The Washington University Opera will present Stephen Paulus’ one-act opera The Village Singer at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13, in the University’s Karl Umrath Lounge.
Performances are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences. Karl Umrath Lounge is located in Karl Umrath Hall, just north of the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call (314) 935-4841.
Jolly Stewart, director of the Washington University Opera, directs the concert. John Stewart, director of vocal activities in the Department of Music, conducts.
Based on a story by Mary Wilkins Freeman, The Village Singer focuses on the character of Candace Whitcomb, a paid soloist at a New England church, circa 1900. The choir members surprise her with a party in celebration of 40 years of service, after which she finds a note left by the choir director (also her suitor) informing her that she has been dismissed and that her niece will serve as her successor. During church services the following Sunday, a defiant Candace, who lives next door to the church, loudly sings her own solo, clashing with that of her niece.
Paulus (b. 1949) is one of the most popular of contemporary American composers, with operas presented by such major regional companies as the Washington Opera and Boston Lyric Opera. The Village Singer was given its world premiere in 1979 by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, which also commissioned three other works by the composer — The Postman Always Rings Twice (1982), The Woodlanders (1985) and The Woman at Otowi Crossing (1995).
Lead roles in The Village Singer will be sung by graduate students in vocal performance in the Department of Music. Carrie Fulton (Tacoma, Wash.) sings the role of Candace. Joseph Michels (Grandview, Wash.) is the choir director. The role of the niece is sung by Megan Higgins (Nashville, Tenn.) and Clark Sturdevant (St. Louis) — who recently sang the role of Sky Masterson in the university’s production of Guys and Dolls — sings the role of Candace’s nephew.