The Hillman Opera will continue its tradition of staging one of the most anticipated performing arts events of the season at SUNY Fredonia with its production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" ("Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor") from Nov. 10 to 13 in Marvel Theatre at Rockefeller Arts Center.
Performance dates and times include Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. There will be a matinee performance on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Based on Shakespeare's work of the same name, this pillar of the Germanic repertoire from Carl Otto Nicolai is filled with charm, humor and dramatic music. This fully-staged opera production will be presented in German with English supertitles.
"It's difficult to not fall in love with the music of Otto Nicolai's masterpiece 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' - 'Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor' in its original German," said Julie Newell, production administrator for the Hillman Opera.
Newell said the opera takes "one of the most beloved of Shakespeare's works" and adds "incredibly buoyant melodies for the principal characters, a stunningly beautiful love duet for (characters) Anne and Fenton, musical and theatrical high jinks for the chorus in the famous woods scene and, of course, that incredible overture, one of the greatest in the orchestral canon -what's not to love?"
Newell said composer Otto Nicolai "is revered" in the Germanspeaking world and this work is "a favorite in professional opera houses as it offers magnificent singing opportunities for a large cast and remains very true to the core relationships in Shakespeare's original."
"We will highlight two alumni of our respective departments," Newell said. "The first, singing the role of Falstaff, is Josh Fingerhut, a 2004 graduate who is still remembered for his stunning portrayal of Sweeney Todd in the musical of the same name. The other is guest makeup and hair designer David Bova. David boasts a national reputation in his field and it is a thrill having him make time to join us here in Fredonia."
More than 120 students will be working in and around the production, together with faculty from both the School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance including David Rudge, Tom Loughlin, Shinobu Takagi, Max Zorn, Dixon Reynolds, Laurel Walford, Greg Kaye, Todd Proffitt and Newell.
Newell said the collaboration between the School of Music, the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Hillman Memorial Music Association is "truly unique nationally."
"It is a complex business putting two very busy departments together for a couple of intense weeks," she said. "The reward of all this extra effort is not only a stunning production, but a great sense of camaraderie. It is thrilling to participate in this annual 'opera-tunity'."
Tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the modular complex in the Dods Hall parking lot across from the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 (1-866-441-4928) or online at fredonia.edu/tickets.