Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Not Over Until the Fat Lady Sings - or Dies

First row (L-R): Maribel Montgomery, Dylan Brooks, Kayla Brown, KayC Wilson, Kristen Pickren, Mark Lawson, Vinny Edwards, Whitney West, Terri Greene.
Back row (L-R): Steven Beam, DeLucus Moore, Wes Seabolt, Alicia Duncan, Meggan Pierce.

Report by Shirley Dillard

MCHS Choral Students Re-enact Operatic Death Scenes

Madison County High School choral students were treated by Georgia Public Broadcasting to free passes to see the "Live from the Met" broadcast of Manon Lescaut at a local theater. Relative novices to the world of grand opera, the students commented on the length of time the heroine, dying of thirst on a plain in Louisiana, was able to sing. Their director Shirley Dillard capitalized on their interest by creating a project that timed the dying scenes of heroes and heroines in opera. Teams were instructed to find a synopsis of an assigned opera to find out who died, how and why they died. They then listened to the death scene and timed how long it took the character to die. The students arrived at a subsequent class ready to "die as their character died" for the above photo.

The mortally wounded characters, the means of their death and the length of their death scene in the first row (L-R) are Isolde (broken heart, 23 mins. 2 secs.) with Tristan (sword fight, 3 mins. 25 sec.); Suor Angelica (poison, 3 mins.); Manon Lescaut (dehydration, 20 mins.); Silvio in Pagliacci (stabbed, 40 secs.); Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites, (guillotined, 9 mins. 41 secs.) In the back row (L-R) are Werther (self-inflicted gunshot, 13 mins. 19 secs.); Carmen (stabbed, 1 min.); and the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, (immolation, 32 secs.).

And the winner is…. (drum roll, please)…. Isolde, who takes a full three minutes longer to die than does Manon Lescaut.

Project Description

From the Metropolitan Opera website:

The Met’s experiment of merging film with live performance has created a new art form,” said the Los Angeles Times of the groundbreaking series of live, high-definition performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world. The series enjoyed box office success, reaching an estimated audience of more than 325,000 viewers. In 2007-08, the Met offers its second season of international HD transmissions…

Click here for more information on the Metropolitan Opera.

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) shared a set of 10 tickets for each of the Met’s High Definition performances at selected theaters with interested Georgia music educators and their students. The Georgia Music Educators Association through the current Chair of Choral Music ( Renee Wilson-Wicker) collaborated on the coordination of this opportunity.

It allows the Georgia educators and students to benefit from a project that combines the best resources of one of America’s finest cultural institutions with new technology.

Participation in the project supports the QCC Fine Arts Standards and GPS Viewing Standards.

Click here for more information on the Georgia Music Educators Association.

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