Category: opera

UGA Opera Theatre present Bizet's Carmen


Georges_Bizet_Carmen posterThe title itself almost conjures the Habanera melody all on its own. Such a great pleasure - the Hodgson School presents Georges Bizet's Carmen on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m.:

The performance, part of both the UGA Spotlight on the Arts Festival and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s 2nd Thursday Scholarship Concert Series, also features the UGA Symphony Orchestra, University Chorus, and Georgia Children’s Chorus, conducted by professor Mark Cedel.

“I would consider Carmen to be one of the top five most well-known operas,” said Opera Theatre director Frederick Burchinal, Wyatt & Margaret Anderson Professor in the Arts at UGA. “It seemed to be a good fit for Spotlight on the Arts at UGA, which seeks to bring the arts to a broader audience. Practically everyone knows several melodies from Carmen, whether they realize it or not.”

In addition to the contributions of Burchinal and Cedel, the opera also features choreography from dance department head Lisa Fusillo, scenic art from former Metropolitan Opera veteran Jill Biskin, and costumes, set pieces, and supertitles, from Georgia State University opera department director Carroll Freeman. Opera coach Kathryn Wright, director of choral activities Daniel Bara, and Georgia Children’s Chorus director Carol Reeves assisted in preparation for the production.

“Every opera is an enormous production requiring cooperation and a shared vision, and Carmen is no exception,” said Burchinal.

Fantastic, plus with a $5 dress rehearsal the evening before. Don't miss this great event.

Image: Poster for a circa 1896 American production of Georges Bizet's Carmen, starring Rosabel Morrison, via Wikimedia Commons.

UGA Opera Theatre presents Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'


Mozart_magic_flute stage set, stars and moonThis is not to be missed. The UGA Opera Theatre presents a three-day production of Mozart's The Magic Flute:

The three-day engagement will feature the UGA Opera Theater in conjunction with the UGA Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Bara, director of choral activities. Frederick Burchinal, director of opera, is the production's producer. Opera coach Kathryn Wright is responsible for musical preparation.

The opera will be performed in German with English supertitles provided by Carroll Freeman, who is serving as visiting stage director. A professor of opera at Georgia State University, Freeman's operatic career includes stage and television; he has twice received the National Opera Institute Award.

Feb. 15-17, in the Fine Arts Theatre, go here for tickets. If by some chance you haven't experienced our Opera Theatre productions, they are more than a treat - they are professional productions involving highly trained specialists in every area, from singing to music to staging. That we have this level of performance and production right here in Athens is a testament the faculty and student talent UGA attracts. This will be a serious, and seriously enjoyable, live production of Die Zauberflöte in German with English supertitles.

Image: Stage set for Mozart's Magic Flute, by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1815, gouache, Staatliche Museen, Berlin. via Wikimedia Commons.

Brent's 'Hoffman'


A terrific article by the Athens Banner Herald on the Hugh Hodgson School of Music's production of 'The Tales of Hoffman" and DMA student Joseph Brent, who stars as Hoffman:

Compromised is too harsh a description for the UGA Opera Theater’s production of “Hoffman,” as only highlights from the text are offered here, and staging is minimal.
Since no true text of “Hoffman” exists, Brent explained they can pick and choose portions from numerous editions, as they do with the final act.
Brent, in his second year of a doctorate of musical arts in voice program, is no stranger to the stage, having played the lead in “The Pirates of Penzance” in the spring and in “La Boheme” at the PAC. Over the summer, Brent earned a contract to play Radolfo in “La Boheme” with an opera company in Italy.
But Brent, who spent most of his life studying the double bass, didn’t focus on his voice until he came to study at UGA. Born and raised in New York, Brent followed double bass professor Milton Masciadri from Juliard to Athens.
Compared to double bass duty in an orchestra, opera offers Brent a chance to step out of the shadows.
“Not to sound egotistical — that’s the nice thing about opera. When you are a soloist on a stage, everyone is interested in what you have to say,” Brent said. “You can communicate what the composer is trying to do. There are so many people behind the stage ... coaches, directors, lighting designers. It’s our job to represent them and to represent ourselves. In many ways, it’s not egotistical at all because I’m representing so many people onstage.”

Yes you are, Joe. And very well, at that. The two-night production is tonight and Saturday. Tickets here.

UGA Opera Theatre to present 'Tales of Hoffman'



In October, UGA Opera Theatre will present a concert performance of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman:

Jacques Offenbach’s supernatural tale of unrequited love, in a two-night presentation on Thursday, October 11 and Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. Tickets for the program, part of the 2012-2013 2nd Thursday Scholarship Concert Series in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, are $18/$5 for students and available via the UGA Performing Arts Center box office at 706/542/4400 or online at

The UGA Opera Theatre, under the direction of Frederick Burchinal, will present highlights of The Tales of Hoffmann in a full-concert performance, joined by the UGA Symphony Orchestra and Hodgson Singers, conducted by Mark Cedel. The opera will be performed in French with surtitles provided by Chadwick Creative Arts.

Offenbach, long known for his lightweight operettas, died shortly before Hoffmann’s 1881 Parisian premiere, never to know how well-regarded the opera would become. “This is his greatest work,” said Burchinal, Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor in the Arts at UGA.  “Audience members will recognize much of the music, even though it isn’t the most famous of operas, and the opportunity to see something new will leave the audience enriched, both musically and dramatically.”

Faces of Divas



The UGA Opera Ensemble presents a look inside the world of the operatic diva on Thursday in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. "The Many Faces of Divas" features selections from the works of Mozart, Puccini, and Gounod, among others. Each aria was selected to reflect a different face, or mood, ranging from vengeance to romance to grief, and everything in between.

"In most operas, the roles created by the male figures primarily represent in the plot either the hero, villain, lover, priest, brother or father," says Opera Ensemble director Frederick Burchinal. "These characters are often one-dimensional in contrast to all of the female roles who are given a much wider emotional range to represent and to portray."

Pirates Weekend


University Opera Theatre production of the Pirates of Penzance takes center stage this weekend:

This is the third [fully-staged, ed.] opera the university has produced since 2007, said Frederick Burchinal, the Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor of the Arts at UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. He also is the director of the school’s opera program.

Pirates of Penzance



The Hugh Hodgson School of Music Opera Ensemble presents The Pirates of Penzance Feb. 17-19 at the Fine Arts Theatre.

First performed in New York City on New Year’s Eve in 1879, The Pirates of Penzance is a comedic, family-friendly tale of British pirates and policemen, and love and leap years. It features some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous songs, including “I am the very model of a modern Major-General.”