KSU students perform opera with Solon Center for the Arts

Katie Fickle

Opera at the Solon Center for the Arts

Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are reserved

$25 for Adults

$20 for Senior Citizens and Students

Kent State students are collaborating with professionals from the Solon Center for the Arts for the first time Friday in the production of “Madama Butterfly.”

Twelve students, two alumni and one faculty member will perform with professionals hired from the Solon Center.

Timothy Culver, Kent State associate music professor, has a leading role and three of the twelve students have supporting roles. Other students and alumni make up the chorus.

“It’s not a piece that would have been able to be solely performed by students because of the vocal demands of the roles,” said Kerry Glann, associate professor of music at Kent State and conductor for ‘Madama Butterfly’. “It really takes mature, experienced voices to execute.”

Prasser said the Solon Center is an institute designed to educate students in music, theatre, dance and art. About 3,500 students ranging from infants to senior citizens attend the center. It also has its own orchestra and community chorus, and participates in a photography competition.

The process of collaborating with the Solon Center for the Arts began in July of 2010, said Karen Prasser, executive director for the Solon Center.

Prasser said she has worked with Culver on previous productions about two years ago, and they kept in touch and spoke one day over the phone about putting on Madama Butterfly with the Solon Center and Kent State students.

“I said maybe that would be a cool thing to do,” Prasser said. “I’m doing it with his kids because it’s great opportunity with the Kent State students, and they are so talented to use them as part of this production. It was just kind of a natural fit.”

Prasser said she thinks the students work well with the professionals, and they stretch themselves to hold up to professional standards.

“I’m really excited for this production,” said Hannah Jencius, senior voice performance major. “This is my first professional role so I’m just really excited for the experience and to able to work with Tim Culver; the Solon Center; Jonathon Field, the director; and Marian Vogel, Madama Butterfly. It’s just amazing.”

Senior music major Ryan Fitzgerald said he enjoys preparing for the opera, but he spends a lot of time translating the music because it’s written in Italian.

“Words are out of order,” Fitzgerald said. “There is different phrasing so you have to go word for word and understand what you are saying.”

Although the opera is sung in Italian there will be translations on the screens for the audience, Fitzgerald said.

“A lot of the story lines are easy to follow,” Fitzgerald said. “Super titles are placed above stage. It makes a huge difference in ability to follow the story.

Jenicus, along with other individuals involved in the production, said she hopes students will come to the opera.

“I am really hopeful that people can start to give opera a chance at Kent State,” Jencius said. “Everybody knows about other arts programs here, but not a lot of people pay attention to the opera that we do and the opera that we do is amazing. ‘Madama Butterfly’ is such a unique first experience.”

Contact Katie Fickle at [email protected].