Vermillion student to appear in USD opera

Vermillion student to appear in USD opera Gretchen Burbach of Vermillion will be cast in Henry Purchell's English Baroque opera, Dido and Aeneas, to be performed Feb. 28 and March 1 at The University of South Dakota.

The production will also include the USD University Choir, the USD Chamber Orchestra, and USD Professors John Thomson and Richard Rognstad.

Burbach, a senior music performance and music education major in the College of Fine Arts at USD, is the daughter of Anthony and Marlys Burbach of Vermillion. She has appeared in three USD plays. She was cast as "Suzanna" in the 1996 production of the Marriage of Figaro; "Latitia" in The Old Maid and the Thief in 1997; and "Miss Silverpeal" in The Impressario in 1998. She also played "Sara Brown" in the Vermillion High School production of Guys and Dolls in 1993 and "Brooks" in the Vermillion High School play Makin' It in 1995.

Performances are 8 p.m. in Slagle Hall Auditorium Sunday, Feb. 28 and Monday, March 1 in Epply Auditorium in Sioux City. USD Professor Linell Gray Moss will conduct the performance, with lighting, costume design and stage direction by Ken Oakley.

USD History Professor Clayton Lehmann will open the performance with a pre-opera talk entitled "Offend the Gods and Love Obey." Admission is $5 for the general public, $3 for senior citizens and students, and $2 for USD students with a student ID.

The opera is called a "choral opera" because the chorus dominates the opera, taking several character roles throughout their 14 choruses. The performers are witches, sailors, courtiers, and often, like the chorus of ancient Greek theatre, comment upon the actions of the characters, using foreshadowing, irony and empathy.

Thomson and Rognstad will perform on the violin and the cello, respectively.

Dido and Aeneas, an English Baroque opera written by Henry Purcell in 1689, is based on the mythological story recounted by the Roman poet Virgil in his epic poem Aeneid (1st Century A.D.).

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