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Miami vocalists to perform Ghost Stories

Music inspiring a feast for the senses

By Jeanne Harmeyer, College of Creative Arts

Miami University Department of Music presents Ghost Stories, an evening featuring two operas including Gustav Holst’s Savitri, and The Medium, by Gian Carlo Menotti. Performances are March 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Gates-Abegglen Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts.

The production features a cast of Miami student vocalists, a live chamber orchestra, and an appearance of "The Chorus of the Dead," performed by members of the Miami University Choraliers, directed by William Bausano.

Stage direction is by Leland Kimball, an award-winning visiting artist who previously directed Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring at Miami in 2014. Ghost Stories is conducted by Benjamin Smolder, associate professor of music and director of the opera program at Miami University. Smolder also serves as the National Director for the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition.

Savitri and The Medium were written in close proximity to two catastrophic world wars and the omnipresence of death accompanying them. Holst’s opera premiered in 1916, and The Medium reached the stage and even television right after WWII. Menotti was inspired by a real-life seance he attended in 1936 near Salzburg, Austria, where a baroness sought to contact her dead daughter, Doodly.

“Curiosity about life after death and the possibility of “other realities” have long sparked our collective imagination,” said Leland Kimball. "Music lends itself to portraying sensations that cannot be seen or touched,” he said.

The production team includes Lisa Hasson, vocal coach; Rob Holland, lighting design; Issac Ramsey (’06), set design; Joy Galbraith, costume design; and Alex Lusht, sound design.

The William E. Schmidt Foundation serves as sponsor for Ghost Stories as well as the season sponsor for the Miami Opera program.

Show tickets are $15 Adult, and $10 Student, with a special buy-one, get-one free discount price for students who purchase their tickets before March 1, available at the Miami University Box Office.

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