PSU Faculty Recital with Emily Jaworski and Dan Perkins March 9 at the Silver Center

March 6th, 2014 by Lynn

    PLYMOUTH — Mezzo-soprano Emily Jaworski, with Professor Dan Perkins on piano, will present “The Deepest Desire” at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 9, in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts. There is no charge for admission.

    Emily Jaworski

    Hailed by Classical Voice of New England as “thoroughly delightful and a consummate storyteller, musician and artist,” Emily Jaworski is earning a reputation for excellence and constantly surprising audiences with her versatility. From Bach oratorios to the art songs of Brahms and Copland, to jazz and musical theatre, Jaworski is committed to forging a deep emotional connection with every piece she sings.

    “The Deepest Desire” is a recital program featuring forgotten works of Wolf, Debussy and Barber, as well as Jake Heggie’s song cycle “The Deepest Desire: Four Meditations on Love,” based on texts by social activist Sister Helen Prejean.

    Perkins says the texts are Prejean’s response to Heggie’s question about her own sense of spirituality and its meaning. They describe the process of examining the “deepest waters of her being to find the core of her spirituality: the deepest desire of her heart.”

    Dan Perkins

    Perkins is professor of music and director of choral activities at Plymouth State University, where he was awarded the first Stevens-Bristow Distinguished Professorship. He is founder and music director of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, music director of the Manchester Choral Society, and was principal guest conductor of the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet. He will return to Vietnam in November 2014 as conductor of the Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC) Orchestra.

    Guest artist Donna Shin will perform the flute part for the Heggie song cycle.

    Information about the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University is online at Plymouth.edu/department/mtd.

    General information about events at Plymouth State University is online at ThisWeek@Plymouth.edu, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu/.

    PSU presses cast, crew to convey themes of oppression, duty, justice and freedom in ‘Les Miserables’ production

    October 24th, 2013 by Lynn

      Photo credit: Runaway Cart, Matt Kizer Design SETTING THE SCENE: Matt Kizer said his set-design techniques and staging make use of lighting effects and illusion. “There will be a lot of scrim (pieces of gauze cloth that appear opaque until lit from behind), haze in the air and sculpting of light in three dimensions. We will be painting constantly with both light and digital projections. We need to make a deep emotional impact on the audience, with powerful visuals, but do it in a way that is like memory, or dreaming.”

      PLYMOUTH — Officials behind the Plymouth State University production of the stage classic “Les Miserables” this month are pushing actors to pursue the grittiness behind the tale of oppression, duty, justice and freedom.

      “We are not sugar coating it at all,” said Sharon Paquette, a PSU faculty member and director of the weighty musical. “Each day we realize how many of the themes in the play and novel are still plaguing our country, and we work with the students to think about that and include those thoughts process in their creation process.”

      Students in PSU’s department of music, theater and dance will present Victor Hugo’s famous story today through Sunday at the Silver Center for the Arts.

      After spending years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean is released and discovers that despite his best attempts to live a good life, it is impossible to leave his past behind. No one will hire the former convict. Against a backdrop of the revolution brewing in France, Valjean finds himself pursued by his former jailor, Inspector Javert. Honor, love and humanity are celebrated in a score that includes “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Master of the House” and “On My Own.”

      Stage Challenge

      Paquette said the production, in which all dialogue is sung, has posed a range of challenges, including getting all 37 cast members on stage for ensemble numbers and guiding students through the intricacies of music and stage movement. Paquette teamed with music director and PSU professor Kathleen Arecchi and choreographer Lisa Travis.

      Arecchi says cast members are tasked with singing high-difficulty music through wide vocal ranges while also playing dramatic situations as a variety of characters, all the while dancing and cavorting around the stage.

      Mike Dodge, a senior music major from Northwood, portrays Jean Valjean; Brad Fernald, a senior communication studies major from Hudson, is Inspector Javert; Eben Brown, a senior music education major from Dorchester, is Thenardier; Sam St. Jean, a junior theater arts major from Goffstown, is Enjolras; and Alyssa Dumas, a senior theater arts major from Manchester, is Fantine.

      Shows are 8 p.m. today, 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15-$17. Call 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869 or visit silver.plymouth.edu for details.

      “Les Miserables” takes the stage at Plymouth State University

      October 17th, 2013 by Lynn

         Presented by Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance Oct. 24–27

        PLYMOUTH — Students in the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will present a musical theatre version of Victor Hugo’s famous story “Les Miserables,” Oct. 24–27 in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts.

        The Tony Award-winning musical is the ultimate romantic story of oppression, justice, freedom, duty and longing. The Broadway production of “Les Miserables” premiered in 1987, and remains the fourth longest-running Broadway show of all time.

        After spending years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean is released and discovers that despite his best attempts to live a good life, it is impossible to leave his past behind. No one will hire the former convict. Against a backdrop of the revolution brewing in France, Valjean finds himself pursued by his former jailor, Inspector Javert. Honor, love and humanity are celebrated in the heart-wrenching finale of this mega-musical with a popular score of beautiful melodies and stirring anthems that includes “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Master of the House” and “On My Own.”

        PSU faculty member Sharon Paquette is directing the production, which she says poses a range of challenges, from meeting patrons’ preconceived expectations for this familiar show, to getting all 37 cast members on stage for ensemble numbers, to guiding students as they learn the intricacies of blending the music and stage movement. The show is sung all the way through—there is no spoken dialog.

        Paquette says that along with music director Professor Kathleen Arecchi and choreographer Lisa Travis, she is pushing the actors to find the grittiness of the story. “We are not sugar coating it at all. Each day, we realize how many of the themes in the play and novel are still plaguing our country, and we work with the students to think about that and include those thoughts process in their creation process,” Paquette commented.

        She says the students are working diligently, have wonderful ideas and are courageous. “It’s their passion,” Paquette says.

        Arecchi says cast members have tackled the challenge of singing high difficulty music through wide vocal ranges while also playing dramatic situations as a variety of characters, and dancing and cavorting around the stage at the same time. She notes challenges for fulltime students committed

        to this major musical, “of coordinating singing, acting, dancing, even just walking, and bringing all of the elements into alignment within each individual.”

        But Arecchi says, “I already hear tantalizing bits of extremely fine singing from these students, some of whom are preparing for professional careers as performing artists, some in music/opera and others in theatre and musical theatre.”

        Modern set design techniques and staging will make use of lighting and illusion.

        Set and lighting designer Matt Kizer says, “There will be a lot of scrim [a piece of gauze cloth that appears opaque until lit from behind, used as a screen or backdrop] use in this show, haze in the air, and sculpting of light in three dimensions. We will be painting constantly with both light and digital projections.”

        At the same time, Kizer says, “We have chosen to include a lot of traditional, signature elements in this show. By including them, we get to visit the way this show was originally staged.”

        Kizer concludes, “We need to make a deep emotional impact on the audience, with powerful visuals, but do it in a way that is like memory, or dreaming.”

        Costumes also revisit former productions according to costume designer Danee Grillo. She says, “My concept for this show was to take the costume elements that I loved from both the Broadway show and the movie versions of Les Miserables, and mix them with historically accurate information from my own research. I’ve compromised by keeping some of the more ubiquitous pieces—for instance, the shape of Javert’s Napoleonic military coat, and the gilt braid on Enrolras’ vest—and using my own designs for the rest.”

        Principal players in the cast include: Mike Dodge, a senior music major from Northwood as Jean Valjean; Brad Fernald, a senior communication studies major from Hudson as Inspector Javert; Eben Brown, a senior music education major from Dorchester as Thenardier; and Sam St. Jean, a junior theatre arts major from Goffstown as Enjolras. Also Alyssa Dumas, a senior theatre arts major from Manchester as Fantine; Georgia Noonan, a sophomore music education major from Raymond as Cosette; Olivia Opal, a sophomore theatre arts major from Hampden, Mass., as Eponine and Danielle Aucoin, a junior theatre arts major from Hudson, Mass., as Mme. Thenardier. Nineteen other students depict multiple ensemble roles.

        Area children in the cast are Ainsley Towers of Thornton as Gavroche, Mackenzie Jolli of Bridgewater as Young Cosette and Kayla Sassan of Meredith as Young Eponine.

        Performances are Oct. 24 and 26 at 8 p.m., Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 26 and 27 at 2 p.m.

        Tickets for “Les Miserables” are $21 for adults, $17 for seniors and $15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.

        Information about the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is online at www.plymouth.edu/mtd.

        General information about events at Plymouth State University is online at ThisWeek@PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.

         

        Trio Veritas performs at PSU Sept. 23

        September 13th, 2012 by Michael

          Trio Veritas at Plymouth State University Sept. 23, with guest artist Matthew Marsit

          September 13th, 2012 by Michael

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              April 26th, 2012 by Michael

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                February 23rd, 2012 by Michael

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