Anniversary Arias

June 1, 2009

History repeats itself: Andrew Bevan '10 and Page Stephens '09 flirt in Fledermaus, left; Ionesco's Exit the King, below, proves as relevant today as when first performed in 1962. Jianghai Ho

In April, the Duke Opera Workshop celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the production of its first complete, staged opera in ten years, Johann Strauss' popular domestic comedy Die Fledermaus (The Bat). A cast of twenty—all but four of whom were Duke undergraduates— sang the opera in English, accompanied by a small orchestra of professional musicians.

"It is extremely unusual for undergraduates to be able to experience performing in a full production of an opera with an orchestra," says Susan Dunn, professor of the practice of music and director of the workshop.

Her hope, she says, is that students "appreciate what a privilege it is to be able to perform and exactly how much thought, talent, and hard work it takes to pull off a production and make it all look easy."