Opera Creations presents “The Princess and the Pea”

On Saturday, July 31, at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Opera Creations presented its debut production: The Princess and the Pea, an operetta featuring an energetic cast of young adults ages 12 to 16. The performance was the culminating event for students who enrolled in a month-long opera workshop with the company, and a chance to show their parents and friends how much they have accomplished. The cast of 16 delivered an impressive performance that was cheerful, extremely theatrical and wonderful to listen to. Each singer absolutely shined on stage.

 

Though they had only one week’s staging time (with three weeks of personal coaching, improvisational workshops and choral rehearsals leading up to the show), these ambitious singers rose to the challenge of mastering Arthur Sullivan and William S. Gilbert’s musical score, performing with the confidence of seasoned professionals. The operetta, based on the Hans Christian Anderson’s story, tells the tale of a long-lost princess who must prove that she’s of royal blood by passing both a physical inspection and a “sensitivity” test. Abigail Hart, performing the part of the young princess, was a fantastic lead with graceful stage presence and a soaring voice.

Founded in April, 2010, Opera Creations is dedicated to teaching the skills needed to excel when performing classical opera, offering voice lessons, one-on-one coaching and workshops focusing on stage craft. The company, created by Timothy Wilds, Karen Svites, Simone Vigilante and Vance Reese, strives to “share musical expertise through entertainment and education and to create opportunity for local performers.”

“This is the first time we’ve done this and it has been an honor to watch these young people work at a professional pace,” said Svites before the performance this morning.  Each of the founding members of the company shared teaching responsibilities. “We compliment each other well,” said Svites. Wilds was the stage director and conductor for the show while Vance helped students with “quality assurance,” teaching them to match vocal notes with piano tones. Vigilante offered voice lessons and Svites took on the role of choreographer for the show. “Together,” continued Svites, “we work to instill a habit [called] knowing your music, while having fun.”

 

 

The talented cast included:
Abigail Hart, Pansy the Princess
Ghilman Brock, George, Pansy’s adopted father
Kate Sorrells, Fanny, Pansy’s adopted mother
Katie Walton, Gwladwys, “an opportunistic old biddy”
Hannah Procida, Charlotte, Gwladwys’ daughter

Pansy’s close friends:
Meghan Decker, as Maisie
Natalie Owenby, as Daisy
Gabe Gibson, as Rowan
Timothy Bates, as Robin

Nat Conti, King Edward
Evangeline Wilds, Queen Margaret
McLain Rose, Royal Margaret
Jessica Savitt, Royal Examiner

Princess Prospects:
Marta Bloemsma
Shannon Hill
Amelia Wilds

 

Videos and photos by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

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About Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
Aiyanna grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was educated at The Cambridge School of Weston, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oxford University. Aiyanna lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she proudly works for Mountain Xpress, the city’s independent local newspaper.

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