UNT to present world premiere of 'Lost' opera Feb. 6

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Denton, Texas seems like an unlikely location forthe world premiere of a "new" opera written by a Swiss composer froma novel by Oscar Wilde, but that event will take place Feb. 6 (Friday) at theUniversity of North Texas.

The opera "Dorian Gray" was adapted in 1948 from Oscar Wilde'snovel by Swiss composer Hans Schaeuble (1906-1988) but was never performed.

Dr. Timothy Jackson, UNT associate professor of music theory, found the workin the archives of the Schaeuble Foundation in Zurich. Jackson obtained performancerights and funding from the foundation and delivered it to UNT Opera TheatreDirector Paula Homer who has assembled a cast of more than 30 singers.

The one-night-only staged concert performance is Feb. 6 (Friday) at 8 p.m. inthe Winspear Performance Hall of the Murchison Performing Arts Center, locatedat the corner of Interstate-35 East and North Texas Boulevard. Parking is availablein the Fouts Field lot on North Texas Blvd.

Tickets cost $15 to $20 and may be reserved in advance by calling the box officeat (940) 369-7802. Major credit cards accepted. The box office is open from 1p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before curtain time.

The performance will feature the full UNT Symphony Orchestra, under the directionof Dr. Stephen Dubberly, music director of UNT Opera Theatre. In order to placethe orchestra on stage with the singers, to ensure a top-quality recording ofthe event, the stage settings minimally suggest the different locations. However,the drama of the opera is fully realized through the acting and costuming.

"Dorian Gray" will be sung in German. Translations will appear in supertitlesover the stage.

The title role of the dissolute, murderous aesthete Dorian Gray will be sungby tenor Brian Nedvin, a professional opera singer with an impressive list ofcredits in opera houses in New York City, Washington, Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Cleveland,Arizona, and Dortmund, Germany, as well as others. He is a native of New YorkCity and Southfield, Mass., and is pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree atUNT where he is also a Teaching Fellow.

Baritone John Sauvey of Fort. Worth will sing the role of Lord Henry, an aristocratic dandy who is attracted to Dorian. His other roles at UNT and elsewhere have included the Count in "The Marriage of Figaro", Dr. Falke in "Fledermaus", Sharpless in "Madama Butterfly", Papageno in "Magic Flute" and the title role in "Gianni Schicchi". He has also sung with Fort Worth Opera, Lake George Opera, Lyric Opera of Waco, and Amarillo Opera.

Brian Shadowens, a baritone vocal performance student at UNT who hails from Humble and Fort Worth, will sing the key role of Basil Hallward, who painted the portrait of Dorian and is killed by Dorian. Shadowens' resume includes several major baritone roles at UNT, and in Italy, the Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. They include the Don in "Don Giovanni", Germont in "La traviata", John Proctor in "The Crucible", Marcello in "La boheme", and the Mandarin in "Turandot".

Joplin, Missouri, soprano Karen Kanakis, a professional singer pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree at UNT, will sing the role of Sibyl Vane, an actress, who poisons herself after being dumped by Dorian. Kanakis' most recent triumph was the title role in "Lucia di Lammermorr" at UNT.

Other key cast members are Laurie Spohn as Olivia, Jennifer Beckman as Frau Vane, Sybil's mother, Dorian's servant David Wood, Basil's servant Jong-in Kim, tenor soloist (offstage) David Portillo, and Dan Collins as haushofmeister. In addition, 25 chorus members who also double as lords and ladies will sing offstage taunting Dorian.

Sean Tribble designed the Victorian England costumes. Lighting is by Paul Cathey and Mecca Inc. of Dallas built the sets.

Note to Reporters: For interviews, contact :
Paula Homer at (940) 565-4654 or (940) 484-7591, or by e-mail at phomer@music.unt.edu
Stephen Dubberly at (940) 369-7707 or (940) 536-1122, or by e-mail at dubberly@music.unt.edu (fluent German, Italian, French)
Tim Jackson at (940) 565-3748 or (972) 931-2359, or by e-mail at tjackson@music.unt.edu (fluent German)

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108