Friday, June 20, 2008


Tonight was the first night of Operafest at Mary Washington, an event we look forward to every year. The concert features professional singers and talented students who participate in an intensive five-week opera workshop at the college, and this recital is the culmination of their work. This year’s singers are a particularly strong group, with some really outstanding voices. The first half of the approx. 2-hour program features scenes from 8 different operas, including some “greatest hits,” like Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Puccini’s La Boheme, and Massenet’s Werther. Following an intermission, the company performs Puccini’s one-act opera, Suor Angelica.

We are by no means huge opera fans, but we do enjoy it from time to time, particularly the more accessible, melodic pieces, and especially in the small doses you get at Operafest. Opera is an acquired taste, and if you’re on the fence about it, Operafest is a good way to do a little sampling, without committing to sitting through an entire full-length opera. And each scene is described in the program, so even though you won’t understand most of the words, you’ll get an idea of what’s going on.

The program was directed by Jane Tavernier and Kathryn Ahearn, vocal instructors at the college. As always, I was interested in What Jane Wore: a long, red satin sheath with spaghetti straps, overlaid with intricate black beadwork, and with a flounce of black lace at the bottom.

Operafest will be performed again tomorrow night at 7:00 pm in Dodd Auditorium. Free admission.

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