Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music Opera Ensemble, under the direction of Frederick Burchinal, will present fully staged performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Thursday, Nov. 11 and Friday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center.
Gilbert and Sullivan specialist John Stephens, professor and director of the voice and opera division at the University of Kansas, who has performed and directed many operettas nationwide, will stage direct the UGA production. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $7 for students with a valid UGA ID.They can be purchased through the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 706/542-4400
H.M.S. Pinaforewas first performed in 1878 and became the second longest running musical theater production up to that time. With many double-entendres on mistaken identity and class distinctions on the deck of a naval vessel named for a young lady’s garment, the comic opera also spoofs many “serious” music compositions from Bellini to Verdi to spread a multi-layered collage of love and lampoon that has been translated into multiple languages for audiences worldwide.
“When I arrived at UGA, part of my vision was to bring as much Gilbert and Sullivan here as I could, because I think it’s a kind of gateway experience for the uninitiated and a delightful evening for all opera lovers,” said Burchinal, the UGA Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor in the Arts and Metropolitan Opera baritone. “In today’s world, we could almost consider it as crossover music-it’s not serious opera, but it’s not musical comedy either. It’s that area in between that can touch an audience that has never seen an opera.”
In addition to stage direction by Stephens, who also directed the Athena Opera’s The Mikado presented at the Classic Center in 2007, the production will feature original costumes designed and constructed by two M.F.A. candidates from the department of theatre and film studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Christin Schifano and Maile Speetjens. H.M.S. Pinafore features a large cast of nine principal actors and a chorus of 20, with accompaniment from the opera orchestra, conducted by Gary DiPasquasio, opera music director in the School of Music.
“In Pinafore, Gilbert andSullivan send up the conventions of the whole operatic repertoire, especially Bellini in La Sonnambula and I Puritani, and Verdi in Ernani,” said DiPasquasio. “These are things I use as motivationwhen conducting a show in which some of the orchestra and/or singers may be performing opera for the first time.”
The Nov. 11 performance is part of the 2nd Thursday Scholarship Series in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Ticket sales from the Nov. 12 performance will help support future productions by the opera ensemble. For further information about the UGA opera ensemble, see www.music.uga.edu/ensembles/Chamber/Student/Voice/OperaEnsemble/