Singing with the DonGAMBIER, Ohio (November 22, 2011)
A new professional production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, to be presented in Columbus this weekend, will soar with voices from the Hill. Columbus soprano Peggy K. Dye, adjunct instructor of voice, will sing a principal role with support from a vocal chorus that includes six Kenyon students. "This is an incredible opportunity," said music major Allyson Schmaling '14. "I am still reeling at the thought that I have this chance to break into the professional opera world."
Mounting the production for Opera Columbus is Toronto-based Opera Atelier, a professional company that combines its cast and dancers with the talents of local performers in elaborately staged and costumed operas, dramas, and ballets from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For the chorus, Dye recruited her Kenyon voice students, not all of whom are music majors. "Some of us are just enthusiasts," said Joseph Lerangis '12, a double major in music and modern languages. "I know music is probably not going to be the most viable career option for me, but this is a chance for me to see what it is like to actually perform professionally."
The students maintained a rigorous rehearsal schedule, traveling up to five days a week to Columbus. They left as early as 7:00 a.m. on some days and returned as late as 10:00 p.m. on others. And, yes, they suffered for their art. Until they secured a van through the Department of Music, they spent their first several days cramming six people into a car that seats five. "We all took turns riding in the trunk," said Schmaling, of the nearly three-hour round trip. "It was a great bonding experience."
Mozart's comic masterpiece is based on the story of Don Juan and centers on the dissolute life of an incorrigible playboy. The Opera Atelier production, which opens the Opera Columbus season, is being played for full comedic effect, with a lot of interplay between the performers and audience. "This version is just ridiculously funny," Lerangis said.
Schmaling and Lerangis appear in the chorus with Jeffrey Hechler ' 12, Julie Dopp '13, Nathan Huey '13, and Lindsey Corbett '14. "Being in the chorus is a relatively low commitment musically, but just an incredible opportunity to network for the future," Schmaling said. "If I had not gone to Kenyon and been coached by Peggy, I don't think I would ever have had this chance."
Opera Columbus presents the Opera Atelier production of Don Giovanni 8:00 p.m. Friday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday in the Southern Theater, 21 E. Main Street, Columbus. Tickets are $38-98 and available at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office, 39 E. State Street, or from www.ticektmaster.com or by calling 614-469-0939 or 800-745-3000.