UT students portray characters from Mozart's classic opera

Collin Kasefang (left) and Ashlee King (right) are members of UT's student opera organization VolOpera. The undergraduate students of VolOpera performed the centuries-old opera "The Marriage of Figaro."

UT’s student organization VolOpera performed “Le Nozze di Figaro – The Marriage of Figaro” on Thursday, bringing the centuries-old story back to life.

This comedic opera, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, follows a pair of star-crossed lovers in Spain: Figaro and Susanna. As Figaro and Susanna fall in love, they also fall into a web of relationships and schemes.

The students who performed in the 90-minute production were undergraduates in voice. Often, the performers switched roles so that they could each practice their art.

President of VolOpera Ashlee King, a senior studying music, said that the goal of the organization was to give young performers a chance to perform -- and see exactly how productions are made.

“One of the most incredible aspects of our show is that all performers are undergraduate students, which we believe showcases just how talented and smart young performers can be,” King said.

Vice President Ellen Sudarshan, a senior studying music, was one of the students portraying Susanna. She said that it can be difficult for undergraduates to land big roles -- but that programs like VolOpera make it happen.

“Because our opera department includes graduate students, it’s very rare that undergraduates get to perform roles on stage in front of an audience. VolOpera gives us that chance!” Sudarshan said.

Every scene received a large round of applause for the talented students and orchestra -- and a couple of laughs as the cast acted out the opera’s comedic moments.

King said that she had hoped that the audience could laugh at and relate to the colorful characters of the production.

The performance had some narration here and there to set the scene as well as to fill in some gaps that were left due to the condensing of the opera -- Mozart’s original opera was over four hours long.

The performers sang in both English and Italian. Sudarshan said that she believed it was a wonderful way to make opera more accessible to a modern audience, and that she hoped it would introduce more people to the opera and to its genre.

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