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Opera echoing in Storrs of tragedy

By Joseph Kirschner
On November 11, 2012



A large crowd filled Storrs Congregational Church Sunday to watch the UConn School of Fine Arts and UConn Opera Theater present Arthur Miller's "The Crucible."

An authentically dressed cast performed the story about suspected witchcraft in Salem Massachusetts in 1692. 

The story was played with the focus on the puritan religious background used in the story, which was exemplified in the church. 

"I've never been to one of these shows before. It's really pretty in the church and its appropriate because the opera is centered around religion," said Karina Mayall, a 1st-semester student. 

Depicting an epic performance of the play, UConn Opera Theater made the show come alive with their professional quality skills in singing and acting. 

"I think it's a very interesting take on such an old story. Hearing music with it brings a new light on how people view the story," said Lindsay Cabaniss, a 3rd-semester vocal performance major. 

Bringing in a diverse crowd, the members of the audience such as Ken Johnson a chorus and general music teacher at Mansfield Middle School, were able to reminisce teaching some of the members of the cast. 

Charles Eaton, who played Thomas Putnam and Spencer Hamlin who played Judge Danforth were both members of Johnson's class when they were in middle school. 

"Its good to see my former singers making it big," Johnson said. 

 Although performing in the church did not seem to be every audience member's ideal viewing spot for the production that did not stop the opera theater from putting on such a great show. 

"I really like the acoustics in the church. I think for what it is the show is well done for what we had," Cabaniss said.  

"It's a good show. I think it would be better on a stage," Allan Guillotte of Danielson, CT said. 

Despite having the performance being played in the Storrs Congregational Church, it did not take away from the quality of the performance itself. 

"I really enjoyed it, they did a really good job," Jennifer Wanner a 6th- year PhD student for music history and theory. 

"The church has beautiful acoustics," Wanner said. 

Although some audience members had opinions about the location of the performance, there has been growing speculation that there needs to be a specific building to be constructed for the music departments use only. 

"There's no good venue for them to do opera. We need a new auditorium for that." Wanner said. 

Every scene was a lively experience and grabbed the crowd's attention because of the cast's obvious high standards for professional quality. 

"The show was a culmination of talent hard work and dedication, and it showed. It was simply amazing," said Catherine Fahey a 5th- semester vocal performance major. 

"My favorite part overall was that we all got into the mood of The Crucible rather than just putting a show," said Ellen Antes a 5th- semester vocal performance major who played Martha Sheldon. 

When asked about his favorite part of the play, Matt Burke who played Giles Corey said, "working with the high level of professionalism and musicality of each member of our talented cast." 

"The play itself, The Crucible is a very challenging production but a rewarding undertaking," said Burke. 

The crowd was very pleased at the end of the performance as they showed by clapping and cheering constantly for an extended period of time as the cast bowed multiple times to accept their applause. 

With the proud look on each of the cast members faces as they accepted their well-deserved applause and bowed with the pianist and conductor at the final bow. 

"I thought it was great. It looks like they all had a good time," said Agnes Serafini of Wethersfield Ct. 

The next production by UConn's Opera Theatre will be "The Magic Flute" in the spring of 2013. 



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