Opera, "Street Scene," Puts on Big Broadway-Style at the Paramount
The stage set is literally as big as a house and so is the production that goes along with it.
Imagine a 1950's New York City street scene and the characters you might meet living in a tenement house on the Lower West Side. The building in which the characters live has been created for the Paramount stage, life-sized at a whopping10,000 cubic feet and two stories high. Add the 25-piece orchestra, some big operatic voices, and you have the upcoming Hardin-Simmons University opera theater production of Street Scene.
Dr. William Mouat, HSU director of opera, says Street Scene is great for audiences because it is filled with show tunes, beautiful costumes, tremendous scenery, dancing, and everything you would expect to see when you go to a production on Broadway. "It even has a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance number in it," he says.
"It is a huge event," says Mouat, "utilizing a lot of regional talent as well as the artistic director of the Cleveland Opera."
"Kurt Weill's opera combines tragic and comic elements in a potpourri of style that includes soaring melodic lines and colorful jazz idioms. Timothy Haynes is the scenic designer and the choreographers are Kaitlyn Martin and Rebecca Schumacher. Costuming is provided through Norcostco of Dallas."
"This our largest group of opera students we have had at HSU," says the six-year veteran opera director and assistant professor of voice. "The quality of the students who auditioned was so good and interest was so high that we had to add extra audition slots," Mouat says.
"There are so many acting opportunities for students," says Mouat, "because it contains plenty of both comic and dramatic elements."
Jason Pearce, who comes back to HSU to receive his master's degree in voice, says, "This is the kind of show that gives everybody in the cast a lot of opportunities to sing and act...and it's the kind of show audiences love!"
Mainly, the storyline progresses through a series of vignettes of day-to-day events in the families who live together in the Manhattan tenement and how their lives are eventually woven together.
The orchestra is made up of Hardin-Simmons faculty members of the School of Music.
The show is February 5 - 6 at the Paramount Theater. Both performances start at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $6 for students, $8 for seniors, and $12 for general admission.
Photo: Joy Blackstock, graduate student; Jenny Mendes, soph; Dr. William Mouat, director of opera; Jason Pearce, grad. student