Along with Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, the Genesius Guild season features an opera in partnership with Opera@Augustana June 10, 11, 17 and 18.
“Selections from Menotti” will include “A Menotti Festival,” “A Hand of Bridge,” “The Telephone” and “The Old Maid & the Thief.” This music was chosen because it is well-crafted and memorable. It is also written in English, making it easy to understand. The Guild’s first opera in 1973 consisted of two works by Gian Carlo Menotti.
All Genesius Guild performances begin at 8 p.m. on the stage at Lincoln Park, 38th St. and 11th Ave. in Rock Island.
The opera selections will feature Augustana alumni, students and staff. Alumni will include Kristan Mitchell ’94, who teaches music at Central Community Schools, and Jon Schrader ’93, recently seen in Augustana’s “Titanic: the Musical.”
Mitchell Carter ’14, a band teacher at Frank L. Smart Intermediate School, will play in the orchestra along with Michael Wahlman ’95.
Emmalynn Tully ’17, in her third summer on stage with Genesius Guild, will be the K-4 general music teacher in the Sherrard Community School District this fall.
Tully looks forward to working with music of a familiar composer and making people laugh.
Many times people think of opera as … European, but in my time working with this company I have had the opportunity to sing wonderful music composed by American composers,” she said.
Current student Victoria Kleeman ’18, who is studying music therapy and psychology, also will perform in “Selections from Menotti.”
This production will also feature orchestra members and production staff from the college. Augustana faculty involved in this production include Dr. Timothy Bloser, philosophy, joining the cast; Andy Gutshall and Ellen Dixon, theatre arts, doing scenic design and costumes; music faculty Janet Stodd ’73 and Margaret Ellis ’93 in the orchestra; and voice instructor Dr. Michelle Crouch as the music director.
Doug Tschopp, director of the Entrepreneurial (EDGE) Center at the college, is Genesius Guild’s executive director. The EDGE Center’s assistant director Andy Shearouse ’15 will be doing the lights for the opera production.
Founded in 1956, Genesius Guild produces works designed to give audiences an easy acquaintance with the classics. Productions are financed through audience contributions and support from businesses and granting organizations.
Don Wooten, founder of the company, said working with Opera@Augustana has kept the opera at the Guild going when it was starting to fade.
“Augie’s music program produces many talented musicians, a number of whom continue to reside to the area, allowing us to pursue operas of any size,” he said.
Twenty years ago, operas at the Guild were an integral part of an annual nine-day Mozart Festival. For this to be revived, Wooten said, would entail cooperation among Augustana, St. Ambrose University, and the Genesius Theatre Foundation, all under the umbrella of Opera Quad Cities.
Connor Kealey, manager of performance tours and arts promotion, 309-794-7323