Converse opera answers the question, to music
MARCH 17, 2011 10:56 a.m. (0)Converse Opera Theatre’s production of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.”
The opera tells the story of a young girl named Laurie, who is about to graduate high school in the 1930s in the Midwest, as she discovers she wants more out of life than she previously anticipated.
When her dreams of eloping with one of the farm hands her grandfather hires to help with the spring harvest fall apart, she decides to set out on her own.
“This is such a relevant issue for young women in high school and college,” said Rebecca Turner, the theater’s director. “This woman does not yet know what journey her life will take, but she knows that she wants something more – a theme that seemed like a great connection to Converse.”
That’s the familiar. The unfamiliar is an opera performed in English.
Turner and her husband, Stafford, were introduced to “The Tender Land” in 2005 when performing it at the Shenandoah Performs Music Festival. They enjoyed doing something new that appealed to many different types of people.
“Everyone loves to see classic opera like ‘La Boheme,’ ‘The Magic Flute’ or ‘Cosi fan tutte,’ but I thought something different, that offers music and a story line with broad appeal, might be interesting to the Upstate,” she said.
The Turners work collaboratively on the production. She’s the producer. He’s the stage director, set designer and constructor.
The cast is comprised primarily of students in the Petrie School of Music. Most of the female roles are double cast to allow more students to participate. Roland Smith, who earned a music degree from Converse in the 1970s and has been involved in Spartanburg’s church, school and community music scene for more than 40 years, sings the role of the grandfather.
Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Twichell Auditorium.
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