Three Students Compose One-Act Operas

posterMarch 20, 2015 

The Illinois Wesleyan School of Music will present three contemporary one-act operas composed by music students Tim McDunn ’16 (Elmhurst, Illinois), Luke McLoughlin ’15 (Chicago) and Sam Mullooly ’16 (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin). The operas, which are free and open to the public, will be performed in succession March 28 at 7:30 p.m. and March 29 at 3 p.m. in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall.

The title of McDunn’s opera, Ex Libris, is a Latin phrase meaning “from the books,” often seen on the inside of a book to represent the owner or library. In McDunn’s opera two characters, Oswald and Athena, are teenage foster children living in a used bookstore. Ex Libris portrays their struggles to understand both each other and the outside world in relation to their world of books.

Ex Libris is intended to problematize the way an individual relates to society at large,” said McDunn. “To portray this, I have written both the music and the words in an accessible, Surrealist style that passes freely between imagination and reality.”

Ex Libris will be directed by Samantha Noga ’16 (Wheeling, Illinois). Cast members will include Kelsey Maka ’17 (Mokena, Illinois) and John McHugh ’17 (Palatine, Illinois).

Together for Warmth, written by McLoughlin and directed by Jessica Shultz ’17 (Bloomington, Minnesota) and Cortlin Presley ’16 (Antioch, Illinois) is a “musical drama” in three parts. The majority of the piece follows two pairs of people during the aftermath of a sinking ship, while the third part is meant to be a surprise to the audience.

“I admire the work of Stephen Sondheim, since he has brought musical theatre to new levels of complexity, nuance, and thus overall expressive capability,” said McLoughlin. “It is a goal of mine as a composer to attempt to continue this development.”

Cast members will include: McHugh, Tommy Bravos ’17 (Saint Charles, Illinois), Sara Caligiuri ’18 (Wheaton, Illinois), and Ainsley Klug ’15 (Glen Ellyn, Illinois).

Written by Mullooly and directed by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Robert Mangialardi, The Hunters is a comedy about four female hunters who are planning to dismantle the patriarchy.

“Working under the motto of ‘anything goes,’ we are trying to make the staging and costuming as hilarious as possible,” said Mullooly. “As a young composer, I feel as though it’s always important to try writing in new genres when presented with the opportunity.”

Cast members include: Loreto Delgado ’16 (Chicago), Becky Buechel ’15 (Joliet, Illinois), Noga, Megan Callison ’16 (Aurora, Illinois), and Jackie Klimczak ’15 (Des Plaines, Illinois).

  By Danielle Kamp ’15