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Squabbling sopranos and a witch who eats children will be on stage Thursday through Sunday [NOV. 10-13] for two operas in East Central University’s Dorothy Summers Theatre in Science Hall.

The ECU Opera Theatre will present “The Impresario,” a one-act comic opera with spoken dialog, followed by “Hansel and Gretel,” based on the famous fairy tale. The performances will start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for non-ECU students and senior citizens and are available at the door. ECU faculty, staff and students will be admitted free.

“The Impresario” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is based on the story of an impresario with trouble backstage – the two feuding sopranos. Mr. Scruples, the impresario, played by Barrett Glosson of Sand Springs, wants to retire from running the failing opera company.

 “His assistant tells him his contract has been renewed, but the impresario says that doesn’t matter, he’s getting out,” said Dr. Melody Baggech, associate professor of music, who directs both operas. “He’s tired of dealing with his company of actors and singers and their whims, rivalries and pretensions.”

Meanwhile, the real trouble begins when Madame Goldentrill, an aging opera star played by Sheena Stallings of Shawnee, auditions.

“She’s very flamboyant, over the top,” Baggech said.

She’s also the girlfriend of Mr. Angel, an elderly, stage-struck financier played by Joe Mohr of Sayre. She becomes angry when Angel brings in another girlfriend to audition, the aspiring opera star Miss Silverpeal,

“A catfight begins over who’s the better singer,” Baggech said.

The assistant, Mr. Bluff, is played by Jordan Myers of Sapulpa. Kelsey Molina of Midwest City portrays Miss Silverpeal.

In exchange for the impresario hiring both his lovers, Angel agrees to put up all the money the failing opera company needs. The impresario gets to retire to a farm in the country and the opera has a happy ending.

“Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck was first performed in 1893. 
Catie Caton of Sapulpa will sing the role of Hansel, and Kelsey Molina of Midwest City will portray Gretel. They play the children of a poor broom maker, Peter, and his wife Gertrude, played by Tim Long of Tecumseh and Becky Morrison, an adjunct voice faculty member. With nothing to eat, their mother sends them into the woods to pick strawberries. Their father comes home with much food, saying he sold all his brooms, and asks where the children are.

“When he learns his wife sent them into the woods, he says, ‘Oh, no – there’s an ogress in the woods that bakes children in an oven and eats them,’” Baggech said. “They go off to find them.”

Hansel and Gretel realize they can’t find their way home. The Sandman, or the sleep fairy, helps them fall asleep and the Dewman, or the dawn fairy, awakens Gretel the next morning. The children see a candy house with rows of gingerbread children forming a fence. Starving, they knock on the door and begin nibbling on the house.

That’s when the witch emerges and puts a spell on them. She releases Gretel who overhears the witch’s plan to bake them and manages to break the spell on Hansel. Together they manage to push the witch into the oven and slam the door. As the witch bakes, all the gingerbread children turn back into real children but are still asleep. Hansel recites the witch’s spell to release them and the children spring to life.

Other cast members are Jamie Davis of Ada as the witch, Danna Borntrager of Ada as the Sandman (the sleep fairy) and Abby Seal of Ada, the Dewman (the dawn fairy).               

The Gingerbread Children will be played by the Willard Grade Center’s 5th and 6th Grade Honor Choir, directed by Marlin Krause. They are Zion Archer, Olivia Beall, Brinlee Blankenship, Logan Braly, Taylor Clarke, Gillian Cloar, Madly Cummings, Kaedin Daniels, Lexie Davis, Destiny Dehart, Destiny Deroboam, Makinna Eaker, Serena Elliott, Hailey Ellis and Emma Epperly.

Others are Audrey Falkenberry, Aly Forneris, Madison Foster, Halle Goodwin, Bo Halford, Skie Hoaglin, Kortni McNutt, Maddie Manning, Anna Meyenberg, Alyssa Orey, Arren Pardue, Nodia Prien, Veronica Phillips, Emily Rhyne, Brooklyn Riley, Brianna Ryan, Taylor Ryan, Ashton Sollazo, Dustin Tidmore, Jenny Turnage and Ashlyn Winchester.

Accompanist for both operas will be Rudy Lupinski.

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