UM opera program makes finals in national competition

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

The University of Montevallo’s opera program recently was named a finalist in the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition.

Dr. Charles Wood, an associate professor of music and opera, said the program submitted a taped scene from composer Ambroise Thomas’ “Hamlet.” The scene featured UM students Nidia Riley, Devin Burton and Marie Brewer in the acting roles, while UM professor Dr. Laurie Middaugh was the pianist.

Wood, Middaugh and the students will travel to Portland, Ore., in January to perform the scene live at the finals.

“I was very proud,” Wood said of his reaction to the news.

Wood said UM was in a tough category this year because two of the three students were older than 23.

“I told them due to the ages, we would be in the upper category for graduate students,” he said.

The UM students are all undergraduates, and Wood said he was pleased they successfully competed against graduate students across the country.

This is UM’s second consecutive submission and invitation to the competition’s finals.

Wood said he is thankful for his colleague’s and the administration’s support of the opera program.

Next up for UM’s opera program, however, is Opera Scenes on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Opera Scenes features students performing scenes from various operas.

Riley, Burton and Brewer will perform “Hamlet,” which is a dramatic scene, but Wood said the rest are “pretty light-hearted comedic scenes, for the most part.”

Students will also perform two scenes from “Albert Herring,” which will be performed in full in the spring.

Wood said about 15 students will perform, from beginners to experienced perfomers.

“You’re seeing students in their first stages,’ he said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking for all of us.”

Opera Scenes will be held at LeBaron Recital Hall Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.