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Bienen School of Music 2009-10 Opera Season Begins Oct. 14

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October 12, 2009 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- A season of three operas based on the trilogy of plays by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais -- creator of the beloved comic character Figaro -- will be presented by Northwestern University's Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music Voice and Opera Program.
 
The 2009-10 opera season also features vocal master classes with renowned sopranos Elizabeth Futral (Oct. 14) and Mary Dunleavy (Nov. 10), which take place in Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place. All three operas will be held in Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street. Both venues are located on Northwestern University's Evanston campus.

World-renowned soprano Elizabeth Futral will give a master class at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in Lutkin Hall. Futral, who will appear at the Lyric Opera of Chicago this December in the title role of Franz Lehar's "The Merry Widow," will coach preselected voice students from the Bienen School of Music. Tickets are $7 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $4 for full-time students with valid IDs.

Soprano Mary Dunleavy will conduct a vocal master class at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, in Lutkin Hall. The Northwestern alumna has performed nationally in roles ranging from Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata" to Leila in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers." Dunleavy will coach preselected voice students from the Bienen School. Tickets are $7 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $4 for full-time students with valid IDs.

The Beaumarchais Trilogy begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, and Saturday, Nov. 21, in Cahn Auditorium, with a workshop production of "The Barber of Seville." Performances will feature second-year graduate students from the Bienen School's Voice and Opera Program. With music by Gioachino Rossini and libretto by Cesare Sterbini, "The Barber of Seville" is a comic tale of a young count in love with a girl who is unable to give her heart due to her watchful and amorous guardian. The opera includes the aria "Una voce poco fa" ("A Voice I Heard Just Now") and Figaro's famous "patter" aria, "Largo al Factotum ("Make Way for the Factotum"). Performed in its entirety and sung in Italian, it will be directed by Jay Lesenger and conducted from the piano and harpsichord by Frederick Ockwell and Jeffrey Peterson. Since admission is free, patrons are advised to arrive early.

The story of "Figaro" continues this winter with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's comic opera "The Marriage of Figaro." Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25; Friday, Feb. 26; and Saturday, Feb. 27; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, in Cahn Auditorium. The "Marriage of Figaro" features a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte and picks up where "The Barber of Seville" left off. The plot involves a lovesick teenager, a vagrant gardener, a conniving old maid, and two lecherous old men plotting to ruin Figaro's wedding day. It will be performed in English with translation by award-winning author Andrew Porter and instrumental accompaniment by members of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $22 for the general public; $18 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for full-time students with valid IDs.

The final installment of the Beaumarchais trilogy, "The Ghosts of Versailles" by John Corigliano, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 23, in Cahn Auditorium. This "grand comic opera" with libretto by William F. Hoffmann premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1991. In the opera playwright Beaumarchais' ghost announces his intention to change history and Marie Antoinette's fate through the plot of his new opera, "A Figaro for Antonia" (based on the real Beaumarchais' third Figaro play, "The Guilty Mother"). "Ghosts" will be performed in English with members of the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for full-time students with valid IDs.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall business office at (847) 491-5441. For tickets, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000 or purchase them online at www.pickstaiger.org.