CMU Opera To Put On H.M.S. Pinafore

In Victorian England, one of the established mores was the separation of social classes. Writers and composers Gilbert and Sullivan chose that unwritten taboo to parody in their opera H.M.S. Pinafore, to be presented from Thursday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 19 at Central Methodist University.

The CMU Opera Program’s production will begin on at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, plus a 4 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 19) matinee, in CMU’s Little Theatre. The cast and musicians are under the direction of Dr. Susan Quigley-Duggan, associate professor of music and head of Central’s opera program.

H.M.S. Pinafore was Gilbert and Sullivan’s fourth collaboration and remains one of their most popular operas. It debuted in England in 1878 and ran for 571 performances with mirth and silliness to spare.

Tickets can be bought in advance or at the door for any performance for $8 for adults, $5 for CMU faculty and staff, and $2 for CMU students with identification. To reserve seating, call Lynette Beeler at 660-248-6317.

The story centers on the forbidden love of the ship’s captain’s daughter, Josephine (Anna Kay, senior music major from Boonville) and a lowly sailor, Ralph (Dan Terry, senior music education major from St. Charles).  As Josephine is socially higher than Ralph, any marriage would be disparaged by society.

Likewise, her father, the highly-ranked Captain Corcoran (Dan Jones, senior music major from Fayette), commander of the Pinafore, is in love with “Little Buttercup” (Britney Kelcher, recent CMU graduate from Fayette), who sells trinkets to sailors; that love seems also doomed.

To complicate the plotline, Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter (Tom Arnold, CMU adjunct professor of music), has chosen Josephine to be his bride – a move to which she is adamantly opposed. Highlighted with secrets and unexpected phrases that open closed minds, along with fun music and high comedy, H.M.S. Pinafore is delightful in all respects.

H.M.S. Pinafore also features DaSean Stokes (senior music major from St. Robert) as Boatswain; Malik Hughes (sophomore music major from St. Joseph) and Gannon Craig (junior music education major from Salem) as carpenters; Josh Goggin (junior music education major from Fayette) as Dick Dead-Eye; Kay Wilken (junior music education major from Cole Camp) as Cousin Hebe; and Susan Bishop (senior music education major from Fayette) as Second Cousin.

Other cousins, aunts and sailors include Nicole Milovich (sophomore music education major from Catawissa); Emily Day (junior music education major from Wellsville); Catherine Barnard (freshman nursing major from Columbia); Denise Weigand (senior physics major from Weatherby);

Cori Bryan (freshman music education major from Springfield); Rachel Martin (freshman music major from Richland); Leah Trammel (senior music education major from Union); Erica Isaacs (junior music education major from El Dorado Springs); Turner Austin Smith (freshman music education major from Centralia); Taylor Perry (freshman music education major from Centralia); Keaton Denny (freshman music education major from Cole Camp); and Aiden Smith (senior music major from Fayette).

The instrumentalists include Dr. Dori Waggoner, CMU associate professor of music and dean of the Swinney Conservatory, on flute; Mikaela Lewis (sophomore music education major from Harrisburg) on flute; Kaitlynn Gebhardt (senior music education major from Columbia) on flute; Adam Christal (sophomore music education major from Boonville) on clarinet;

Matt Johnson (junior music education major from Pacific) on clarinet; Rowan Hynick (sophomore music education major from Marshall) on bassoon; Katelyn Hanvey (senior music education major from Centralia) on trumpet; Kody Bartel (sophomore music major from Yorktown, Va.) on trumpet;

Branden Wiesehan (sophomore music education major from Villa Ridge) on percussion; Ted Spayde, 1970 CMU graduate from Fayette on bass; and Mary Jane Nance, collaborative pianist at CMU on piano. The set design is by Greg Owen, CMU assistant professor of theatre and communications; and the costumes are by CMU’s Terri Rohlfing of Fayette.

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