Simpson opera ready to hit high note


by Alex Kirkpatrick, Digital Editor

In a double bill of Ravel’s “L’enfant et les sortilèges” (“The Child and the Magic Spells”) and Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” Simpson College Opera is set to shine.

Performances will be Oct. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. in Pote Theatre. Musical direction will be by Bernard McDonald, stage direction by Kyle Lang, scenic and lighting design by Alan C. Edwards and costume design by Jess Guthrie.

Starting in the summer, students rehearsed three to four hours a day to prepare for the production, in addition to a couple extra hours rehearsing roles, according to junior Brandon Douglas.

“The show has definitely been a long journey,” Douglas said. “I’m most excited for everything to come alive and for all the energy to be there on opening night. I feel like there will be a presence from everyone.”

Ravel’s opera follows the journey of how a once-naughty child who never listened to his mother turns his ways to become a caring person.

In Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” a comic farce, the Donati family mourns the passing of their patriarch, Buoso. The family, however, gets caught up in a series of shenanigans after they discover Buoso has left his fortune to a monastery.

Junior Haley Stamats, who served as the production’s stage manager and assistant director, said the show has run smoothly compared to previous years.

“We got our staging done in time, and we got our music done in time, so that was really great,” Stamats said. “I think the plots are interesting and also funny, so it’s going to be great to have the

combination of both. They both have their dramatic parts but they also have their comedic parts.”

Stamats said seeing opera provides a medium to experience the art form.

“I think opera, in general, is a great way to experience the human condition,” she said. “The stories that we’re telling were composed 100 years ago, but they’re still relevant today.”

She explained the parallelism between Syrian refugees and the refugees in Ravel’s piece.

“The refugees are sad they lost their home, but they know they have to move on,” Stamats said.

“Kyle’s done a great job working with the staging and everything,” Douglas said. “I think people are going to enjoy that.”

For tickets and information, go to

Announced earlier this year, the spring production, according to the website, will be Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” on Feb. 26, 27 and 28. Musical direction will be by Bernard McDonald and stage direction by Bruce Brown.