CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In 1980, a young Austin Peay State University music student named Lisa Conklin-Bishop performed the part of Hansel in the University’s staging of German composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s famous opera, “Hansel and Gretel.” The work, a powerful folk opera with lush orchestration and tuneful melodies, was extremely popular with Clarksville audiences.
Conklin-Bishop now serves as the director of Opera Theater at APSU, and this weekend she hopes to recreate the success of some 33 years ago with the University’s revival of “Hansel and Gretel.”
The opera, based on folk tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, opens at 7:30 p.m. on April 20, with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on April 21, in the Music/Mass Communication Building’s Mabry Concert Hall. APSU undergraduate student Erin Keas will play the part of Hansel, while graduate student Anna Atwater will take on the role of Gretel. Recent APSU music department graduate Karen Crow will play the witch.
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 Symphony serves as the pit orchestra for each performance.
“It is the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I get to do every year just because there are so many diverse forces involved in this,” Dr. Gregory Wolynec, APSU professor of music and the symphony’s conductor, said.
The collaboration also extends to other areas of the creative arts on campus. APSU theater students helped with makeup and APSU art students helped paint the set, which was designed by Kyra Bishop, Conklin-Bishop’s daughter. Ralph Conklin, Conklin-Bishop’s father, actually built the sets.
Tickets for “Hansel and Gretel” are $8 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.