NAU Opera director Nando Schellen is in his last year and will retire at the end of this season in May 2015 after fifteen years of active directing many complete operas and opera scenes. He would like to thank his audiences with a fall program that is very special and more than worth getting confronted with. His farewell production will be Mozart's LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (translated: Figaro's wedding!) which will be performed in the first week of April 2015, with the last performance on Easter Sunday.Fall 2014
Fall 2014 Program
November 11, 2014
7:00 p.m. pre-performance lecture
7:30 p.m. performance
Ardrey Memorial Auditorium
NAU Opera will present three one-act operas in one performance:
- “The Long Christmas Dinner” (Paul Hindemith and Thornton Wilder) 1961
- “A Dinner Engagement” (Lennox Berkeley and Paul Dehn 1954)
- “Trial by Jury” (Gilbert and Sullivan).
“The Long Christmas Dinner” (Paul Hindemith and Thornton Wilder)
According to Schellen, the evening starts off on a “mysterious” note with a story of nine decades of Christmas dinners with one family in which time changes the faces, but most things stay the same. Wilder and Hindemith show us in a fascinating way how there is much emptiness in those lives.
“In one hour you see generations die and other generations come in as babies, but they all talk about the same things and say the same things to each other,” Schellen said. “I wanted to have something unusual for this evening, and Paul Hindemith is a composer I adore.”
“A Dinner Engagement” (Lennox Berkeley)
Dinner evenings can also be a flat disaster with that immortal British humor in Lennox Berkeley’s first opera, which centers around the Lord and Lady Dunmow who have fallen on hard financial times. The couple have their sights set on marrying off their daughter to a prince, who is coming to dinner with his mother, the Grand Duchess of Monte Blanco where Lord Dunlow once was an ambassador. Levity ensues as the couple struggles to hide their financial misfortune from their guests. The Duchess however knows how to solve the problem.
“Trial by Jury” (Gilbert and Sullivan)
And finally, the audience goes home on the lightest note of all with Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury,” which Schellen calls naughty and “fantastically entertaining.”
This is the satirical story of a woman suing her lover for breach of promise since he has left her at the altar. In a series of absurd twists, the judge comes to an unexpected decision.
Schellen said that not only is the combination of the three very different pieces much like tasting a variety of flavors at an “opera buffet,” but the selections are a filling “main course” as well, with characters that are easily accessible to all because of their multiple dimensions --- a quality he said he has strived to achieve with all of his performers and characters over the years.
“It is my philosophy that each character on stage is a multi-dimensional being, like you and I, but under unusual circumstances” he said.
The cast and crew includes: Conductor Arrash Ertefai,
Director Nando Schellen, Music Director Paul Lee, Pianists Paul Lee and Charles Spining, Costumers Jennifer Peterson and Stephanie Nguyen, Technical Director Jason Pickering, Language Coach Marilya Reece, and Graduate Assistants Calvin and Misha Audis. Cast members: Jaqueline Alcocer, Ashley Anthony, Hailey Atwell, Calvin Audis, Colten Blair, Alyssa Click, Shannon Cochran, Celine Durney, Courtney Evans, Joseph Herman, Avery Jones, Sedona Libero, Sergio Manzo, Zach Martin, Marco McKay, Colette Roberts, Josee Santos, Jordan Self-Price, Lindsay Shearer, Sarah Sherman, Catherine Thornsley, Jonathan White, and Alan Williams.