(Purchase, NY) October 17, 2012.......Last year, The Purchase Opera Company of Purchase College, SUNY put on a vibrant, English language, mini production of Hansel and Gretel, the fabled German opera, composed by Engelbert Humperdinck, and based on the chilling Grimm brothers’ fairy tale.
This year, Purchase Opera will begin an annual presentation of this German classic. All of performances are fully staged with orchestra, sets and costumes. These German language performances of the captivating opera are November 16th, 17th and 18th. The cast, all with superlative voices and acting skills, includes the entire student body in the Conservatory of Music’s Voice Department at Purchase -- 37 vocalists in all. There are also English-language performances for school students.
“We took a different approach in our production,” explains Jacque Trussel, Stage Director and Chair, Department of Opera Performances / Vocal Studies. “Our witch is less menacing and more absurd. Disturbing enough to frighten Hansel and Gretel, but not so scary that the kids in the audience have nightmares when they go home. The idea is to appeal to both children and adults -- to the children in all of us.” Hugh Murphy, Director of Musical Staff for the Voice Department, and Conductor for all of Purchase Opera’s performances, will be leading the Purchase Symphony Orchestra for this production as well.
The German language performances are sponsored by the Westchester Community Foundation’s Reimss Fund, whose mission is to promote Germanic culture, including arts, folklore, language, literature, and music in Westchester. The performances at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) of Purchase College are scheduled for Friday, November 16 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00 pm. For more information go to www.artscenter.org or call 914.251.6200.
English Language Performances for School Children
As a part of Purchase College’s outreach mission there will also be three performances of an abbreviated English Language version presented to school students from throughout Westchester and Fairfield counties. Those performances are November 14th 15th and 16th at 10:00am at the Performing Arts Center. These performances, adapted and translated by Purchase Opera alumna Nadine Kulberg, are eagerly sought after by the schools and will soon be completely booked.
Purchase Outreach Educational Sessions about Opera in Westchester Schools
In addition, Purchase College is reaching out to the Westchester community by bringing informal educational sessions to children in Rye Neck, Scarsdale and New Rochelle schools on October 29 and 30th, and on November 2. Each informational session will feature excerpts from the opera performed by Purchase students Robin Clifford, Joelle Missry, Courtney Wagener and Bronwyn White, as well as teaching artist Natalie Kikkenborg who performed the Witch in Purchase Opera’s original production in 2003. The school outreach presentations are sponsored by the Performing Arts Center’s Arts in Education program.
The Department of Opera Performance/Vocal Studies in the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College is a highly selective, national award-winning program designed especially to train and mentor serious young singers in their pursuit of a career in professional classical singing and opera. The Chair of the program, Jacque Trussel, is a world-renowned operatic tenor, concert singer and award winning stage director. Since his appointment as Chair of the Department of Opera Performance/Vocal Studies in 1998, Professor Trussel and his talented faculty and staff have collaborated to create one of the finest training programs for young singers in the nation. This program is a highly disciplined and completely integrated curriculum taught with passion, commitment and caring by a faculty, all of whom were or are active, first class performing artists.
The Westchester Community Foundation is a non-profit community endowment for the benefit of Westchester County. Its mission is to develop and manage philanthropic resources, and to distribute them in a way that is responsive to donor interests and community needs. The Foundation actively promotes charitable giving on behalf of the area's nonprofit organizations. WCF is a division of the New York Community Trust, one of the largest community foundations in the country with assets of approximately $1.8 billion.
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspirations for Purchase were to combine on one campus programs in the liberal arts and sciences with conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Purchase College, SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.