On a lighter note, Kent State premieres its first operetta

Carissa Bowlin

Dress rehearsals were held last night in the Auditorium for the operetta “H.M.S. Pinafore,” directed by John Sikora. The operetta opens at 8 tonight, and the last performance is 2 p.m Sunday.

Credit: Andrew popik

Some may find an opera dreary, dark and a bit over-the-top. To lighten things up, the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music is presenting its first operetta this weekend.

“The literal definition of operetta is ‘little opera,” said John Sikora, the operetta’s director. “The most obvious differences in operettas as opposed to operas are the lighter subject matters, spoken dialogue and shorter run time.”

“H.M.S. Pinafore” by Gilbert and Sullivan will be performed in English by a student cast of 18 at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and at 2 p.m. Sunday. The female lead, Josephine, is a typical maiden in distress. She is triple-cast for Kent State’s production.

“The operetta pokes fun at the British social class structure,” Christina Skifstad said. Skifstad will play the role of Josephine during Sunday’s performance. “My character falls in love with a sailor which is not acceptable because she is the captain of the ship’s daughter.”

Melissa Davis, Friday’s Josephine, has been enjoying the role as well.

“Gilbert and Sullivan shows give performers the opportunity to explore the comic aspect of acting and singing,” Davis said.

The cast agrees that the tunes in the production are catchy and easy for the audience to pick up.

“This is a great stepping stone to traditional opera,” Sikora said. “Everyone will leave humming a tune.”

The style of the operetta pieces can be compared to barbershop techniques.

“There’s an apparent use of barbershop harmony within the production,” said Kevin New, who plays the character Ralph.

Skifstad appreciates the show for what it is.

“It’s just a fun show with a lot of chorus involvement and a lot of dancing,” she said.

Tickets are $8 for students, $10 for general admission and $15 for reserved seating. They can be purchased at the door.

Contact performing arts reporter Carissa Bowlin at [email protected].