Fact: The average music fan has heard approximately 1 percent of all the operas that have ever been written. Typically, we hear the same few pieces recycled and re-recycled in films (Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” in Apocalypse Now) and in old Bugs Bunny cartoons (“Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit,” sung to the melody of “Ride of the Valkyries.”). That doesn’t mean the music isn’t good. It just means that most of us opera newbies have plenty to learn about the form. Luckily for us, the University of Montana School of Music is hosting what amounts to a delicious tapas bar of operatic delights and highlights in Dizzying Dilemmas at the Opera.
The show features scenes from well-known operas performed by the school’s award-winning vocalists. Operas represented include The Marriage of Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Hansel & Gretel, The Magic Flute and more, making it a perfect introduction to the world of opera. According to director and UM voice teacher Anne Basinski the sampler “allows [her] to cherry pick and show off the skills of the students.” And what students she has. Three of them, Neila Getz, John Knispel and Arielle Nachtigal, are headed to the Northwest Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera held in Seattle this upcoming January, after sweeping the regional competition in Spokane. Also, two of the scenes featured in Dilemmas have been designated finalists in the National Opera Association Collegiate Scenes Competition taking place in Portland, Ore.
No dilemmas here. If you’ve ever had the itch to hear something a little more substantial than the typical pop music puffery, a platter-full of classic songs and scenes await.
Dizzying Dilemmas at the Opera is presented by singers from the UM School of Music Tue., Nov. 27 and Wed., Nov. 28, at 7:30 PM, at the Music Recital Hall on the UM campus. $11/$6 seniors and students.