January 22, 2010
Ohio Light Opera returns to The College of Wooster for its 32nd summer festival June 19 through August 7.
WOOSTER, Ohio - Ohio Light Opera will bring seven shows to the stage at Freedlander Theatre this summer when the company takes up residence for its 32nd season at The College of Wooster.
Established by James Stuart in 1979, Ohio Light Opera continues to flourish under Steven Daigle, who is in his 12th year as artistic director, and Michael Borowitz, who is in his third year as music director. The company's distinctive lyric-style theater tradition, which includes the entire Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire as well as rarely presented Viennese, Hungarian, German, and American continental works, sets it apart from any other in the world.
"Ohio Light Opera productions are enjoyable, entertaining, and easy to follow," said Executive Director Laura Neill. "Each show is performed in English. The sets are breathtaking, the costumes are beautiful, and the music is magnificent."
The 2010 season, which runs, June 19 through Aug. 7, opens with Alexander Borodin's "Kismet," an exotic and lushly romantic 1953 musical, which includes such favorite songs as "A Stranger in Paradise," "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads," and "Rhymes Have I."
The company will open its second show on June 22 when Jule Styne's "Gypsy" takes the stage. A 1959 production based loosely on the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, this Broadway smash boasts such favorites as "Let Me Entertain You," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Together," and one of musical theatre's greatest overtures.
Franz Lehár's "The Count of Luxembourg" opens next on June 25. This century-old Viennese operetta is considered one of the gems from that era. Originally written in 1909 for a Johann Strauss production, Lehár delighted audiences with sensuous waltzes, toe-tapping marches, and jaunty polkas.
The first of two Gilbert & Sullivan classics will follow on June 30 when "Iolanthe" returns to Freedlander Theatre. A satirical look at the British Parliamentary system, this 1882 production includes such familiar tunes as "Oh, Foolish Fay," "Loudly Let the Trumpet Bray," and "When I Went to the Bar."
The fifth show to open will be Emmerich Kálmán's "The Gypsy Princess" on July 8. Regarded as Kálmán's most popular work, Ohio Light Opera reprises the show for the first time since 1993. This 1915 production features a score that is widely regarded as Kalman's best work.
One week later, the company will debut a highly requested lyric-theatre favorite when it presents John Philip Sousa's "El Capitan" on July 15. This stirring, swashbuckling, hilarious 1896 production is the most successful of the more than 12 comic opera's written by Sousa. Popular selections from the show include "A Typical Tune of Zanzibar," and, of course, the famous "El Capitan March."
The final show will open on July 21 when the company presents another Gilbert & Sullivan favorite, "Patience." Originally intended to be a satirical reflection of the aesthetic movement sweeping through England in 1881, the production became so influential that it wound up enhancing the movement. The musical selections also became popular, from "Love is a Plaintive Song," to "When I First Put this Uniform On," and "When I go Out of Door." Once opened, all seven shows remain in a rotating repertoire until the final week of the season.
Ohio Light Opera performers are chosen from auditions that are held each fall and winter in up to eight cities across the country, including New York and Boston. The 40 performing artists that make up the residency ensemble are chosen for their ability to perform and participate at the highest level in all disciplines used in the repertoire - singing, acting, and dancing. Many former Ohio Light Opera performers have gone on to very successful careers elsewhere, including Paul Groves and Lucas Meachem, who are now with the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Approximately 20,000 patrons from across the country and around the world come to Wooster for
Ohio Light Opera performances in the intimate confines of Freedlander Theatre, which is located on Wooster's campus at 329 E. University St. The box office, located in Westminster Church House (353 E. Pine St.) during the off-season, is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Individual tickets are $45 for matinees, which begin at 2 p.m., and $41 for evening performances,
which start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for students (ages 16-23) are just $20, and children (ages 3-15) are $10. Group discount rates and special packages are also available. VISA, MasterCard, and Discover Card are accepted.
Additional information about Ohio Light Opera is available by phone (330-263-2345) or
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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