The University of Georgia Opera Theatre will present a gala concert of highlights from 10 different operas by the greatest composers of Bel Canto era music, including Donizetti, Rossini and Bellini.
The performances will take place Oct. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. The era of Bel Canto, which translates to “beautiful singing,” was a style of singing and composing from the early decades of the 19th century. This style of singing and music is still a primary focus of opera companies worldwide.
The concert will be a major collaboration of three large School of Music organizations: the UGA Opera Theatre, the UGA Symphony Orchestra and the Hodgson Singers. There will be 12 soloists singing arias, duets, quartets, quintets and ensembles of some of the era’s music. The decision to choose this program, according to Frederick Burchinal, the Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor in the Arts, was to offer “our student singers the opportunity to learn and perform these great operas and the style of singing
and to bring to our audiences this ‘sample platter’ of operas that our limited resources and facilities prevents us from offering as complete operas.
“The Opera Theatre wishes to bring to Athens the widest variety of music to inspire the listener to learn more about this era as we did last year with the Viva Verdi Gala, where nine different Verdi operas were presented,” said Burchinal.
The opera department, which includes international opera coach Kathryn Wright, decided on the Bel Canto era of music for the October opera because of its focus on the singers’ skills and technical prowess above all. The singers of the time were able to “show off” their abilities with long dramatic cadenzas, an abundance of upper range notes, long legato phrases, rapid fire runs, extended trills and embellishments and extreme dynamic contrasts.
Burchinal came to UGA in 2006 while continuing his international career, along with continuing performances with the Metropolitan Opera as a leading baritone.
“I came to UGA to pass on the legacy, skills and love of opera to all the hopeful singers who wish to have the same amazing experiences that I enjoyed during my career,” he said.
He has succeeded in building an opera program at UGA that assists students in obtaining the skills needed to pursue their own careers. The UGA Opera Theatre program continues to provide opportunities for the Athens community to enjoy opera performances.
Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults and $6 for students and can be purchased by calling 706-542-4400, online by visiting pac.uga.edu or by visiting the Performing Arts Center box office.
For those unable to attend, the opera performance will be streamed on the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s website at music.uga.edu/live-streaming.