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IU Arts Festival

WTIU, in conjunction with the Indiana University Jacob's School of Music, is offering three performances from the 2011 Opera and Ballet Season.

A scene from the IU Opera Theater's performance of La Boheme.

Enjoy two operas by Giacomo Puccini and a ballet by Tchaikovsky from the 2011 season of Opera and Ballet performances at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Suor Angelic/Gianni Schicchi
Sunday, July 15 at 10:30pm

The mood will transition from tragic beauty to lighthearted farce at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s presentation of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, two one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924).

The two operas are the second and third in a trio of one-act operas known as The Triptych, which depict contrasting paths to heaven and hell. The trilogy debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918.

Set in a 17th-century convent, Suor Angelica is a tale of loss and repentance and was Puccini’s favorite of these three works. The popular Gianni Schicchi, the composer’s only farce, is set in 13th-century Florence, Italy, and is a tale of greed and conniving based upon Dante’s Divine Comedy.

The operas were sung in Italian with English supertitles. Stage direction by James Marvel with set and costume design by Jacobs School of Music Professor C. David Higgins.Conducting is Jacobs School alumnus Andrew Altenbach, principal conductor of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.

La Boheme
Sunday, July 22 at 11pm

Enjoy the grandeur of 19th-century Paris with this 2011 performance by Indiana University Opera Theater of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème.

The IU Opera production of one of the most popular operas of all time was first unveiled in 2007. It features cutting-edge sets by Jacobs School of Music master designer C. David Higgins on three intricately detailed, newly refurbished rotating stages, offering a visual experience equal to the music itself.

The sets include chimneys that smoke, windows individually lit in each of the many buildings and posters tacked to the walls drawn from actual advertisements displayed during the era. In Act II, which takes place at the Café Momus and the surrounding square, there will be nearly 90 people on stage in Higgins’ original costumes, evoking the setting in a manner not previously seen in opera.

Professor David Effron, chair of the Jacobs School Orchestral Conducting Department, conducts the story about a group of young Parisians who, despite their financial distress, seek artistic expression, laughter and love. Mimi is a seamstress living in the same building as Marcello, a painter, and Rodolfo, a poet. On Christmas Eve, Mimi’s candle goes out, and she seeks a light from Rodolfo. Thus begins this tender love story.

The Sleeping Beauty
Sunday, July 29 at 10:30pm

With a mix of original and updated choreography set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score, the new Indiana University Ballet theater production is sure to cast a spell on audience members — and is sure to be different with each viewing.

That’s because Michael Vernon, chair of the Jacobs School of Music’s Ballet Department, has highlighted the university’s depth of talent by casting different dancers in several of the main roles for each of the ballet’s three acts, including the principal role of Princess Aurora.

The ballet tells the story of Princess Aurora who — cursed by the wicked fairy Carabosse but guarded from death by the Lilac Fairy’s gift — pricks her finger on her 16th birthday and falls into an enchanted sleep until she’s awakened by the kiss of a prince.

While much of the original choreography by Marius Petipa for “The Sleeping Beauty” has been passed down over the years — including Princess Aurora’s first dance, which Vernon describes as “iconic and gorgeous” — Vernon has created some new choreography for IU Ballet’s production.

The set, designed by C. David Higgins, is the last created before his retirement after more than 40 years serving as master scenic artist at the Jacobs School of Music. Known for his Italianate painting style, Higgins was referred to by “Opera News” magazine as one of the finest American scenic artists today. Guest conductor is Stuart Chafetz, who will direct the Jacobs School of Music Concert Orchestra in their performance of Tchaikovsky’s score.

Indiana Public Media is a producer and distributor of public media from WFIU Public Radio and WTIU Public Television at Indiana University including your favorite programming from NPR and PBS.


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