Oklahoma Baptist University

Music Theatre to Present Opera Scenes Nov. 19-20

Bob, played by OBU junior Sean Muzljakovich, is greeted by Laetitia in Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act opera, “The Old Maid and the Thief.” Laetitia is played by OBU sophomore Sarah Stephens. The community is invited to attend.

OBU's Music Theatre will present an Opera Scenes program, titled “Director’s Choice,” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20, at 7 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Yarborough Auditorium. The public is invited to attend the free performance.

The first half of the program is a culminating performance of the work done this semester by the students enrolled in the Music Theater I course. It features both comic and dramatic scenes from operas and musicals written by the favorite composers of the director, Dr. Mark McQuade, OBU assistant professor of music and coordinator of vocal studies.

The scenes include will feature pieces from “Le nozze di Figaro” by Mozart; “Carousel” by Rodgers and Hammerstein; and “Suor Angelica” by Puccini.

“Mozart’s compositional genius is on full display in his opera, ‘Le nozze di Figaro,’” McQuade said. “The more I study it, the more fascinating it becomes. It is meticulously constructed with musical and dramatic connections present on every level.”

The director described the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein as timeless and fun. He said the recognizable tunes have become industry standards for good musical theatre, and the roles require performers who can sing very well.

“Puccini’s music is so full of passion and drama that it would be hard for anyone not to enjoy it,” McQuade said. “It exemplifies the post-Romantic Italian operatic tradition known as verismo.”

The cast of the first portion of the program includes Courtney Bryant, a junior vocal performance major from Moore, Okla.; Megan Sandridge, a sophomore music education major from Holt, Mo.; Sarah Stephens, a sophomore vocal performance major from Tulsa, Okla.; Tamara Snow, a freshman music education major from McAlester, Okla.; Ashlynn Streck, a sophomore vocal music education major from Hennessey, Okla.; Dana Ward, a sophomore music education major from Muscatine, Iowa; and Elizabeth Youngblood, a freshman music education major from Midwest City, Okla. The students will be accompanied on the piano by Dr. Keith Whitmore, assistant professor of music and staff accompanist.

The second portion of the program will feature “The Old Maid and the Thief” by Gian Carlo Menotti. The opera, a twisted tale of morals, was written and premiered in 1939. It was one of the earliest operas composed specifically for performance on the radio. Menotti (1911-2007) was a Pulitzer-prize winning Italian-American composer and librettist.

“Gian Carlo Menotti’s music means a great deal to me because, even though he was Italian by birth, he considered himself and American,” McQuade said. “He developed his own musical language that is incredibly clever and seamlessly weaves together the text with the music in a way that is truly unique.”

The cast of “The Old Maid and the Thief” includes Sean Muzljakovich, a junior worship arts major from Bartlesville, Okla.; Micah Reinhart, a senior vocal studies major from Mooreland, Okla.; Bryant and Stephens. The students will be accompanied on the piano by Emily Rowland, a senior piano performance with pedagogy emphasis major from Bartlett, Tenn.