WFU to present world premiere of nineteenth century salon opera

By Cheryl Walker
March 21, 2005

The music department at Wake Forest University will present the world premiere of "L'isola disabitata," a salon opera by Manuel del Pópulo Vicente García (1775-1832) on April 7-8 at 8 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall.

The performances are free and open to the public.

Teresa Radomski

Teresa Radomski

Composed in 1831, the opera was never published or performed. Teresa Radomski, professor of music at Wake Forest and singing director of the production, transcribed the original manuscript. James Dodding, professor of theater at Wake Forest, is the opera's stage director.

"After countless hours spent deciphering García's manuscript, it is tremendously exciting to finally hear his music come to life!" Radomski said. "And, it is especially gratifying to me that the very first public performance of this delightful opera will be given by my voice students, and directed by James Dodding."

"L'isola disabitata" (The Uninhabited Island) is one of five salon operas that García composed for his voice students in Paris to prepare them for operatic careers. Salon operas feature a small number of singers with piano accompaniment, making them suitable for a chamber setting.

Based on a libretto by Pietro Metastasio, the one-act opera is written for four singers and piano.

García's music is highly demanding, requiring a wide vocal range," Radomski said.

Two Wake Forest music students, Amanda Castellone and Christopher Magiera, will perform leading roles. Two Wake Forest graduates, Mary McElwee Mendenhall and Ricardo Gómez, will perform the other two leading roles. The opera's piano score will be played by Thomas Turnbull, Wake Forest music department staff accompanist.

For information, contact Teresa Radomski at 336-758-5370.

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