Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA to present two one-act operas

March 25, 2009 - Sylvia Bierschenk
SFA vocal students Adam Zuñiga and LaDonna Jackson rehearse a scene from Pietro Mascagani's one-act opera "Cavalleria Rusticana," which will be presented along with Giacomo Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2, through Saturday, April 4, in W.M. Turner Auditorium.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present a double bill of two one-act operas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2, through Saturday, April 4, in W.M. Turner Auditorium as part of the University Series.

Each night, SFA vocal students will perform Pietro Mascagani's tragedy "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Giacomo Puccini's comedy "Gianni Schicchi." Both operas will be sung in English.

Set in a Sicilian village on Easter Sunday, Mascagni's tragedy revolves around the love interests of Turridu; his former lover Lola who is now married to Alfio; and Santuzza, the peasant girl who is pregnant with Turridu's child.

Puccini's comedy tells the story of a greedy family trying to acquire Buoso Donati's fortune. With the help of Gianni Schicchi, the family gets the will changed, but Schicchi manages to get the last laugh.

This year's double billing provides both the vocal students and the audience exposure to two operas full of beautiful and moving music, said Dr. Deborah Dalton, SFA associate professor of voice and the opera's director. The musical roles are filled by approximately 35 vocal students, with most of the principal roles double cast to maximize the performance opportunities for the students.

For the Thursday and Saturday performances of "Cavalleria Rusticana," Friendswood senior LaDonna Jackson will play Santuzza, Seguin senior Adam Zuñiga will portray Turridu, Harlingen senior Patrick Russell will play Alfio, and San Antonio senior Lauren Hewlett will sing Lola.

On Friday, Longview graduate student Tiffanny Hamilton will play Santuzza, McKinney junior Josh Dennis will portray Turridu, Lancaster sophomore Anthony Dixon will play Alfio, and Grand Prairie sophomore Kristin Richards will sing Lola.

For the Thursday and Saturday performances of "Gianni Schicchi," Grand Prairie sophomore Brad Lassiter will sing the title role; Sulphur Springs graduate student Monica Lancaster will portray Schicchi's daughter, Lauretta; and Lewisville graduate student John Green will play Lauretta's intended, Rinuccio.

On Friday, North Richland Hills junior Christian Teague will portray Schicchi, Tomball sophomore Kylie Steed will sing Lauretta, and Waco senior Richard G. Leonberger will play Rinuccio.

Gene H. Moon, director of orchestral studies at SFA, is the music director/conductor, and SFA students comprise the orchestra.

Prior to the April 2 performance, Dalton will give an informative talk at 7 p.m. in Griffith Gallery, directly across the hall from Turner Auditorium. The audience is invited back to the gallery after the performance for a reception and an opportunity to meet the cast.

The Griffith Fine Arts Building is located at 2222 Alumni Drive on the SFA campus.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for students. For tickets or more information, please visit www.sfasu.edu/finearts or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.