The department of music and dance’s Opera Workshop program will present a double bill of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and Maurice Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortilèges” on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium.
Both performances will feature two complete one-act operas performed in English with orchestra.
Written in the early 1680’s, “Dido and Aeneas” is the story of a doomed love affair between Dido, queen of Carthage, and Aeneas, the prince of Troy, and based on Virgil’s telling of the story in “The Aeneid.”
Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortilèges” (“The Child and the Spells”) was originally conceived as a ballet, but evolved into a “lyric fantasy opera” with libretto by the famed French author, Collette.
The production’s guest director is Dustin Wills, a New York City-based theater and opera director and former artistic director of the Yale Summer Cabaret. His recent opera directing credits include Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” with Yale Opera and Cavalli's “L'Egisto” with the Yale Baroque Opera. His “Frontieres Sans Frontieres” at the Bushwick Starr Theater was named one of the Top Ten Theatrical Productions in 2017 by New York Magazine.
Music direction for the February performances is by Mark Lane Swanson, director of instrumental music at Amherst College, with musical preparation by Marjorie Melnick, UMass Amherst voice faculty.
Tickets are $15 for the general public and $5 for students, seniors and children through age 18. UMass students are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 413/545-2511, or online at www.fineartscenter.com/musicanddance.