CHEYENNE, Wyoming – Laramie County Community College’s music department presents "A Night at the Opera," at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, in the Surbrugg/Prentice Auditorium. The free program will feature pieces by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi and Gilbert & Sullivan.
The Cheyenne Brass Band and LCCC’s Wind Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale and Cantori will showcase the diversity and history of opera through this musical performance. “Opera is very vast, and these pieces show that. Some are tragedies. Some are comedies,” LCCC Music Faculty Bethany Smith-Jacobs said.
Opera is often associated with solo singing and arias, but this music performance will focus on choral singing and orchestral themes that accompany important action sequences in the operas from which they originate. “Opera is such a rich tapestry of music from different cultures and composers,” LCCC Music Faculty Frank Cook said. “The evolution of that artform is what we’d like to feature.”
Being an opera singer herself, Smith-Jacobs said she was excited by the prospect of holding an opera concert with students. “There is such good music in opera,” she said. “People typically think of solos, but there is a great deal of wonderful choral work as well.”
The concert will feature Georges Bizet’s “Toreador Song” from “Carmen”; Otto Nicolai’s “Moon Chorus” from “The Merry Wives of Windsor;” the overture to “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein; the “Bell Chorus” from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”; and the “Humming Chorus” from “Madame Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini, which Smith-Jacobs said she chose because it is beautiful and deceivingly challenging to hum at high pitches.
While faculty chose a range of pieces that will expose the audience to works they’ve likely not heard before, the concert will also feature “The Anvil Chorus” from Guiseppi Verdi’s “Il trovatore.” “Even people who don’t follow opera will be familiar with the piece,” said Cook.
LCCC’s Cantori will perform, “Sing to Love,” also known as the “Champaign Chorus,” from Johann Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus. While LCCC Trumpet Instructor Andrew Mrozinsky, will solo on piccolo trumpet, performing Mozart’s famous “Queen of the Night Aria” from “The Magic Flute.”
The concert will also feature violins made by retired LCCC Welding instructor Jim Trudeau. After retiring from LCCC, he became a luthier, or violin-maker. His work has been entered in international competitions, and recognized as among the world's best violins. Trudeau recently donated seven of his violins to the college, four of which will be used in this performance.