Kent/Blossom comedy opera premieres this weekend

Neville Hardman

A short one-act comedy opera will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. in Ludwig Recital Hall as part of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival.

The opera features six characters singing in Italian and exchanging dialogue in between songs. The opera, La Cambiale di Matrimonio (The Marriage Contract), focuses on a father attempting to give his daughter away to another man, even though she’s in love with someone else.

Charles Latshaw, assistant professor of music and director of the festival, said he expects the show to draw a sellout crowd.

“(This) is a new experiment for us this year to have singers as part of the festival,” he said.

Kent/Blossom used to have a choral element, but the concerts have been entirely instrumental for the last 20 years, Latshaw said. The decision to focus on instrumental chamber music for many years was made because opera is a huge amount of work, he said.

Two Kent State professors are featured in the opera. Lara Troyer, a voice professor in the School of Music, plays the female lead.

“I’ve been practicing the language and trying to get the music in my voice and in my body,” Troyer said.

The music needs to be translated before any learning can begin, she said.

“We have to know what we’re saying so we can express the meaning to the audience,” Troyer said.

Timothy Culver, an associate voice professor in the School of Music, plays Troyer’s secret love interest.

Culver said the process began when Latshaw approached him about bringing the opera back.

“Once you’ve gotten the musical ideas down, you start thinking about the character,” Culver said. “Then you start to meld them together.”

The opera is about 75 minutes long, which is shorter than a normal opera, which usually lasts more than two hours, Culver said.

“It’s the kind of piece that for an audience member, if you have never been to an opera or you think you don’t like opera, this is a good one to come to because it’s short and fun,” Latshaw said.

Admission is $5 for students who show a Flashcard, $15 for adults and $13 for seniors. Children 18 and under are free.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].