A night at the opera with Rowan’s production of “La Favola D’Orfeo”

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Twenty musicians crowded the compact Boyd Recital Hall stage to perform a rendition of “La Favola D’Orfeo” Monday under the direction of Dr. Lourin Plant.

The event, which started at 8 p.m., drew students and faculty alike — filling about half of the auditorium inside Wilson Hall.

While the attendance was lower than expected by Plant, he remained optimistic about future performances.

“We usually have the opera in April and a full house, but by pushing it to March, it seems we lost some of our audience,” Plant said. “Not too worry, we’ll get them all back next semester.”

Senior accounting major and Students of Caribbean Awareness President Ikenna Odoemena attended the concert in support of his professor, Plant, and to receive credit for his music appreciation class.

“I’ve seen him perform at the Rosa Parks luncheon, and I loved it,” Odoemena said. “This is my first concert with him, so I’m excited to see that.”

Plant sang several pieces in the concert and narrated portions of the opera. While the performance was sung in Italian, senior music education major Anisa Adkins provided translated subtitles on the projector so audience members could follow.

“It’s pretty exciting to hear about some of the music we learned about in class, actually performed live,” Adkins said.

The ensemble started practicing last month, when they received the music. The group practiced individually during that time. For Plant, the most demanding part of the production was getting all the parts together and getting performers to play as a cohesive unit.

One special aspect of the show was the orchestra’s incorporation of the old instruments that were played during that time. After the show, Plant invited audience members to stay and look at the instruments.

The Italian opera is centered on Orfeo who loses his wife, Euridice, and travels to the underworld to bring her back. La Favola D’Orfeo is considered one of the first operas, it debuted in 1607 and was written by composer Claudio Monteverdi.

Senior music and psychology major Quinton Lewis played the lead of Orfeo.

“We had a very fine Orfeo, very sophisticated,” Plant said, regarding Lewis. “We were really lucky to have to Quinton [Lewis]. He’s been a blessing.”

Lewis performed in several operas prior to La Favola D’Orfeo. For Lewis, the most taxing part of the production was grasping the old music.

“It’s really old music so the harmonic structure doesn’t make sense to anyone with a western ear,” Lewis said. “You really have to go back and make sense of that time.”

Other cast members included: Kelly Freno as Euridice/La Musica and Steven Solkela as Caronte/Plutone/Apollo.

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