Music department performs first full opera in 26 years


Junior Mackenzie Uhlenhopp (right) played the Queen of Carthage in the opera “Dido and Aeneas.”

In February, a cast of 13 Central singers performed two showings of “Dido and Aeneas,” an opera based loosely on Virgil’s “Aeneid.” The one-hour opera tells the ill-fated love story of Aeneas, a Trojan prince, and Dido, Queen of Carthage.

The show’s stage director Anne Petrie, professor of music, says that the last time Central performed a full opera was in
the fall of 1987, when the music department staged Menotti’s “Amal and the Night Visitors.” Since that time, the department has performed smaller operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan. Periodically, students have participated in opera workshops, where they performed scenes from several operas.

“It is good for students to get their hands on opera,” says Petrie. “Most operas are hard to do with a strictly undergraduate cast because they make pretty significant demands on the voice. The benefit of doing an entire opera is getting the sense of what the singing style is like but also the dramatic trajectory.”

The students began preparing for the show in January, learning operatic techniques from Petrie and dance moves from Cynthia Prickett Beschel, a guest choreographer who has danced all over the world.

“Each of us contributed differently to the group, but together we form an epic opera team,” said sophomore Grace Hove, who played the Sorceress. “I had fun dancing with everyone and singing together. This show is so rich, and the choreography added so much.”


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