Their own local opera company, that's what they have in common.
Peach State Opera, an artist affiliate of Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston, Ga., and DeKalb County is in rehearsal for their latest production, Madame Butterfly. Scheduled performances in the Atlanta area are Friday, January 11, in the Cole Auditorium of GPC at 8 pm, and Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 pm at The Falany Performing Arts Center of Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga.
Since Peach State Opera is a traveling company, performances will also be presented at The Ritz Theatre in Brunswick and the Howard Auditorium in Tifton. Local supporters will want to take advantage of a special that that the company is running where tickets purchased before December 31 will be $15. Another boon to patrons is that groups of ten or more can purchase tickets for $10 each. You can go to Peach State's website http://www.peachstateopera.org/ to purchase tickets and meet the cast of Madame Butterfly.
In my last blog posted on the Decatur Avondale Patch on August 29 prior to Peach State Opera’s performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, I promised to introduce you to the company’s artistic director and update you on my efforts to grow an audience. Although our attendees at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston were enthusiastic about the artistic merit of the production and praised the performances of the cast, we still need to get the word our locally of the fine work of this group devoted to providing an opportunity for young singers to perform fully staged operas, a dream of Evelyn Hughes, artistic director.
She received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from West Virginia University, with further graduate study at the University of Virginia, Westminster Choir College, and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She has performed early music throughout Europe and has appeared locally with the DeKalb Baroque Ensemble, Heritage Singers, Atlanta-Emory Orchestra, DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, DeKalb Music Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Baroqueworks, and DaSalo Solisti Chamber Orchestra.
Mrs. Hughes is a member of the Georgia Music Teachers Association, and holds National College Faculty Certification through the Music Teachers National Association, and has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She is also an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Mrs. Hughes has adjudicated a variety of vocal competitions, both, locally and throughout the southeast, and has presented workshops in vocal technique and diction. She recently retired as Associate Professor of Music at Georgia Perimeter College, where she directed the Voice and Opera programs.
To me, opera is the most exciting art form in the world! It combines the full range of artistic resources: drama, visual arts, literature, and of course, the wonderful, soul-stirring music. Opera can be thrilling, hilarious, political, terrifying, imaginary, emotional, elegant, or poignant. Opera sings of the poor (La Boheme), the rich (The Marriage of Figaro), the righteous (Fidelio), the morally depraved (Don Giovanni), the victim (Susannah), the martyr (Faust), the powerful (Boris Godunov), the delightful (The Elixir of Love), and the doomed (Romeo and Juliette).
Sometimes it seems as if a long-dead composer took his idea from yesterday’s headlines. Consider Carmen. A woman is killed by a jealous lover who decides that if he can’t have her, no one will. Consider Madame Butterfly. From time immemorial, soldiers and sailors far from home have sought comfort in cultures radically different from their own. When they returned to their “real” lives, they often, knowingly or unknowingly, left behind the children of these unions. Although written over 100 years ago, these two stories are as fresh as if they had just happened. Opera is timeless. It is about who we were, who we are now, who we should not become, and who we would like to be.
After reading the statement above, you know that the artistic and production values of Peach State Opera are in good hands. In my next blog you will meet Tamara Watson, who is not only directing but singing the lead role of Madam Butterfly. Until then , don't hesitate to get your tickets today and join me in supporting our local opera company.