CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 28, 2002
UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater performs Gilbert & Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan would write an operetta about two brothers, each trying
desperately NOT to become a king.
The University of Iowa Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater will present one of
the last and most popular of the many musical satires from the British light-opera
team in their summer production of The Gondoliers, with performances
at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, and a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday,
July 14. All performances are in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The production is directed by Sally Stunkel, a member of the faculty of the
UI School of Music. The University Symphony will be conducted by UI doctoral
conducting student Lucia Matos. Set design is by Margaret Wenk of the UI Division
of Performing Arts Production Unit.
The Gondoliers is one of several operettas composed during a
time of open warfare between Gilbert and Sullivan, whose conflicts often sparked
their best work. One of their last collaborations, The Gondoliers
had its first performances at the Savoy Theatre in London Dec. 7, 1889. It
had a run of 554 performances -- a stunning success even for Gilbert and Sullivan
-- and was played for Queen Victoria at a command performance at Windsor March
6, 1891 -- the first theatrical performance at court since the death 30 years
earlier of her consort, Prince Albert.
The plot provides ample scope for Gilberts brilliant satire and Sullivans
sparkling music. At the operas outset, the Duke and Duchess of Plaza
Toro and the Grand Inquisitor Don Alhambra del Bolero arrive in Venice searching
for the heir to the throne of Barataria. The rightful king is thought to be
one of two gondoliers, the brothers Giuseppi and Marco, but no one is sure
which. While the Grand Inquisitor tries to unravel the mystery, Giuseppi and
Marco are installed on the throne together, to reign as one.
Complications arise when it is learned that Casilda, the daughter of the
Duke and Duchess, was betrothed to the rightful king in infancy. Neither gondolier
wants to give up his Venetian sweetheart in order to marry the aristocratic
Casilda. In the meantime, they infuriate the aristocratic Baratarians with
their egalitarian reforms. All is revealed at the end when -- who else? --
an ancient nurse shows up to identify the true heir to the throne.
Observant audience members may figure out the surprise ending
far in advance, but with Gilbert and Sullivan, details of the plot hardly
matter. Its not the marriage of prince and princess that is important,
but that between text and music, and The Gondoliers is considered
G&S at their hilarious best.
The gondoliers Giuseppi and Marco will be portrayed by Dan Weinstein and
Quiliano Anderson, respectively. Others in the cast will include George Mctyre
and Ann Cravero as the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro; Lisa Kotara as their
daughter, Casilda; Chad Graham as their attendant, Luiz; and Edward Corpus
as Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain. Inez the Kings
foster mother, who provides the operettas denouement, will be performed
by Ruthann Mctyre The Gondolier's wives, Gianetta and Tessa, will be played
by Stephanie Thorpe and Jacqueline Lang
Other artistic contributions to the production have been provided by chorus
master Michael Porter and choreographer Kate Carol. Costumes for the production
have been supplied by Harlequin Costume, Winnipeg, Canada. Lighting will be
provided by Laurel Shoemaker.
Stunkel was appointed director of UI Opera Theater in the fall of 1999. She
has directed for many American opera companies, including Sacramento Opera,
Tulsa Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Skylight Opera, the Aspen Music Festival,
Kentucky Opera and Four Corners Opera. She headed the opera programs at the
former St. Louis Conservatory of Music, the University of Tennessee and the
University of the Pacific in California.
Known for her expertise in teaching acting to opera singers, Stunkel has
taught in the apprentice programs at the Des Moines Metro Opera, Chautauqua
Opera, the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, and the Aspen Music Festival.
She was a co-founder/director/writer for The Opera Parade and Kinderopera,
two touring educational opera companies for children in Maryland. She is a
graduate of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where she received
the National Opera Associations award for best opera for her productions
of Gian Carlo Menottis The Consul and Dominick Argentos
Postcard from Morocco,
Lucia Matos was born in Ourinhos, S.P., Brazil. She received a bachelors
degree in music from the University of Campinas, Brazil. From 1997 to 1998
she worked as assistant conductor at the Campinas Symphony Orchestra and University
of Campinas Symphony Orchestra. In 1998 she was awarded with a Brazilian scholarship
from CAPES for continuing her studies. She received a masters degree
in orchestral conducting from the UI, and she is currently completing the
requirements for a doctorate as a student of UI Symphony conductor William
LaRue Jones. She has conducted the Des Moines Symphony, Americana Symphony
and Campinas Symphony Orchestra.
Tickets for The Gondoliers are $16 ($12 for senior citizens;
$8 for UI students and youth). Tickets are available from the Hancher Auditorium
Hancher Auditorium box office summer business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
weekdays. The Hancher box office may be contacted by phone at 335-1160 in
the local calling area, long distance toll-free at 1-800-HANCHER, or by e-mail
at < email@example.com
>. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing
impairment who use that technology.
Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students
may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff
may select the option of payroll deduction.
The School of Music and the Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater are part of the
Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts. The production
of The Gondoliers is supported in part by a gift from the Martha-Ellen
Tye Foundation, through the University of Iowa Foundation.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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