What’s opera doing in the 21st century theater curriculum? At Westmont College, quite a lot. On Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday, February 28-March 3, the school will present a double feature of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Rossini’s The Marriage Contract at the New Vic in downtown Santa Barbara. The production is directed by John Blondell from the theater program and Michael Shasberger from the music department and features undergraduate students in all the roles. The challenges to both students and faculty are considerable, and the rewards are immense. Last year’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute featured an abundance of imaginative staging ideas and inspired performances; this season promises more of that, plus an interesting new approach to The Marriage Contract that comes out of the cast’s classroom discussion.
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