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Hillman Opera presents “Carmen” in King
Friday, November 03, 2006


Laurie Tramuta


Aaron Sheya


A full orchestra, chorus, and the Chautauqua Children’s Chorale will join the featured vocalists and actors for the 2006 Hillman Opera at SUNY Fredonia, “Carmen,” Nov. 10 and 11, at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

The Fredonia School of Music is presenting Georges Bizet’s passionate and fiery opera in the classic tradition of French Grand Opera with English supertitles. Described as a timeless love triangle, “Carmen” never fails to capture the imagination of audiences.

Tickets for the semi-staged production, which includes costumes, lighting and props, are on sale at the Central Ticket Office in the Williams Center (716-673-3501). Tickets are $12, and discounted to $10 for senior citizens and $7 for children and SUNY Fredonia students.

Cast of Characters (Friday/Saturday)
Carmen: Victoria Vargas/Laurie Tramuta
Don José: Aaron Sheya
Escamillo: Geordie Alexander/Justin Staebell
Micaëla:  Ana Maria De Angelo/Lydia Herren
Frasquita:  Erin Romano/Patricia Carpenter
Mercédès:  Denielle Gallo/Molly Perry
Dancaïre: Colin D. Pazik (Cover: Christopher Lynch)
Remendado: Richard A. Montgomery II (Cover: Boris Van Druff)
Zuniga: Ben Pfeil/Jesse Conti
Moralès:  Vince Oddo (Cover:Will Prapestis)
Flamenco Dancer: Nancy B. Hill
Cigarette Girls: Kelly Campbell, Lea Kazakis, Ayla Fialko, Karen Ewing, Michelle Wilson, Laura Agan
Soldiers:  Christopher Lynch, Kurt Wissing, Ryan Kaminski, Eric Koepke
Joining the student cast are guest artists, Laurie Tramuta of the SUNY Fredonia voice faculty (Carmen); music performance major Victoria Vargas of Jersey City, N.J. (Carmen), Aaron Sheya of the Metropolitan Opera Company Chorus (Don Jose); and Nancy Hill, flamenco dancer and choreographer.

SUNY Fredonia receives support for its annual Hillman Opera from the Hillman Memorial Music Association, a community-based organization that provides funding that enables SUNY Fredonia to rent stage settings and costumes from professional opera companies and rental houses. The Hillman association, which also sponsors scholarships for SUNY Fredonia music students, is named in honor of Jessie Hillman, who taught piano at the Fredonia Normal School in the early twentieth century. A gifted teacher, she was also known for her quiet generosity to students in financial need.

Learn more about the opera

Prior to each production, audience members can find out more about “Carmen,” which debuted in Paris in 1875 and was once denounced as “immoral” and “superficial.” The Pre-Opera Talks and reception will start at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights in the Art Gallery Lobby of the Rockefeller Arts Center. Friday’s talk will be delivered by Dr. Peter Schoenbach, professor emeritus and former director of the Fredonia School of Music. Saturday’s talk will be given by Dr. James Davis, music historian and professor at the Fredonia School of Music.  Both talks are free and open to all. Refreshments will follow the Pre-Opera talk both nights, and reservations are recommended by calling 716-673-3152 or emailing won.cho@fredonia.edu.

The opera is conducted by Dr. David Rudge, director of orchestral activities at the Fredonia School of Music, directed by Professor Tom Loughlin of the theatre and dance department; and coordinated by Professor of Voice Won Cho of the Fredonia School of Music.

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