December 4, 2020

VIDEO: A night at the opera: Webster’s Opera Scenes

Christian Hendriks and Devin Vogel-Woodall sing in the Webster University Opera Scenes Sunday, Jan. 22. PHOTO BY JOSEPH BODENBACH / THE JOURNAL

Jean Huber of the music department hugged Emma Sorenson, junior vocal performance major, outside Nerinx Hall’s Heagney Theatre Sunday night. Sorenson performed in Webster University’s Opera Scenes, which ran Jan. 20-22.

“You sang beautifully,” Huber said.

Music professor Alice Nelson’s opera studio class of 29 students sang in the program. Nelson said the class gives students the opportunity to improve their acting skills while learning practical skills such as working with an orchestra and a conductor. Nelson said students also learn to work well with each other.

“Being a good colleague, that’s so important,” Nelson said. “They all have really out done themselves with that.”

Sorenson played Orfeo, a poet and musician, in “Orfeo ed Euridice.”

Sorenson said she was excited for the role because it was her first time playing a male character. She said in opera, women often play a “trouser role” – a male’s role.

“I had to change all my mannerisms and it’s in a particularly low range for me,” Sorenson said. “That was challenging.”

Huber said the opera studio is a great opportunity for students. She enjoyed watching their progress.

“I get to hear the rehearsals. I get to hear it from the beginning,” Huber said.

The program also included six dancers from the dance department and an orchestra of 15 Webster students, faculty and alumni. The production staff was made up of students in the conservatory.

The program comprised of scenes from:

—“The Medium” by Gian Carlo Menotti,

—“Ruddigore” by William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan,

— “Susannah” by Carlisle Floyd,

—“Orfeo ed Euridice” by Christoph Willibald Gluck.

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