Local students studying at Augustana College will perform in an upcoming opera Print
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Keri Rursch   
Monday, 14 November 2011 14:58

ROCK ISLAND, IL (11/10/2011)(readMedia)-- Opera@Augustana will present Paul Hindemith's

Christine Harb, a Undecided major, is a First Year at Augustana. Harb is from Davenport, Iowa.

Kaleigh Wall, a Art major, is a Junior at Augustana. Wall is from Eldridge, Iowa.

Elyzia Powers, a Undecided major, is a First Year at Augustana. Powers is from Silvis, Ill..

The opera's libretto is by American playwright Thornton Wilder, after his play of the same name. Wilder captures a series of Christmas dinners celebrated by the Bayard family over 90 years and blends them into a one long meal. The tender story follows four generations as they experience birth, death, growth and loss.

"When I listened to it, I found a story that focuses on family during the holidays," said Dr. John Pfautz, director of Opera@Augustana. "It gives us insight into 90 years of a family's holiday dinner, allowing us a glimpse of family traditions, continuing patterns from generation to generation, and lasting family values."

Playing the second-generation father of the Bayard family is Dylan Hinrichs '13, a vocal music education major from Sterling, Ill. One of 11 Augustana students featured in the opera, Hinrichs appreciates the storyline's complexity. "There are a lot of hidden messages lying under the surface of the plot," he said. "Many of the underlying themes are quite controversial and up for different interpretations."

Hinrichs is no stranger to the stage as a performer or as a director. A member of the Augustana Choir and the Augustana Chamber Singers, Hinrichs played Gunther in the Truce of Carols opera last season. He directs a children's choir and performs with an adult church choir. Last summer, he directed a musical for middle-school students.

"The most challenging part of The Long Christmas Dinner is the music," he said. "Hindemith is a 20th-century composer who incorporated several contemporary musical styles, which can be difficult for singers."

The challenging musical score helped convince Dr. Pfautz to present this particular opera. "Pedagogically, it's appropriate that Opera@Augustana presents repertoire that teaches something to the performers as well as the audience. I'm so pleased with how the students have risen to the occasion."


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