Two Dramatic Operas Being Performed in One River Campus Event


River CampusCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 4, 2013 — Two dramatic one-act operas, “Dido and Aeneas” and “Suor Angelica,” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

Both operas will be presented on both nights. They will be performed in English and with an orchestra. The event will open with “Dido and Aeneas” and, after a brief intermission, will conclude with “Suor Angelica.” The two plots will span approximately two hours.

“Both have unique musical qualities,” said Chris Goeke, chair of the Department of Music. “These are short operas that have so much packed into them, so you get a lot out of going to see them.”

Henry Purcell’s masterwork of the Baroque era tells the tragic love story of the early opera, “Dido and Aeneus,” which is based on the “Iliad,” the classic story by Homer. For this opera, a Greek chorus is used. In a Greek chorus, members speak in unison, sometimes to provide commentary to the audience and at other times to engage with the principles on stage; they constantly transition between these roles of narrator and actor.

“This adds an interesting element to the show. People will enjoy it both from the storyline and from a historical perspective,” Goeke said, adding, “‘Dido and Aeneas’ is a fantastical story with soldiers, royalty, a sorceress, witches and the Greek chorus.”

Giacomo Puccini’s lush Verismo style captures the ambiance of “Suor Angelica,” the uplifting tale of a miraculous vision. The opera is performed with a modern orchestra, and its instrument and musical writing style is lush and romantic.

“The style of ‘Suor Angelica’ is what people traditionally associate with opera, which includes a full sound with soaring and striking melodies,” Goeke said.

In this opera, dramatic tension is created by a life-changing family situation. This conflict comes into full strength as Sister Angelica confronts her aunt, the princess, played by Department of Music faculty member Leslie Jones.

“This high drama creates very real emotions; it is a powerful moment in this opera,” Goeke said.

Amy Fritsche of the Department of Theatre and Dance will assist with choreography, and local artist Craig Thomas will contribute to the production in painting the scenery. Tim Schmidt of the Department of Music will conduct the orchestra.

“It is really fun and interesting to collaborate with these different artists,” Goeke said. “These are miniature masterworks of the operatic literature, and it is our privilege to bring them to life.”


Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651–2265. Tickets may also be purchased online at