The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Opera Honors Bernstein

Oberlin Opera Honors Bernstein

November 9, 2018

The Oberlin Opera Theater’s A Salute to Leonard Bernstein opens this week as a centennial celebration of the late composer’s birthday. Act 1 features the opera Trouble in Tahiti, a satire on married life and the false promise of American consumerism in the 20th century. It centers around Sam and Dinah, an unhappy couple who attempt to re-discover what they lost in the monotony of middle-class suburbia. Act 2 features a showcase of Bernstein’s most recognizable musical theater hits including...

“The Turn Of The Screw” Exemplifies Operatic Horror

“The Turn Of The Screw” Exemplifies Operatic Horror

March 9, 2018

Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of child sexual abuse. “Beware of things that go bump in the night.” According to Associate Professor of Opera Theater and Director Jonathon Field, this is the sentiment that audiences are likely to take away from Oberlin’s production of The Turn of the Screw. The chamber opera, Benjamin Britten and Myfanwy Piper’s chillingly creepy interpretation of the Henry James novella by the same name, opened Wednesday night in Hall Auditorium. T...

Alum’s Pulitzer-Winning Opera Presents Dark, Twisted Plot

Alum’s Pulitzer-Winning Opera Presents Dark, Twisted Plot

February 9, 2018

Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of human trafficking, violence, sexual assault, and suicide, as well as spoilers for the opera Angel’s Bone. Pulitzer-winning opera Angel’s Bone, which ended its Oberlin run on Wednesday after five sold-out performances, offers no easy answer for complex social issues. The opera follows a struggling suburban couple, Mr. and Mrs. X.E. (Conservatory sophomore Shawn Roth and double-degree sophomore Alexis Reed, respectively), who discover two angels ...

“Figaro” Explores Gendered Power Dynamics With Comedic Flair

“Figaro” Explores Gendered Power Dynamics With Comedic Flair

November 3, 2017

The operas presented by the Conservatory have long been a campus highlight, drawing students, faculty members, and community members to one knockout performance after another. This semester looks to be no different, as evidenced by Oberlin Opera Theater’s production of The Marriage of Figaro, which opened Wednesday night in Hall Auditorium. However, in the wider world, questions continue to be raised about the sustainability of opera as an art form. On Thursday night, Resonanz Opera presented a pa...

‘Cendrillon’ Opera Charms with Quips, Fantasy

‘Cendrillon’ Opera Charms with Quips, Fantasy

March 10, 2017

Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers. With its production of Cendrillon, Oberlin Opera Theater invites audiences to join them in a world of fantasy, romance and stories that live beyond their pages. In this interpretation of the classic fairytale Cinderella, a score by Jules Massenet and a French libretto by Henri Caïn weave a rich atmosphere of non-reality from the moment that the first note is played. The opera is accompanied by English superscript projected above the stage, which — asi...

Cast Gives Haunting Performance of “Dido and Aeneas”

Julia Peterson, Production Editor

April 22, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music, Theater & Film

With the sunset illuminating the stained glass windows of a packed Fairchild Chapel Saturday night, the stage for Dido and Aeneas seemed far removed from the rest of campus life. The opera’s overture, which showcased the baroque instruments used in the performance, immediately transported the audience back in time. The cast of the opera entered in procession and took its place on stage, beginning what was to be an hour of captivating storytelling and a celebration of music and the human voice. The opera, composed in the late 17th century by Henry Purcell with a libretto by Nahum Tate, is a retelling of the fourth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. The story is relatively simple: Aeneas, a Trojan prince, and Dido, the que...

Okoye Returns to Oberlin with Harriet Tubman Opera

Julia Peterson, Production Editor

February 12, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Features, Music

At the end of the opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, performed last Saturday in Finney Chapel, the audience rose in a standing ovation. Over the course of an hour, the show’s 10-member cast and chorus told the story of Tubman’s life, from her childhood of slavery to her work on the Underground Railroad. “I see Harriet Tubman, going through time, as a very strong woman,” Conservatory junior Amber Monroe, who played the title character, said. “Even when she was young, her sisters were sold into slavery. Her masters beat her for whatever reason or left her in the cold until she got sick. There was one day ... she decided to stand up for a running slave and in return, [his master] knocks h...

Field Crafts Sensitive Production of ‘Lucretia’

Field Crafts Sensitive Production of ‘Lucretia’

November 20, 2015

Editor’s Note: This article discusses sexual violence and suicide. At the end of the opera The Rape of Lucretia, which the Oberlin Opera Theater and the Contemporary Music Ensemble presented on Nov. 11, 13, 14 and 15, the Female Chorus kneels by Lucretia’s side and mourns her death; Lucretia has committed suicide after being raped by a Roman prince and soldier Tarquinius. The Male Chorus rests a hand on the Female Chorus’ shoulder in an attempt to console her, but she shrugs it away. The s...

Feature Photo: La finta giardiniera

Feature Photo: La finta giardiniera

March 13, 2015

Conservatory senior Rosie Kearin as Sandrina and an unidentified rabbit gesture toward a captivated audience. The Oberlin Opera Theater delivered a rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera La finta giardiniera Wednesday night. Showgoers received the performance positively, guffawing at its characteristic off-kilter humor. Conservatory junior Juliana Zara, who played Arminda, said the cast grew close during the opera’s production cycle. The Oberlin Opera Theater will perform La finta giardi...

Conservatory To Honor Iconic German Composer

Vida Weisblum, Arts Editor

October 31, 2014

Filed under ARTS, Features, Music

A cast of Conservatory voice majors will present their long-awaited fall opera, Street Scene, by famous German composer Kurt Weill, next week as part of a series of events called Weill Week. The week will also include a film screening, academic talks about Weill and an orchestral performance of Weill’s music. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Jan Miyake is ultimately responsible for the inception of Weill Week, which is unlike any other past Conservatory project. “[The week of events] is largely in part because the Kurt Weill Foundation exists solely to promote the music of Kurt Weill,” Miyake said, “I wrote a grant last spring asking for help with production costs [ for the opera].” While attempting to secur...

Love and Loss in Three Tongues: LeFebvre’s Performance Wows Crowd in Warner

Daniel Hautzinger, Staff Writer

February 7, 2014

Filed under ARTS, Music

English, German, Italian, gibberish: Associate Professor of Singing Timothy LeFebvre can do them all. In a diverse Jan. 31 recital in Warner Concert Hall, with Professor of Instrumental Accompanying James Howsmon on piano, LeFebvre demonstrated his facility with all these languages, as well as his impressive voice and sensitivity to text. LeFebvre’s song is like a father’s strong, comforting hand tucking a child into bed. His voice has a substantial weight behind it and the capacity for great power, but the strength is comforting rather than intimidating. The first half of the program demonstrated that quiet potency especially well. Handel’s arias “Where’er You Walk,” from the opera Semele and “Frondi tenere…...

Opera Laughs at Itself in Too Many Sopranos

Logan Buckley

February 8, 2013

Filed under ARTS, Music

Too Many Sopranos is a playful, comedic romp skewering classic tropes of opera. The show, directed by Sally Stunkel and musically directed by Daniel Michalak, focuses on the four eponymous sopranos: the melodramatic Dame Doleful (double-degree fifth-year Nikki Levesque), the catty Miss Titmouse (Conservatory junior Emily Peragine), the spear-wielding Wagnerian Madame Pompous (Conservatory first-year Elissa Pfaender) and naïve Just Jeanette (Conservatory junior Danielle Cheiken). The sopranos have died and must rescue male singers from hell in order to secure spots for themselves in the heavenly choir — there are simply too many sopranos as it is. In hell, the sopranos find rakish tenors, romantically frustrated basses...

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