Opera in the Ozarks to celebrate 59th season

Thursday, June 18, 2009

EUREKA SPRINGS -- As with Shakespeare, opera is not something most people would associate with the Ozarks. But most people would be wrong.

On June 19, the highly acclaimed Opera in the Ozarks will launch its 59th season with a double bill of Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci coupled with 19th century composer Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.

Fairy tale opera

The opera, based on the fairy tale, has been performed internationally since its debut in 1893 and recorded for radio, television and film.

The following Saturday night, Jules Massenet's Manon will open.

Manon, set during the reign of Louis XV (1710-1774), is a romantic comedy following the adventures of an innocent young girl re-routed on her way to the convent.

Rounding out the 2009 season repertoire will be Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten on Thursday, June 25.

Albert Herring, which has been described as reminiscent of the works of both Gilbert and Sullivan and Richard Strauss, is a humorous exploration of society's reaction to an odd individual.

Performances will continue through July 17. On June 27 and July 3 the troupe will perform at Bentonville's Arend Arts Center.

A long history

This unique festival, founded by Dr. Henry Hobart in 1950, is affiliated with the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) and has earned the reputation of being a prominent training program for all singers interested in pursuing a career in opera.

One notable feature of the program is that every participant is afforded an opportunity to perform in fully produced operas, either an evening scenes program or an educational outreach program taken across Northwest Arkansas.

The four weeks of rehearsal and four weeks of performances are under the supervision of a professional staff.

Opera in the Ozarks alumni have appeared in all of the major performing venues of the world over the years.

Many internationally known teachers, conductors, directors, composers and singers teach classes each summer during the season.

Nearly $2,000 in prizes for outstanding achievement during the season are awarded, along with a special NFMC "Past President's Scholarship" for continued study, which will be awarded to worthy participants at the end of the season.

A worthy investment

The tuition of $3,750 includes participation in the opera productions, educational program, opera scenes program, acting and diction instruction, movement classes, stage combat classes, master classes, one-on-one coaching plus room and board.

Opera in the Ozarks provides extensive performance opportunities to singers pursuing the goal of a professional career in opera.

Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point is located at 16311 US62W, seven miles west of Eureka Springs.

For details, email generaldirector@opera.org or call 253-8595.

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