Simpson music department to present humorous double bill

by Amy HaugeStaff Writer

Simpson’s music department will present a double bill of two-one act opera shows this fall: Prima Donna by Arthur Benjamin, and Il Campanello (The Night Bell) by Gaetano Donizetti.

The double bill opens on Friday, Oct. 10 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. The show will also have a 7:30 p.m. showing on Saturday Oct. 11 and a matinee on Oct. 12 at 2:00 p.m. All performances will take place in Lekberg hall.

The fall production is under the musical direction of Professor of Music Robert L. Larsen, and the stage direction of Kimberly Roberts and Bruce Brown, assistant professors of music.

The Operas were selected because they happen to be two of Larsen’s favorites. He said he is excited to have them preformed here at Simpson.

Larson is especially excited to perform Prima Donna, which he has conducted in the past with the Des Moines Metro Opera and is pleased to have the chance to bring it to Simpson.

The first show on the bill, Prima Donna is a bit of a farce of Venice, Italy of the 1930’s, which is where it is set.

“This show [Prima Donna] is very humorous that ends with a love story,” says Brown.

Prima Donna is a story about a poor Venitian man named Florindo (junior Chris Carr) and his adventure to please his rich uncle (senior Nathaniel Schmidt), in the hopes of earning his inheritance. Schmidt’s character, the count, has sent Florindo a letter stating that he is arriving within the hour and expects a night’s stay and entertainment from the famous prima donna, La Filomela. Adventures ensue which include a letter, battling chorus divas and the ultimate question, does Florindo get his uncle’s inheritance?

Students in the show are looking forward to the production.

“This show is very twisted, but really funny,” Bethany Hickman, sophomore, who also plays Bellina, said.

While Prima Donna seems to be all about money, Donizetti’s “Il Campanello” is about love, of sorts.

The show is about a newlywed couple ready to celebrate their first night together. However, right before the couple retires, Serfina’s (senior Shannon Prickett and senior Evelyn Rosow) cousin (senior Jesse Stock) shows up in multiple disguises throughout the night in an attempt to prevent the couple from sleeping together in the hopes that he himself will seduce the bride for himself.

The show, while funny is also somewhat serious.

“Il Campanello is a melodrama,” Brown said.

Cast members agree that both shows are sure to offer the audience a good laugh.

“Both shows are a lot of fun,” Carr said. “The audience should come prepared to laugh.”

Like all Simpson student productions, the opera is free to Simpson students, faculty and staff, and the cost for the general public is $12.00 . However, seating is limited and advanced tickets are required.

Tickets can be reserved by contacting the Simpson music office in the Amy Robertson Music Building or by calling 515-961-1637.