The Oklahoma State University Opera Theatre will present Giacomo Puccini's “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi” performed by OSU vocalists and instrumentalists joined by OSU alumnus Anna Berry in the title role of Suor (Sister) Angelica, on Feb. 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Seretean Center Concert Hall.
Both “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi” are one-act operas that originally made their debut with a third by Puccini called “Il tabarro” at the Metropolitan Opera on Dec. 14, 1918. The collection was known as “Il trittico” (The Triptych).
Conducted by Maestro Thomas Taylor Dickey, and directed by Steve Sanders and April Golliver-Mohiuddin, the performances are sure to be crowd pleasers. “Suor Angelica” will be performed in Italian with English subtitles, and “Gianni Schicchi” will be performed in English. There will be a 15-minute intermission between programs.
“Suor Angelica,” directed by Golliver-Mohiuddin, is a tragedy that opens in a convent where Angelica was sent seven years earlier after having a child out of wedlock. She is visited by her aunt, a princess who is cold and unfriendly, and only seeks Angelica’s signature on a document that renounces any claim to her family’s fortune. Angelica inquires about the welfare of her son, only to find he has been dead for several years. Overcome by the news, she makes an herbal potion that will allow her to join the child in the afterlife. As sad as the situation seems, the opera’s final scene will include a surprise localized ending.
Considered a comic opera, “Gianni Schicchi,” is the name of a newcomer to Florence who, despite his humble background, is well-versed in the reading and processing of wills. Schicchi is called upon by a wealthy family to read the will of their departed father, only to learn the patriarch has left his fortune to a monastery. Schicchi hatches a plot to get the inheritance himself, while humbling the wealthy family. Director Sanders has modernized the story by making the deceased wealthy gentleman, Buoso Donati, a famous musician.
Performing the principle role of “Suor Angelica,” Berry received her bachelor’s degree (BFA) in vocal performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, she was selected to participate in a student exchange program to study at the Academy of Music in Zagreb, Croatia. Following graduation, Berry began her studies at Oklahoma State University to complete a Masters of Music in vocal performance and pedagogy. While at OSU, she was privileged to play Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro,” as well as Mimi from Puccini’s “La Boheme,”and Donna Anna from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” in a production of opera scenes. In March 2014, Berry was the first place winner at the Kristen Lewis Vocal Scholarship Auditions in Little Rock, Arkansas, and after winning she was awarded a week-long study in Vienna, Austria at the Vienna State Opera House. Currently a resident of Houston, Berry serves as the orchestra director at Garden Villas Elementary School.
A senior music education student from Guthrie, Max Vowel II, will perform the lead role in “Gianni Schicchi.” He is a member of the OSU Concert Chorale, the Chamber Choir and the Jazz Choir as well as first place winner in the Senior Men Division at the 2016 Oklahoma National Association of Teachers of Singing Conference.
Tickets are available through the OSU Music Department Office or online at http://marketplace.okstate.edu and are $10 general admission, and $7 for students and senior citizens. For more information, contact April Golliver-Mohiuddin at (405) 744-8986.