TAMIU Opera Workshop Performances Feb. 22-24

TAMIU Opera Workshop
Takes on Cavalli Feb. 22-24

Jessica Cardenas and Debbie Hernandez
L to R - Jessica Cardenas as Mirinda and Debbie Hernandez as Erisbe

Enjoy a night at the opera with the second annual student opera performance at Texas A&M International University Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. or take in a matinee on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ Recital Hall.

Admission is $7.50 for adults and $5 for students.

The TAMIU Opera Workshop will perform “L’Ormindo,” an opera in two acts by early Baroque composer Francesco Cavalli with realization by Raymond Leppard.

Mariko Morita, TAMIU visiting assistant professor of organ and accompanist, will perform Cavalli’s orchestration on the TAMIU Sharkey-Corrigan Organ.

“The original storyline of Giovanni Faustini’s Italian libretto takes place during the times of the Roman Empire and centers around a young, beautiful Moroccan queen who is bored in her marriage to the country’s elderly king and becomes involved with two foreign princes, Ormindo and Amida, at the same time,” said Dana Crabtree, TAMIU voice instructor and stage director.

“The two princes discover that the queen is deceiving both of them. To further complicate matters, Amida’s former jilted love interest, a princess from another kingdom, arrives on the scene with her entourage, disguised as Egyptian fortune tellers, to track him down,” Crabtree added.

The version that the TAMIU Opera Workshop will perform will take a contemporary form.

“Our production will be a modern take on this older storyline. We have updated the setting to present-day Hollywood, turning the young Moroccan queen into a young, famous A-lister actress who married an elderly entertainment mogul billionaire for his money. The characters of the two princes have also been turned into movie stars, and so on. Students will sing an English version of the original Italian libretto authored by Geoffrey Dunn,” explained Crabtree.

The updated production featuring multimedia effects brings home the universality of the opera’s themes of love, betrayal, redemption and forgiveness, making it accessible to seasoned opera goers and first-time initiates alike.  

“One interesting feature about this work, much like Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ that we performed last year, is that it falls in the genre of ‘court opera.’ Unlike the verismo operas of later centuries where retribution is paid with a realistic vengeance, court opera was written with the specific purpose of instructing the nobility on virtuous social behavior, thus salacious details of the plot are never shown, and forgiveness is paramount,” Crabtree explained.  

“The subject matter may not be appropriate for small children and younger audience members,” Crabtree cautioned.

“We are also delighted to have the unique opportunity to collaborate with visiting assistant professor Morita and show Laredo audiences the seemingly endless versatility of the Sharkey Corrigan Organ,” Crabtree said.

For more information, contact Crabtree at 326.3040 or dcrabtree@tamiu.edu or visit offices in CFPA 233A.

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu