Student-written opera premieres later this month

Student-written opera premieres later this month

by Betsy KnudsenStaff Writer

On March 28, “Wonderland the Opera” comes to the Simpson College stage as a student written, student performed twist on the familiar tale “Alice in Wonderland.”

Senior Eric Michael Martin composed the opera based on Lewis Carroll’s tale.

Martin is a vocal performance major, but his main interest is in music composition.

“I have several stories that I thought would be exciting if brought to life in an operatic way,” Martin said. “This story is to me, a coming of age story about finding oneself and about defending one’s self from outside influences.”

According to Martin, he created a work that reflects this theme while remaining both familiar and exciting.

This particular story has been turned into more than two operas already, but each musician has given it a new twist.

The adventures of Alice’s dreamland continue as Martin writes using familiar characters such as the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts.

According to sophomore Ben Klaus, who will play the role of Mad Hatter, it is neat to be in a student-written opera.

“My favorite part of doing this is the glory and the fame,” Klaus said. “It’s funny. Come see it.”

The cast of the opera and the members of the orchestra consist of music majors and those involved in music activities.

This opera will be open to the public with free admission on Saturday, March 28 at 7 p.m. There will also be a public rehearsal at 2 p.m. that afternoon.

According to Martin, he has always had an interest in composing and finally decided to create a larger piece of work. He thought a one act opera would be an excellent project.

Martin is in charge of music coaching and will also perform in the opera as a member of the trio that sings the part of the Cheshire Cat.

Junior Rachel Gull is in charge of stage direction. Gull worked with Martin as a librettist to take out as many drug and sexual references as possible.

Along with Martin and Gull, senior Carl Rowles will be conducting the orchestra and singers.

According to Martin, the creation of each character in a contemporary music style was a great learning experience, which will help in Martin’s future writing projects.

Sophomore Allison Meyer plays the part of Alice. According to Meyer composing is quite a task and Martin has done a great job.

“Everyone knows the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland,'” Meyer said. “Eric has just taken the story and bumped it up a notch. I think it will be very enjoyable for the audience.”

Upon their return from a recent choir tour, the cast of ‘Wonderland’ has been working hard to prepare for the opera.

It is not often that a student composes an entire opera, vocal lines, and orchestra. According to Meyer it is a great experience that students should take advantage of.