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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UI Opera Theater will present scenes from six operas in free programs Nov. 21 and 22

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Opera Theater will present a program of opera scenes, featuring graduate and undergraduate students, in two free performances, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, in the Opera Studio Room of the Voxman Music Building.

To reach the Opera Studio, audience members may enter either though the front entrance of the Voxman Music Building, or in the back next to the Hancher stage entrance.

The scenes were prepared through the collaborative efforts of two visiting faculty members at the UI School of Music. Musical preparation was by Richard Boldrey, a free-lance vocal coach, accompanist and conductor, and stage direction for five scenes from operas was provided by William Theisen, an operatic stage director of extensive professional experience.

One additional one-act opera that will be part of the program was staged by LeAnne Foust, a doctoral candidate in the School of Music.

The opera scenes staged by Theisen come from works that are part of the standard repertoire of opera companies around the world. They cover a wide variety of styles and moods, and date from the Baroque up to the mid-20th century:
--from the Baroque period, Scene I from Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas";
--from the Classical period, a scene from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro";
--from the 19th century, the final scene from Act I Johann Strauss' "Die Fledermaus"; and
--two scenes from 20th-century works, Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" and Francis Poulenc's "Dialogues of the Carmelites."

Foust has staged "The Proposal" by Milton Granger, a comic psychodrama of "herself," arguing whether or to marry John.

With the retirement in August of long-time Opera Theater director Beaumont Glass, Boldrey and Theisen were invited to the UI as visiting faculty this year to contribute to the opera program. Both have extensive professional experience.

Boldrey, the author of "Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias" and "Guide to Operatic Duets," was worked with Luciano Pavarotti, Robert Merrill, Grace Bumbry, June Anderson and other internationally renowned singers. He served as assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus from 1972 to 1977, has been an assistant conductor at the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1981 and was Music Director and principal conductor of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque from 1991 to 1994.

Other professional positions have been Music Director of the Colorado Lyric Theatre Festival in Boulder 1989-92; from 1983-85 a maestro at the Bel Canto Festival in Busseto, Italy, for many years the home of Giuseppi Verdi; and a keyboard player for the Chicago Music of Baroque since 1977. A graduate of the Chicago Musical College, he has taught at the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and the University of Colorado.

Theisen was artistic director of Capitol Center for the Performing Arts in Rome, NY, 1990-93, director of the apprentice artist program at Opera Pacific 1995-96, and assistant to opera director Dorothy Danner at several regional opera companies 1994-96. He has directed opera and musical theater for Skylight Opera Theater in Milwaukee, the Kentucky State Opera, the Portland (Ore.) Opera, the Midwest Opera Theatre in St. Louis, the North Carolina Music Theatre, the Virginia Opera in Norfolk, the Seaside Music Theater in Florida and other regional opera companies around the United States.

In addition, Theisen has been a guest director and visiting faculty member at schools and universities including Iowa State, St. Ambrose, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Northern Ohio University and Marquette University. In addition to directing mainstage productions he has taught beginning and advanced acting, scene study and analysis, improvisational theater workshops and audition preparation workshops.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.

11/9/98