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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 23, 2005

UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater Launches Mozart Birthday Celebration Dec. 8

The University of Iowa Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater will get an early start on the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth -- being celebrated world-wide in 2006 -- with "Mostly Mozart," a program of scenes from four of Mozart's best known operas, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 in the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City.

Stage director for "Mostly Mozart" will be Gary Race, director of the Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater in the UI School of Music. The UI Chamber Orchestra will accompany the performance, under the direction of doctoral student Enaldo Oliveira.

"Celebrating Mozart and his music has to include his operas!" Race said. "This performance includes some of the most passionate and some of the most hysterically funny music he composed for the stage.

"Our students have prepared the excepts in the original language, under the guidance of Shari Rhoads, head coach for the opera company. Enaldo Oliveira will conduct the performance under the guidance of William LaRue Jones, the head of orchestral studies in the School of Music.

"It will be a joyful evening of music making!"

Each portion of the program will begin with the overture from one of Mozart's less familiar operas, "La Clemenza de Tito" for the first half, and "Idomeneo" after intermission.

"Idomeneo," composed in 1780, and "La Clemenza di Tito," composed in 1791, are respectively the first and last -- and the least known -- of Mozart's mature operas. Both are serious operas, written in a style that in Mozart's lifetime  was considered old-fashioned and that was reserved for formal court occasions. Because they are cast in a more rigid form, they have not been as popular as Mozart's comic operas. However, they both contain much beautiful music, which is reflected in the overtures.

The scenes, performed with students in the opera program, will be taken from four of the great operas that Mozart wrote between "Idomeneo" and "La Clemenza di Tito." These operas are not only regarded as some of Mozart's most remarkable works, they are also considered among the greatest works ever written for the musical stage.

Chronologically, the first of the operas on the program was "The Marriage of Figaro," K492, written in 1785-86, represented on the program by the Act 2 trio for the Count and Countess Almaviva with Susanna, "Susanna, or via sortite" (Susanna, what's the matter?).

From "Don Giovanni," K527, composed in 1787, the program will feature the sextet "Sola, sola in buio loco" (Alone in this dark place) and the trio for Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni and Leporello "Ah, taci in giusto core" (Keep still, unjust heart), both from the second act.

Two numbers will also be performed from "Cosi fan tutte," K588, of 1790: the duo of Dorabella and Guglielmo "Il core vi donno" (This heart is for you) and the Finale to Act I, which brings the opera's six principal characters onstage with the music getting faster and more complex as the comic situation spirals out of control.

Finally, the opera theater will present two numbers from "The Magic Flute," K620, completed in Mozart's last year of 1791: the duet for Pamina and Papageno "Bei Maennern" (Men who feel love) and the Act 1 Quintet for the three women, Tamino and Papageno.

Gary Race comes to the UI from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he served as director of opera for six years. He was also artistic director of Lyric Opera Cleveland for two seasons. His 30-plus years of experience include the direction of more than 100 productions for regional companies including Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Whitewater Opera, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Utah Opera. In 1994, he made his European debut directing "Madame Butterfly" for the Stadtheater Lueneburg in Germany.

As an educator Race has presented workshops on performance techniques for opera singers in colleges and universities across the country, including Carnegie-Mellon, Cornell, Duquesne, Syracuse, Miami University, Ithaca College, and the University of Maryland at College Park. He has created and directed arts education programs for many opera companies, for Gateway to the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, and the National Symphony Orchestra, where he continues to serve as an education consultant.

Oliveira has a bachelor's degree in violin performance from Santa Marcelina College in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a master's degree from Sao Paulo University. He served as string coordinator at Tom Jobim Music University and as pedagogical coordinator of the Guri Project for the Cultural State Secretary of Sao Paulo. He is a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the UI, where he studies with Jones. Since 2003, he has been manager of the University of Iowa Orchestras and co-director of the All-University String Orchestra. He recently became music director of the Saint Ambrose University Community Symphony Orchestra and music director for the Greater Cedar Rapids Youth Symphony Orchestras.

Performances at the Englert Theatre are made possible by an agreement between the UI Division of Performing Arts and the Englert Theatre, Inc. The series of 11 performances, from both the School of Music and the Dance Department, continues through the 2005-06 academic year.

Admission to "Mostly Mozart" will be $12 for adults, $6 for UI students and youth. Tickets are available from the Englert Box Office, 221 E. Washington in downtown Iowa City. The box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. For additional ticket information, call the box office at 319-688-2653.

The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc., is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.