Oswego Opera to perform Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas' in April


April 5, 2017

Oswego Opera Theater will present Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas," with a SUNY Oswego alumna and a faculty member singing the title roles, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, at the Church of the Resurrection, 120 W. Fifth St. in Oswego.

Soprano Amanda Joseph, now a graduate student at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music, will sing Dido, the queen of Carthage who, as in Virgil's "Aeneid," was abandoned by the Trojan war hero she loved. Oswego music professor and professional vocalist Todd Graber, a tenor, will sing the role of Aeneas. "Dido and Aeneas" is often referred to as England's first true opera.

The opera company's artistic director, Juan Francisco La Manna, also a SUNY Oswego music professor, directs the production. His wife, choreographer and dancer Ligia Pinheiro La Manna, will direct dance numbers interspersed through the production, as is customary with operas of the Baroque era.

The college's State Singers will join Attendants and Witches of the "Dido and Aeneas" cast in lively choral numbers with strong rhythms and melodies, under the direction of Mihoko Tsutsumi, SUNY Oswego's director of choral activities.

The Attendant is Julia Ebner, a Syracuse native who has sung with numerous operas, including the Metropolitan Opera of New York. Robert Dumas, a graduate of both the Crane School and Ithaca College, will sing the Sorcerer. Elizabeth Kisselstein, vocal instructor at SUNY Oswego, will sing Belinda, Dido's maid. The role of Sailor is sung by Oswego alumnus Daniel Williams, who has performed in nearly every Oswego Opera Theater production since 2004.

Student talent will include Oswego undergraduates Angela Russell and Claire Beshures as Witches and Oswego High School junior Leah Mullen, who has already participated in 25 musicals and plays, as Spirit.

The production's chamber orchestra will include Kevan Spencer, a senior music major at SUNY Oswego, on keyboard, as the continuo, a Baroque term for an accompanying part that includes a bass line and harmonies.

A veteran conductor, La Manna has served, among others, the State Ballet of Missouri, Lawrence Chamber Orchestra, Miami City Ballet and Northland Symphony, as well as, on many occasions, as guest conductor of such orchestras as those in Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Louis and Naples, Florida.

Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) and are available at River's End Bookstore, Wayne Drugs or at the door.

Baroque masterpiece -- SUNY Oswego's State Singers will join cast members for lively choral numbers in the Oswego Opera production of Baroque composer Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas," with performances at 7:30 p.m. April 22 and 23 at the Church of the Resurrection, 120 W. Fifth St. in Oswego.