Over the last 19 years, the BYU School of Music has presented several operatic world premieres. This spring, the School has another rare opportunity to introduce a new opera to its university and community audiences. The School will present the The Lost Children of Hamelin, written by former BYU student Jamie Erekson and directed by School of Music professor Lawrence Vincent, Jun. 6-11 at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall.
“During the career of any opera director, it is rare to have the opportunity to collaborate with a living composer,” said Vincent. “It has been my pleasure to share Jamie’s vision and to be an instrument in the realization of this opera.”
Staged in 1295 in the village of Hamelin, Germany, the opera tells the story of the Pied Piper eleven years after the 130 children went missing. As a girl stumbles into town, she sets into motion a series of events that reveal the true identity of the piper and the fate of the lost children.
“With the birth of any new work, there are changes, compromises and challenges for composer, director, performer and production team,” commented Vincent. “All have worked tirelessly, enthusiastically and with one purpose: to see this opera receive its well-deserved successful debut as a new twist on an old tale.”
Vincent graduated from BYU with the intent of teaching but through a series of events was led to an opera company in Europe. After touring Europe for 15 years, Vincent returned to BYU as a professor.
The production has been a collaborative effort for Erekson and the School of Music. Unlike most operas, it features crossover elements to musical theater, including cinematic effects and spoken dialogue. Erekson worked on the opera for more than one year writing the libretto and music with productions by musical theater companies and opera companies in mind.
Erekson’s contagious energy and passion have inspired the creative team, the crew and the cast members to share his vision and create what you will experience.
“What I love is having this vision and then giving it to thirty other people and then it becomes so much greater than it ever could have been,” Erekson said.
The opera is accompanied by a 34 person orchestra conducted by former BYU student Nathan Haines. During his time as a student, he was part of the BYU Chamber Orchestra where he performed in several major cities in China as part of their overseas tour. He was also the section leader of the BYU Wind Symphony during their tour of Northern Europe. Haines has conducted both the University Orchestra and University Strings at BYU.
The cast includes Dru Daniels and Chandra Pack as Anna, Solomon Reynolds and Jordan Reynolds as Josef, Elise Read as Frau Lange, Tyrell Wilde and Isaac Carlin as Heilein, Brennon Nelson as Rattenfanger and Hannah Moore as Gretel. Member of the octet include: Anna Hawkes, Kyra McClellen, Elisabeth Coleman, Alicia Fairbanks, Ben Bird, McKay Elwood, Cameron Mayo and Braden Rymer.
The production team includes Nathan Haines as conductor, Julianne Francisco as production stage manager, Bradlee Hager as scenic designer, Michael Handley as lighting designer, Jaynanne Meads as costume designer, Marnee Porter as makeup and hair designer, Cortnie Beatty as assistant makeup and hair designer, Adam Millet as sound designer, Nicolas Guisti as orchestration advisor, Barbara Allen as vocal coach, Michelle Papenfuss and Debbie Robertson as accompanists, Sherry Copischke and Nicole Schofield as assistant stage managers and Travis Coyne as technical director.
Tickets are $6 (Wed-Thurs) and $10 (Fri-Sat). Tickets can be purchased in person at the BYU Ticket Office in the Harris Fine Arts Center or Marriott Center, by phone at 801-422-2981 or online at byuarts.com.
See behind-the-scenes photos of the cast and rehearsals below.