call Dr. Nathan Wight at 782-5876
or by E-mail at email@example.com.
“Merry Wives” is based on Shakespeare’s play, but it has been updated,
according to Dr. Wight, who conducts the orchestra. The Bard probably wrote the
work around 1602; this version is set in the1940s and sports a new twist.
Since 2003, The Jacksonville Opera Theatre has offered professionally staged
operas to the public. It has been Dr. Wight’s goal to highlight the wealth of
musical talent coming out of the music department. It has proved to be a good
experience for everyone involved. Music faculty and staff direct and design the
productions and students gain extra experience.
The experience here comes from learning new styles of singing. Operettas are
more demanding than musical theater. They are harmonically more complex, said
Dr. Wight. “Merry Wives” is light and easy to follow and to listen to, he added.
The lines are sung most of the time, but at times the dialogue is spoken.
Jarrod Lee, who plays Sir John Falstaff, shares his thoughts on taking part
in the operetta. “This is a funny production and very, very interesting,” Lee
said at rehearsal last week. The orchestra rises to the occasion when Sir
Falstaff, a big man, comes on with volume and zest. Sir Falstaff loves women,
especially rich women.
“Trumpets, this is your moment.” Dr. Wight instructs them. Then, when the
wives laugh, the instruments’ notes go into the higher register.
The children’s chorus (they are from Kitty Stone Elementary School) is an
added element this year. “We are impressed with them,” Dr. Wight said. “And It’s
a unique opportunity for them to be collegiate opera production.”
Peter Wilder, who is at the halfway mark in his third year at JSU, plays the
lead tenor role. Fenton, his character, is in love with Ann (Haley Arrington).
The feeling is mutual, but her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Page (Cody Harrell and
Estefania Cuevas), have other suitors in mind for her. Fenton must plead his
Elizabethan theater was a vital, live, form of entertainment in its day. This
operetta, spoken in English, fills that bill today. It is a realistic comedy.
During this particular time in Shakespeare’s life his power of expression was
expanding, according to texts. The Bard was especially interested in the
character’s motives at this time and he lets them speak their whole nature.
If you like theater, you’ll enjoy “The Merry Wives of Windsor”. The set
designers have made the best of a small space. Call now for reservations.
Bidikov at Vanderbilt
Chatting with Luke Bidikov over the holidays brought good news from this
student at Vanderbilt. Luke, the son of Drs. Igor and Tatiana Bidikov of
Jacksonville, is on the dean’s list there and a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.
Luke is from a musical family and he says he will return, hopefully, to his
viola one day, when time allows, but now he is hitting the books, constantly.
Playing rugby for his fraternity may be a chosen recreation.
About Hervey Folsom
Hervey Folsom, an Anniston resident, writes "Down Art Avenue." Her column centers on those who contribute to the art world in any
way, including musically. Hervey also contributes to The Anniston Star and is
active in a number of civic organizations. She and her husband, Bob, are members
of Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com