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CSU Ralph Opera Center Presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Patience”

250px-Patience_Bunthorne_and_JaneBunthorne’s Bride Takes the Stage at CSU

The Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center at Colorado State University, along with the CSU Sinfonia Orchestra, presents Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan on Nov. 8, 9, and 15 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St.

Tickets are $10 for CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $20 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787) or online at Youth tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office. Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

Heavy sighs, unrequited love, a hero’s ridiculous vow, and a group of silly maidens – the perfect combination for any Gilbert & Sullivan opera. Premiering in 1881, Patience (also called Bunthorne’s Bride) portrays the absurdity of love and the over-the-top aspects of the aesthetic movement of 1870’s and 80’s England.

This comic opera in two acts, tells the light-hearted tale of the rivalry of two poets fighting for the affection of a fair maiden, and the zany twists and turns that make this show a classic Gilbert and Sullivan production. Patience, a milkmaid who loved a poet as a girl, refuses to marry him now because she believes he is “too perfect.”

The production is directed by CSU faculty Tiffany Blake and conducted by CSU and Fort Collins Symphony maestro Wes Kenney.

“Gilbert and Sullivan productions are so comical, it would be difficult to go to one of their shows and not like it,” says CSU opera director Tiffany Blake.

Patience, the sixth of 14 shows produced by the duo, is not performed as often as their other well-known shows, like The Pirates of Penzance or The Mikado, but it is considered to be one of their funniest works, and can be appreciated by a modern audience.

“People who come to see this show will be able to draw parallels between the stereotypes in the show and the stereotypes they have experienced in their own lives,” said Blake, who contemplated modernizing the show and portraying the aesthetic poets as misunderstood misfits, the officers as football players, and Patience as a sorority girl.

But Blake explains that this show is so well crafted and so fitting for the time period in which it was written, she decided to keep it in its original era.

Although this show is being performed by CSU’s Ralph Opera Center, Gilbert and Sullivan productions can often be closer to a musical theatre show, rather than an opera, because of the dialogue separated by lighter musical numbers that often have audiences walking out of the theatre humming a familiar phrase.

“It is a gem,” said Blake. “I think this show challenges people’s ideas of what opera is – and the sillier it can be, the more fun we can have.”

Gilbert and Sullivan shows are known for their comedic, satirical content in which “topsy-turvy” love stories develop, and everyone, against all odds, falls in love despite the most ridiculous of circumstances. Their shows poked fun of other artistic movements of the time – like the aesthetic poet movement in Patience.

A popular movement at the time the show was written, Aesthetics prided themselves on criticizing art, culture, and beauty. Never the sort to follow trends, Gilbert and Sullivan enjoyed poking fun at art and music through their own shows that were ridiculous simply for the sake of being ridiculous.

“I enjoy making fun of art sometimes and having fun with it – we often take ourselves too seriously! Classical music can be fun!” said Blake.

If you enjoy sharp wit, biting satire, and great music, you will love this light opera.

About the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center

The Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center, housed at the state-of-the-art University Center for the Arts, is named in honor of Charles and Reta Ralph in recognition of their generous and continuing support of opera at Colorado State University. The Ralph’s benevolence provides programmatic support and professional development opportunities, as well as a broad scholarship support system for students studying vocal performance.

The Ralph Opera Center performs two fully staged productions with orchestra each semester, as well as multiple opera scenes programs, spanning the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Past presentations include: Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, Benjamin Brittin’s The Rape of Lucretia, Verdi’s Falstaff, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Mozart’s Magic Flute, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Domenico Cimarosa’s Il segreto matrimonio, and Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow. Read more.

Auditions for the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to all CSU students. Read more.

The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society. During the 2013-2014 season, the UCA celebrates its fifth anniversary and features several celebratory events that highlight connecting our campus and community with impactful arts.

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