By Jane Suttmeier
Opera Workshop, a vocal performance club, has started rehearsals for their February 2014 performance of Stephen Sodheim’s musical, “A Little Night Music”.
Professor of Music Jason Hiester and Tim Veach, the Artistic Director and the founder of Columbus Dance Theatre, are heading the production. Stephen Sondheim wrote both the music and the lyrics based on the film “Smiles” of “A Summer Night”, by Ingmar Bergman.
“A Little Night Music” is set in Sweden in 1900 and follows the escapades of three couples.
Junior Gabe Incarnato, a music major who normally sings bass, is singing baritone-tenor for this production and said it is the hardest music he has learned to date. Incarnato is cast as lawyer Frederick Egerman in the production.
Junior Brianna Robinson, a vocal performance major, is playing Mrs. Nordstrom, a character that narrates the show with four other singers as the “Liebslieders.”
Robinson also said the music in the show is difficult, which she attributes to Sondheim’s technique.
“There are many key changes and somewhat unnatural melodies,” she said. “But even with this, the music is very beautiful and structured in a wonderful way.”
The cast has already started rehearsals and will rehearse throughout the fall for a February opening. Sophomore Hannah Simpson, who will play Charlotte, said she is glad the company is starting rehearsals early “because the music is very complex.”
Like Incarnato, she is switching vocal range for the show.
“Not only is my character’s vocal range much lower than what I am used to singing, (but) the music itself is also some of the trickiest music I have ever encountered.”
Simpson said she is excited to perform in a Sondheim show at OWU.
“I am a huge fan of Sondheim,” she said. “His music is brilliant, intricate and clever, and I am so fortunate that I get to perform his music.”
Sondheim’s work has won an Academy Award, eight Tony awards, eight Grammy awards and a Pulitzer Prize. His most famous pieces as a composer and lyricist are “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Company,” “Follies,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Into the Woods.” Sondheim also wrote the lyrics for the popular musicals “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.”
Robinson said she is happy to be on a stage performing at OWU this year.
“I could spend the rest of my life singing, acting and dancing on a stage,” she said.
Although the performance is months away, the cast has already begun picking their favorite songs.
Simpson said her favorite is “Everyday A Little Death,” which she will perform as Charlotte.
“It’s tragic, beautiful and unsettling all at the same time,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to performing it.”