The Akron Opera House celebrates opera in 2009-10 The Akron Opera House in Akron, IA, is pleased to announce a multi-faceted design of education and performance slated to introduce opera to the Akron Opera House and its audience for 2009-2010. This celebration of opera was designed by Mark Cline, executive director of the Akron Opera House, to feature a unique blend of music, stage, and educational workshops and events followed by full productions of well-loved opera. Through a collaboration of the University of South Dakota Music Department, Opera Iowa, and the Akron Opera House, attendees will be able to enjoy opera in all its glory. 1. What is opera? Opera is dramatic theater in which actors are professional musicians who sing the story. Opera can be tragedy or comedy, and the added dimensions of voice, orchestra, and visual art combine to create a rich sensory experience. Unlike musicals, the entire opera is sung, and based on classical music rather than popular. 2. This ambitious project begins on March 29 at 4 p.m. with a free Scholarly Presentation entitled "Opera for Everyone: A Survey of Opera Highlights From Over Four Centuries" University of South Dakota music professors, Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland and Rick Piersall, along with their students of opera, will present an engaging overview of opera history from its inception in the early 17th century through its vital, present-day existence. Live performances of many of the most famous and beloved operatic arias and scenes will serve to illustrate the development of opera as well as to enhance audience appreciation for the art form. 3. At 4 p.m. Aug. 1 the Opera House will be host to the final performance of the South Dakota Vocal Arts Festival. The music camp will take place from July 22-Aug. 1 at the University of South Dakota and will feature singers from the graduate and collegiate levels, in addition to talented high school juniors and seniors from area high schools. Singers will enjoy voice lessons and acting seminars in addition to performing in scenes from operas and musicals. 4. Dec. 5 and 6 the Akron Opera House and the University of South Dakota Music Department will present Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. This one act opera, the most popular of American operas, is performed throughout the United States every Christmas season. The work was the first opera ever written expressly for television with its World premiere on an NBC television broadcast Dec. 24, 1951. 5. "The Barber of Seville," performed by Opera Iowa, will crown the year-long design by bringing a week long residency of the Opera Iowa's Traveling Educational Troup to Akron March 15-20, 2010. This week long event has a four act delivery. Act I: This component will include a group of four neighboring rural Iowa school districts and their more than 3,000 students who will be given a half day event that includes a full grade school performance of "The Dream Fulfilled (The Saga of George Washington Carver)," a new opera for children by Michael Patterson. Commissioned by Des Moines Metro Opera in cooperation with the State Historical Society of Iowa, "A Dream Fulfilled" traces the life and career of George Washington Carver from Winterset and Indianola, IA, to the halls of Congress and the prestigious Tuskegee Institute. In addition, workshops by Opera Iowa will be scheduled into that individual school's half day and presented at their school location during this week of residency. Act II: A half day series of workshops will be presented to the Music and Drama students at The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. These specialized workshops will be directed toward the university level and will provide valuable first hand contact with the professional performers that make up the traveling Educational Troup from Opera Iowa. Act III: Select high school music students from these four school systems will have the opportunity to attend a special afternoon performance of "The Barber of Seville" performed in the Akron Opera House with an educational commentary directed to the students preceding the performance. "The Barber of Seville" will be presented by the eight members of the traveling troupe, accompanied on piano by the group's music director. This hilarious musical farce will be performed in English. Act IV: A Saturday night performance to our patrons and public will be the highlight of this week with a spectacular public performance of The Barber of Seville at the Akron Opera House.