CSU Presents Puccini Double Bill with “Gianni Schicchi” and “Suor Angelica

10.23.14_PucciniPresented by the Charles & Reta Ralph Opera Center

The Charles & Reta Ralph Opera Center presents a double-bill of Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, two of Puccini’s beloved one-act operas on Fridays, November 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, November 9 and 16 at 2 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St.

Tickets are $10 for CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $20 for the public. Please note that the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office hours have changed. Tickets are available at the ticket office in the UCA lobby 90 minutes prior to any UCA performance and through intermission or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com. Information about upcoming performances can be found at (970) 491-ARTS (2787). Advance or online purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

The Ralph Opera Center takes on two titles from Puccini’s Il trittico (The Triptych)—originally three one-act operas with contrasting themes. While originally written to be presented together, they continue to be performed with one or both of the other trittico operas: Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, and Il tabarro.

Gianni Schicchi is a comedy that follows the dealings of family and friends who embark on an elaborate scheme to change the will of a wealthy man in order to pursue their own desires, featuring one of the most popular arias in opera, “O mio babbino caro.” Quite differently, Suor Angelica tells the heartbreaking tale of a nun who is shunned by her family, leading her to a tragic choice.

Giacomo Puccini is arguably one of the greatest composers of Italian opera along with Verdi. While his early work was rooted in traditional late-19th-century romantic Italian opera, he successfully developed his work in the more realistic verismo style, of which he became one of the leading proponents. The score of Gianni Schicchi combines elements of Puccini’s modern style of harmonic dissonance with lyrical and it has been praised for its inventiveness and imagination.

When these shows were written, they were applauded for being so relevant to the time and representing everyday people. In order to keep with Puccini’s intentions, CSU’s production of Gianni Schicchi has a new modern twist, being set in 1970 New Jersey. Tiffany Blake,  director of the Ralph Opera Center at CSU, says the production team is “relating the characters and plot of Gianni Schicchi to a period that modern day audiences can relate to” in hopes of bringing these operas to a more diverse audience.

About the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center

The Ralph Opera Center, housed at the state-of-the-art University Center for the Arts, is named in honor of Charles and Reta Ralph in recognition of their generous and continuing support of opera at Colorado State University. The Ralph’s benevolence provides programmatic support and professional development opportunities, as well as a broad scholarship support system for students studying vocal performance. Auditions for the Ralph Opera Center are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to all CSU students. Read more.

The Ralph Opera Center performs two fully staged productions with orchestra each semester, as well as multiple opera scenes programs, spanning the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Past presentations include: Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, Benjamin Brittin’s The Rape of Lucretia, Verdi’s Falstaff, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Mozart’s Magic Flute, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Domenico Cimarosa’s Il segreto matrimonio, Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience, and Massenet’s Cendrillon.

About Tiffany Blake

Praised by Opera News Online for her “…truly virtuoso performance….immaculate tone, good support and breath to spare.”, soprano, Dr. Tiffany Blake, received her DMA in Vocal Performance with a minor in Opera Stage Direction from the Eastman School of Music, where she also earned her MM and was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She received her BA from Sonoma State University in Northern California.  In 2009 Dr. Blake was one of twelve interns chosen from applicants across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the prestigious NATS Internship Program. Read More.

About Wes Kenney

The 2007 Grand Prize Winner of the Varna (Bulgaria) International Conducting Competition, Wes Kenney is now in his tenth season as Music Director of the Fort Collins (Colorado) Symphony. Named in 2004 to an additional post as Music Director of Opera Fort Collins, he currently conducts three professional operatic productions as well as numerous orchestra concerts and dance performances each season throughout Northern Colorado. Read more.

The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society.

For more information, visit UCA.Colostate.edu.