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Upcoming Opera Workshop Raises the Bar

Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music will host its annual Opera Workshop concert featuring Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, at the Carnegie Public Library Music Hall in Carnegie.

Guenko Guechev, chair of voice in the School of Music, demands high quality performances from student singers, particularly for the Opera Workshop concert. The Opera Workshops represent months of preparation for Guechev and the students, and to do justice toThe Marriage of Figaro, standards are even higher than usual.

According to Guechev, not many University voice programs could perform such a challenging composition. The opera, a love story with a satirical subplot that lampoons aristocrats and court politics, has four demanding acts with no easy passages, requiring the very best effort from soloists as well as from the chorus and orchestra throughout. Yet, Guechev explained, when it is well performed, The Marriage of Figaro is two-and-a-half hours of exquisite beauty. 
“From the first note to the last note, it’s a work of pure genius,” Guechev observed. “It’s a masterpiece with no match.”

The cast will feature 11 singers, ranging in age and experience from a freshman in one of the lead roles to a graduate student whose performance credits include professional opera productions in Latin America, as well as a chorus. Christine Jordanoff, director of choral organizations at Duquesne, formed the opera chorus from members of Voices of Spirit, the most selective of the University’s choirs. The student performers have been perfecting their parts since the Fall semester and recently have been rehearsing with the Duquesne University Symphony under the direction of Maestro Sidney Harth.

Having a full compliment of musicians, Guechev explained, allows performers to present the music as the composer intended. To date,The Marriage of Figaro is the largest and most elaborate project for the Opera Workshop. The production will have elaborate costumes that were donated for the performance, as well high quality stage sets, with furniture loaned by the Levin Furniture Co. The students also will get professional help in an upcoming master class devoted to the art of stage makeup.

The suggested donation for the performance $10. For more information, call 412.396.6083 or visit www.music.duq.edu.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.