After more than 30 years as Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Opera and guest conducting across the country, James Caraher now relies on his vast expertise to prepare the next generation of opera talent—students.
Caraher, who joined the Butler Opera Theatre as Music Director in January, has opera students preparing for the upcoming “A Night at the Opera” performances, March 27-29 at the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.
Show times are March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and March 29 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and students. Tickets and more information are available at schrottcenter.org. The program is below.
The performances join the opera theatre and Butler Symphony Orchestra for an unamplified, live musical journey through contemporary and historical opera.
Carissa Riedesel, a graduate student in her final year of the Master of Music in Voice Performance program, will perform an aria as Sesto, a revengeful and hot-headed young man from the Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt), and a comedic scene as Despina, a snarky maid who claims all men are the same—useless—from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.
Riedesel said getting to perform in the Schrott Center with a live orchestra is a valuable experience for singers in the program. The opportunity to spend time developing her characters and then to bring them to life onstage with an orchestra has provided “a vivid glimpse into professional life.”
Thomas Studebaker, Director of the opera theatre, said he offers all seniors and graduate students the chance to perform an aria with the orchestra. The experience is advantageous for Butler students thanks to the small size of the program.
He hopes to grow the number of professional performance opportunities for Butler opera students in the coming years. The goal: to hold an opera performance each semester, including full operas and scene performances.
But the dream doesn’t end there. For opera students to gain realistic performance experience, there must be “butts in seats” to provide a live audience to engage with, Caraher said.
With soulful American tunes, vengeful Italian arias, and hilarious comedies about unrequited love, he encourages people from Butler and the surrounding community to give “A Night at the Opera” a chance and support the student singers armed with only their voice and expression, not even a microphone.
“It’s music theatre,” Caraher said. “Everybody thinks of oversized folks with horns on their heads screaming, but that’s not the case. It’s vocal music, orchestral music, drama, and theater. It’s many art forms in one big package—there is something for everybody.”
BUTLER OPERA THEATER SCENES PROGRAM
Overture from Guillaume Tell (Gioacchino Rossini)
Act I Trio from L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)
L’angue Offeso from Giulio Cesare (G.F. Handel)
The Trees on the Mountain from Susannah (Carlisle Floyd)
Act II Trio from Così fan tutte (W.A. Mozart)
Sous le dôme épais from Lakmé (Leo Delibes)
Donde lieta usci from La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)
Evening Prayer duet from Hansel und Gretel (E. Humperdinck)
Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns)
Three Little Maids from School from Mikado (Sir Arthur Sullivan)
Quanto è bella from L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)
Finale from Mitridate, Re di Ponto (W.A. Mozart)
Vilia from Die Lustige Witwe (Franz Léhar)
Act III Quartet from La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)
Ach, ich fühls from Die Zauberflöte (W.A. Mozart)
Act III Trio from La Rondine (Giacomo Puccini)
Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)
Va, pensiero from Nabucco (Giuseppe Verdi)