April 26, 2006

Don Giovanni set to entice opera-goers

Photo: BieAnne Welch (Donna Anna), Kathrine Bamfield (Zerlina), Antoni Mendezona (Zerlina) (role is double cast), Eugene Chan (Don Giovanni).
Anne Welch (Donna Anna), Kathrine Bamfield (Zerlina), Antoni Mendezona (Zerlina) (role is double cast), Eugene Chan (Don Giovanni).

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One of opera’s most famous tales of seduction, revenge and murder will steal the hearts of audiences at Sacramento State for the performance of Don Giovanni, opening at 8 p.m., Friday, May 5 in the University Theatre. Performances continue on May 7 at 2:30 p.m., May 12 at 8 p.m. and May 14 at 8 p.m.

The opera, first directed by Mozart in 1787 in Prague, centers on Don Giovanni, a libertine who lures women into his clutches. His untamed conquests lead to him killing a man – after seducing his daughter – and enticing a married woman, only to be dragged by demons into the fiery depths of hell.

“We find ourselves being fascinated and repelled by his character,” said Professor Lynn Stradley, stage director and producer of Don Giovanni.

Stradley said not only is this performance Sacramento State’s most challenging yet, it is also the first time the University’s Opera Theatre has cast an entire opera completely with Sacramento State students and recent graduates. He said they were also able to double-cast many of the lead roles to give more students the ability to perform.

Up-and-coming opera star Eugene Chan, a student in the Sacramento State voice program, will play the title role for the May 5 and 12 performances. Chan has debuted in the Sacramento Opera, was a featured soloist in the California Youth Symphony and has won many awards including first place in the Steward Brady Award and the West Bay Opera/Henry Holt Award. He was recen+tly praised by opera legend Frederika von Stade for his impressive singing ability.

An elaborate set designed by Mark Haney will encapsulate the opera’s dramatic scenes, with winding staircases and a trapdoor. Sacramento State’s 23-piece opera orchestra and a chorus of 13 will accompany the performance.

Stradley said the opera has been a rewarding semester-long project, where students learned to master the musical form recitative in the tradition Italian language – a valuable skill in the opera realm. Screens with English supertitles will be set up so audience members can enjoy the performance in its traditional form and still follow along.

Tickets are $18 general admission and $12 for students and seniors.

For ticket information, call the Sacramento State Ticket Office at (916) 278-4323. For media assistance, call the Sacramento State public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

High-resolution images associated with this event are available for download at www.csus.edu/news/imagedownload.

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