Campus News

Bethel College Presents: Opera Workshop Scenes

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Although the music and theater programs here at Bethel are very well-known, there is one aspect of these programs that the average student may not be fully aware of: Bethel’s involvement with opera. Students have the opportunity to enroll in an opera workshop class which allows them to perform operas and learn more about this extravagant form of music. One individual who has been given the opportunity to broaden his operatic horizons is Jackson Kerr. “When I transferred to Bethel College in my junior year, I was thrilled to discover that they have an opera workshop class,” said Kerr. “I transferred in as a music education major, but after some prayer and guidance I switched to a vocal performance major. My focus has always been classical music, and I intend to pursue opera professionally.” Through Bethel’s music program, Kerr was able to discover his love for opera and a future career within that field of music. Another student who has been a student of Bethel’s opera workshop is REACH student Bethany Tomasino. Through Bethel she has also discovered a desire to continue further into the art of opera. “I plan to continue studying and performing opera throughout my college career,” said Tomasino, “However, I am not sure if I will continue using it within my professional future.” Through the opportunities provided by Bethel, both of these students have been given the chance to perform in an operatic performance consisting of three short operas. The first is one in which Kerr performs a lead role. Kerr explained: “The first is from Mozart’s comic opera Cosi fan tutti, where I will play the role of Don Alfonso. Now before observing the scene, it must be understood that Don Alfonso is acquainted with two sets of young lovers. At the beginning of the opera he makes a bet with the two young men, Guglielmo and Ferrando. He says that when presented with some ravishing young men from a distant land (really the twosome in disguise) their girlfriends, Fiordilligi and Dorabella, will not remain steadfast. In the scene we will be performing, Don Alfonso will have to deliver some terrible news about the men to the young ladies… without cracking up!” The second opera is on in which Tomasino plays a lead role. “The opera I’m doing is called 'The Medium,'” said Tomasino. “It is a very dark opera that is by Gian-Carlo Menotti. The opera is basically about a woman and her daughter, and this woman, who is played by Amanda Angulo, is basically pretends to talk to the dead in order to make money. Monica, who is played by me, is her daughter and she basically helps her mom with this and she is one of the few sane people in the opera. With this scene, the 'medium' has just had some customers over who she is helping talk to the dead, and since she is fake, she wasn’t expecting anything to happen. However, while it was happening, she felt something touch her and she becomes really afraid, so she goes to Monica and she tells her.” Following the second opera, Kerr returns to the stage and plays another lead role. “The second scene (I am in) is from The Ballad of Baby Doe, an opera set in the early 20th century,” said Kerr. “Horace Tabor is a man who practically owns the small mining town of Leadville, Colorado. He is enchanted, one night, when he hears the voice of Baby Doe, a woman who arrived in town just that evening. He listens to her sing of longing for her lost love. Tabor is moved by this and approaches Baby Doe, telling of his affection for her and how her voice brings back fond memories of the past.” All three scenes were performed on Friday, Jan. 29 in the Middleton Hall of Science's Octorium.  
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