Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh yeah, we did the show and it was a big success

Just realized I never got around to updating this blog after the performances. The main purpose of this is to say that if you're interested in this performing edition (translation, orchestration, or both), feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Doctor in Prep

Over in the margin, you'll find some rehearsal photos from the past weekend. Information about the cast will follow soon [done] . . . for now, you can click on the little thumbnail slideshow, or go here to see our fabulous cast in action.

The Cast

Our wonderful cast is made up Gordon College undergraduates, with help from a few recent (mostly very recent) grads. Many of these students participated in our 2006 production of The Doctor in Spite of Himself; Baritone Kreigh Knerr as Valère, Tenor Dustin Juliano as Lucas, Bass Stephen Humeston as Géronte, Soprano Jennica Serra sang in the chorus, Soprano Ellen Sawyer played in the orchestra, and Mezzo-soprano Amy Fichera served as stage manager. Go here to see how these characters fit into the story. Go here to see the cast in action.

Sganarelle, a woodcutter:Kreigh Knerr, '09
Martine, his wife:Jennica Serra, '08
Géronte, a wealthy man:Stephen Humeston, '06
Lucinde, his daughter:Ellen Sawyer, '08
Léandre, her true love:Dustin Juliano, '08
Jacqueline, Géronte's nurse:Amy Fichera, '08
Lucas, Jacqueline's husband:Chris Zini, '10
Valère, Géronte's servant:Nate Haywood, '10
Robert, a neighbor:David Allen, '09


Catherine Hawkins
Christine Houlette
Bethany Persenaire
Evelynn Sawyer

David Allen
James Cassell
German Disla
Jakub Matczynski

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Director

Ron Luchsinger has directed a number of musical productions for Gordon College, dating back to 1994, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, Gondoliers, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore & The Pirates of Penzance, Offenbach’s Grand Duchess of Gerolstein and annual evenings of Opera Scenes. He is Director of Productions for Opera North in New Hampshire, where he recently directed productions of Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Mozart's The Magic Flute. He also serves as Artistic Director of Commonwealth Opera in Northampton, MA, where he'll direct Madama Butterfly in November. Other upcoming productions include Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges at the Hartt School.

Ron's directing career is distinguished by the wide range and diversity of his repertory. Recent productions include Puccini's La fanciulla del West, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Handel’s Agrippina, and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, as well as such standard works as Carmen, La bohème, Il trovatore, Roméo et Juliette, Paglicacci and Don Giovanni. His directing credits include productions for Syracuse Opera, Knoxville Opera, Connecticut Opera, Eugene Opera, Anchorage Opera, Abilene Opera, The Lyric Opera of Dallas, Shreveport Opera, OK Mozart Festival, The California Music Center, Jacksonville Lyric Opera and Amarillo Opera.

Well known as an educator, Ron has served on the faculties of The University of Connecticut and The Hartt School. He has also offered workshops and directed productions for numerous colleges and schools, including SUNY at Stony Brook, Baylor University and Abilene Christian College, The Oxbow School in Vermont and the Vermont Arts in Education Association. He also teaches acting and oversees a Young Director’s program at Opera North. Currently working on a book on directing opera, Ron and Gordon Professor C. Thomas Brooks have co-produced a highly respected instructional video, Singing/Acting/Surviving.

The Orchestra

Violin 1: Sarah Skinner, Dina Molla

Violin 2: Alyssa Gaul , Andrew Giebel

Viola: Mackenzie Gass

Cello: Korynne Bolt

Bass: Andrew Coulombe

Flute: Nathan Gosselin

Oboe: Rachel Wolcott

Clarinet: Joseph Valadez

Bassoon: Terry Myers

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Doctor Karaoke #6: Music is the Master of all Medicine

We should stop here to acknowledge that our production of The Doctor in Spite of Himself is being sponsored by the brand-new Ken Olsen Science Center. We'll be performing in the MacDonald Auditorium. It's a wonderful show of interdisciplinary spirit that these scientists are supporting the arts by letting us bring opera to their lecture hall and by sponsoring a theatre department production of A Number, a thought-provoking play about the ethics of cloning - and we're showing our appreciation by offering a show that makes fun of science! Hmm. But it is fun, and Molière's story is a useful reminder that science hasn't always gotten everything right.

In that spirit, we hope the scientists among us won't be too offended by the following musical suggestion:

These words are sung by a chorus of musical healers, brought in by the "doctor" to help cure the mute Lucinde. Here, Gounod intentionally adopts an old-fashioned Baroque style to suggest the 17th century context. Molière's play was almost 200 years old when Gounod and his librettists set it to music - as it happens, Gounod's comic opera is now exactly 150 years old, so all of the music may seem a bit antiquated to modern ears, but this chorus still manages to stand out as appropriately old-fashioned. The grand and stately tune also serves well as the beginning of the Overture; this recording is taken from our 2006 production.

Also, updated at the main production website.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Story

So perhaps you'd like to know what this opera is about. Here's a brief synopsis, with links to the tunes that have already been featured in karaoke.

The Doctor in Spite of Himself fits squarely in the French comic opera tradition that was mastered by Offenbach and that helped inspire the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Although Italian comic operas are generally sung throughout, the French, German, and English traditions favor spoken dialogues. In this case, all of the spoken dialogues come directly from Molière's play. The lyrics for all the musical numbers were written by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, who also served as librettists for Faust, Roméo et Juliette, and most of Gounod's other operas. Our production will be performed in English.

All the musical numbers are indicated below with bold italics. In all, there are six solo arias, two duets, one trio, a quintet (which is reprised with different words), and a sextet.

First of all, here's the line-up of characters (and they are characters):

SGANARELLE, a lumbering brute of a woodcutter
MARTINE, Sganarelle's longsuffering wife
GÉRONTE, a wealthy man with an unmarried daughter
LUCINDE, Géronte’s daughter
LÉANDRE, Lucinde's true love
JACQUELINE, Géronte’s nurse
LUCAS, Géronte’s servant & Jacqueline's husband
VALÈRE, Géronte’s servant
MR. ROBERT, a nosy neighbor

(Go here to see the cast list.)


Act I

Scene 1 - a forest, somewhere near the border of Vermont and Quebec

Sganarelle and Martine argue violently in a spirited duet. Their neighbor, Robert, tries to intervene. Though Sganarelle apologizes, Martine sings of her desire for vengeance. Lucas and Valère, servants of Géronte, arrive in search of a doctor to help heal Lucinde, who has lost her speech. Martine decides to use the men to her advantage and tells them her husband is a great doctor who will only admit to his skill after being beaten severely. Lucas and Valère find Sganarelle singing lovingly to his bottle, and they "persuade" him to help them in a spirited trio. Before our story leaves the forest, we see some of Sganarelle’s fellow woodcutters singing about their lives and attracting the interest of country maidens.
Scene 2 – in and around Géronte’s house

Léandre is heard singing a serenade to his beloved Lucinde, much to the consternation of Géronte who wants to marry his daughter to the wealthy Horace. Lucas and Valère excitedly announce that they’ve found a doctor, although Jacqueline sings that girls should be allowed to marry for love. Sganarelle is brought in and, after being somewhat distracted by the nurse, he delivers an impromptu diagnosis of Lucinde’s problem in a rousing sextet. All are amazed.
Act II

Sganarelle receives praise and payment for his efforts and sings enthusiastically about being a doctor. After learning of Léandre’s interest in the girl, Sganarelle has the young man return in disguise with some musicians to sing for the patient; Lucinde hums along. Léandre, now disguised as a pharmacist, tries his hand at helping some country folk with a sick relative. Sganarelle, after a bit more flirting in duet with the nurse, introduces Léandre as his pharmacist. The sudden return of Lucinde’s speech ends up enraging Géronte in a frantic quintet. Sganarelle sends her off with the “pharmacist,” only to have Lucas reveal that Sganarelle has helped the young lovers run away. Just when it looks as if things will end badly for our doctor, Léandre returns with good news.