School of Music to Present Two Operas

March 28, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Music will present the opera Dido and Aeneas and the student-directed opera J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata from March 31 to April 3 in the Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington).

The event is free and open to the public.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 31; at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2; and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 3.

One of the first authentically English operas, Dido and Aeneas tells the story of the Queen of Carthage, Dido, and her despair over being left by her lover and Trojan hero, Aeneas. Music for Dido and Aeneas is by Henry Purcell with libretto by Nahum Tate. Illinois Wesleyan alumna Nancy Steele Brokaw ’71 is the dramaturge for Dido and Aeneas. “Tate’s powerful words and Purcell’s moving melodies call us into an old story, one that we have seemingly always known, and retell every generation,” Steele Brokaw said.

Bach was inspired to create Coffee Cantata in response to the 18th century furor over the drink. Many countries once placed a high tax on the item, while others forbid their citizens to drink coffee, uncertain of possible negative effects. Coffee Cantata tells the story of a girl – a coffee drinker – whose father attempts to make her stop drinking it by refusing to find her a husband until she does.

For additional information, contact the School of Music Office at (309) 556-3061.

Dido and Aeneas

Cast Members: Cassie Coglianese and Hannah McCoy* (Dido), Nicole Schneider and Melissa Adamson* (Belinda), Holly Haines and Suzanne Whitney* (Sorceress), Hayley Koch(Witch), Anne Chapman (Witch), Cassidy Campbell (2nd Woman), Jack Hanlon and Mark Koester* (Aeneas), Peter Moeller (1st Sailor), and Jon Smith (Mercury).

Chorus: Ryan Woodall, Michael Hansen, Akash Bhatia, Joe Lewis, Lauren Timmons, Meagan Melloy, Hayley Koch, Hayley Robinson,  and Ashleen Davey.

Director: Bob Mangialardi

Music Director: Susan Kotzbach

Coffee Cantata

Cast Members: Jonathan Smith and Peter Moeller* (Narrator), Michael Hansen and Ryan Woodall* (Schlendrian), Megan Melloy and Lauren Timmons* (Liesgan).

Director: Suzanne Whitney

Music Director: Susan Klotzbach

*Indicates performing for Thursday and Saturday performances

Contact: Kasey Evans ’12 (309) 556-3181