Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 19, 2016


‘DON’ YOUR CHAINS Steampunk actors perform the weekend of Feb. 19. 

Dinner + Show: Students, NM Community To Present ‘Don Giovanni’

Carly Kwiecien

Manchester University’s Department of Music is presenting an Op-era Dinner Theater the weekend of Feb. 19–21 at 6:30 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium, which will enable op-era-goers to dine on a three-course catered meal while watching a musical production.

Directed by Dr. Debra Lynn, the two operas on the menu are “Green Eggs and Ham” by Kapilow and “Don Giovanni” by Mozart. Cast members in “Green Eggs and Ham” are sophomore Kenzie Hare and Sandy Funk. “Don Giovanni” has a larger cast, featuring RaeAnne Schoeffler, senior Michael Rueff, juniors Grant Ebert and Josh Dold, sophomores Matthew Grothouse, Bailey Short, Kenzie Hare, and high school senior Emily Lynn.

Both of these operas are very different from one another. “What really drew me to ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is just how differ-ent it was from traditional opera,” said Hare, who plays Soprano. “The score is like nothing I have ever heard and every time I get to run through it, the atmosphere is just so magnetic. You can't help but have a good time.”

These operas will be sung in English, giving the audience a different experience from traditional operas, which are typically sung in Italian.

“Don Giovanni” by Mo-zart follows the story of an arro-gant and promiscuous man who travels Europe looking for women to seduce. The opera takes place in Spain, his favorite country. While in the process of finding new women to lure, he encounters something he cannot destroy. The cast has worked vigorously to perfect their lines.

“‘Don Giovanni’ has a small cast and they are always a pleasure to work with,” said Grant Ebert, who plays the role of Don Giovanni. “Even though it is a re-duction, ‘Don Giovanni’ is running at about two hours. The show has its intrinsic rewards, because it is vo-cally taxing.”

Those looking to attend should expect the Cordier stage to be flipped around. The audi-ence will be down-stage, while the performance takes place up-stage. There will be tables with risers and round tables near upstage. The round tables will be in the “splash zone,” because there will be occasional audience-character interaction, and the characters will be walking in-between the audience members.

The cast received their full scores four days before their opera workshop began during January Session. Ever since, cast members have worked long hours together, practicing and reviewing their roles.

“So much effort has been put forth in this production,” Hare said. “I can't speak for my other cast mates, but I spend about two to three hours every day in a practice room going over my parts to make sure that I have everything down pat. I would say about 20–25 hours a week go into this.”

Cast members are looking forward to flaunting their talents, and hope to see new faces in the audience.

“If you have never seen an opera before, this can be your first time!” Ebert said, with enthusiasm. “I would highly suggest com-ing to see it, because ‘Don Giovan-ni’ is an interesting story.

“The Opera Dinner is fairly cheap compared to seeing the full version professionally performed, he continued. “Opera tickets will run anywhere from $25 to $200 depending where you go, and what the performance is. In addi-tion, there will be food! To students that live on campus and would like to have a nice Sunday dinner, here is your chance.”

Chartwells is catering the evening’s meal, which will include apricot-glazed ham, sweet potato casserole, fresh green beans, tossed salad, dinner rolls and custard pie with homemade whipped topping. Tickets are $12 for stu-dents and $18 for adults. Reservations can be made online, from the link on Manchester’s home page.