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Yale Daily News: Yale Opera kicks off season

"Yale Opera put on an exhibition of humor, misfortune and romance…"
November 4, 2014

Yale Daily News | By Gayatri Sabharwal

To open its season, the Yale Opera put on an exhibition of humor, misfortune and romance as it performed several of history’s most iconic pieces.

The Yale Opera program at the School of Music presented its annual Fall Opera Scenes this weekend at Sprague Memorial Hall. The Saturday performance featured scenes from works such as “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Hamlet” and “Antony and Cleopatra.” Sunday’s show featured excerpts from “Aleko,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.” The performances were delivered in their original languages, with accompanying projections of English translations. Yale Opera Manager Erika Niemi said that the Fall Scenes are unique in that the vast majority of Yale Opera’s members perform in the show, which stands in contrast to other shows by the group that only feature a few performers.

“It’s great to feature all the Yale Opera seniors — that’s what’s wonderful about Scenes,” Niemi said. “It’s a good opportunity to have everyone in the Yale Opera community come together.”

Niemi explained that most of the performances in Fall Scenes feature two soprano roles and two tenor roles, which is more than what most opera companies choose to cast in their productions. She added that she thinks Scenes caters perfectly to the large number of vocalists in the group as a result of its expanding the amount of available roles.

Evanna Chiew MUS ’15, a vocalist in the performance, highlighted that Fall Scenes gives first-year students in the opera an opportunity to play a substantial role in a formal production. Chiew, who played Cherubino in “Le Nozze di Figaro” and Nicklaus in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” noted that every member of the production plays more than one part in the show.

“We all helped out with the scene changes and load-ins,” Chiew said. “This gave us a chance to also see the backstage process.”

Audience members interviewed said they enjoyed the Scenes’ productions of classic opera pieces. Sylvia Zhang DRA ’17 said she particularly liked the performances of “Le Nozze di Figaro” and “Romeo and Juliet.”