February 8, 2018
The studio’s steampunk rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream features students from a collaborative apprentice program.
by Caroline Love
Audrey Davis '17 (as Titania the fairy) and guest artist Heather Weirich (in her own clothes as Oberon) practice a scene for A Midsummer Night's Dream in dress rehearsal. Photo by Glen E. Ellman
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Topics: College of Fine Arts
by Caroline Love
The entire TCU Opera Studio will perform Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an opera by Benjamin Britten, Feb. 9-11.
David Gately, the director of the opera studio, said he chose the show in order to have as many students involved as possible. Everyone, from freshmen to alumni, is cast in the show. This includes the four artist diploma students participating in the Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artist Program with the Fort Worth Opera.
Bronwyn White rehearses as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The wardrobe for the opera is steampunk-inspired. Photo by Glen E. Ellman
The three year music program prepares students for a concert career. Apprentices studying opera at TCU perform with the Fort Worth Opera at least three times a week and do TCU shows in the morning.
Bronwyn White, one of the apprentices, said they also perform at underserved schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to fulfill an education grant for the Fort Worth Opera. “We’re very much a community outreach group,” White said. She said she does vocal training and understudies performers in productions at the Fort Worth Opera for the apprentice program.
White said she loves fantasy and now rehearses daily for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The comedy focuses on the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens to the Queen of the Amazons. The popular work also includes young Athenian lovers and other characters controlled by fairies.
“It’s funny, and charming and heart-warming,” Gately said. “It’s one of the wittiest of the Shakespeare plays.”
Participating music students have varying levels of experience. Gately said he casts everyone and “mixes them all together” so they can learn from each other.
Ben Smith plays Peter Quince, a carpenter, in the show. The sophomore music education major with a concentration in vocal said he enjoys working with people with professional opera experience. “I’m very honored to be here.”
Gately said the apprentices who already have professional experience bring something extra to performances. “They know how inventive I want them to be,” he said. “They bring it.”
Gately also said the hands-on performances benefit all of the singers in the opera. “Watching the students improve is just overwhelming,” he said. “Anytime you get up on that stage, you get self-confidence and a realization of what it actually takes to do what it is we’re all doing.”
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