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APSU Opera Theatre and Orchestra present "La Cambiale di Matrimonio" on April 11-12

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Opening this weekend at Austin Peay State University is the APSU Opera Theatre’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s farce “La Cambiale di Matrimonio,” paired with a prologue entitled “Reflections on Modern Relationships: A Montage of 20th and 21st Century Songs.”

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Opening this weekend at Austin Peay State University is the APSU Opera Theatre’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s farce “La Cambiale di Matrimonio,” paired with a prologue entitled “Reflections on Modern Relationships: A Montage of 20th and 21st Century Songs.”

The University’s opera performance is a major event each spring because the concert is a large collaborative effort between different areas within the APSU music department. The cast includes vocal performance majors, while the APSU orchestra performs in the pit under the direction of (APSU professor music and symphony conductor) Dr. Gregory Wolynec.

“It’s a total student production, as far as performers both in the pit in the orchestra as well as on stage,” Lisa Conklin-Bishop, director of opera theatre at APSU, said. “We do a spring production every year, and we like to go all out with a combined performance.”

A performance in two parts, the opera offers two views on relationships: the first being a prologue which offers a contemporary take on relationships featuring songs from a variety of time periods, styles and mindsets. The second part is a period piece opera that offers a historical perspective on the same timeless issues.

The two acts are tied together by setting the prologue at a theatre that is performing Rossini’s opera, “La Cambiale di Matrimonio,” in which the performers play the parts of operagoers.

Featuring unique production design, the stage creates a theatre space in which “Cambiale” is taking place within a small dinner-theatre style opera house -- complete with a grand drape and elevated stage. Kyra Bishop, Conklin-Bishop’s daughter, designed the set. Ralph Conklin, Conklin-Bishop’s father, built the sets.

“The performers (in ‘Cambiale’) will be in full period costume, while the people performing in the modern reflection will be sitting in front of the stage, watching as our ‘on-stage audience,’” Conklin-Bishop said. “As the modern people come in to take their seats (for the show), we’ll get to hear their inner thoughts on relationships as well.”

“La Cambiale di Matrimonio” was Rossini’s first professional opera, written in 1810, when he was just eighteen. The story offers a comic view of marriage in the 18th century. Rossini’s work is an early example of an era in operatic history known as bel canto, or “beautiful singing,” in which voices display technical agility and virtuosic skill.

The opera itself is entirely in Italian, and Conklin-Bishop said that that presents a challenge that will allow the ensemble to demonstrate their abilities on the biggest stage of their season.

“We chose ‘Cambiale’ because it was a work that matched the capabilities of our cast, as well as working with the collaboration between myself and Dr. Gregory Wolynec,” Conklin-Bishop said. “This has been a challenge for our students preparing (for an operate entirely spoken in Italian.) The audience will also enjoy that they can follow (the performance in English) using supertitles above the stage.”

The opera opens at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on April 12, in the Music/Mass Communication Building’s Mabry Concert Hall.

Tickets for “La Cambiale di Matrimonio” are $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for APSU students with a valid I.D. For more information on the show, contact the APSU music department at 221-7818.