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Students learn and entertain

Ingela Onstad, left, is Rosalinda and Lucien Daigle is Eisenstein in the UNM Opera Theatre production of “Die Fledermaus.” (courtesy of ashley dzogola)
Ingela Onstad, left, is Rosalinda and Lucien Daigle is Eisenstein in the UNM Opera Theatre production of “Die Fledermaus.” (courtesy of ashley dzogola)
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His two characters may be goofy, but tenor Lucien Daigle is thrilled to be singing the parts.

Daigle is one of 22 students who are singing in the University of New Mexico’s Opera Theatre’s production of segments of three operettas – “The Merry Widow,” “Die Fledermaus” and “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Daigle, a first-year graduate student and a voice major, has the parts of Camille in the second act of “The Merry Widow” and Eisenstein in the second act of “Die Fledermaus.”

“It’s a step forward for me, and a little more difficult than what I had been doing before as an undergraduate at the University of Denver,” he said. “I sang art songs and song cycles. Nowadays I’m picking up a lot more arias.”

Daigle attended St. Pius X High School, where he sang in “Guys and Dolls” and “Aida.”

Soprano Ingela Onstad, a UNM graduate student who is a voice performance major, is double cast in the role of Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus” with Rebecca Hellbom. Onstad grew up in Santa Fe, received her undergraduate degree at McGill University then headed to Germany, where she has been singing operas and operettas. At UNM, she has a graduate assistantship and is teaching a group voice class.

If you go
WHAT: UNM Opera Theatre’s “European Vacation from Vienna to London”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10, and 2 p.m. Nov. 11
WHERE: Keller Hall, Center for the Arts, UNM campus
HOW MUCH: $8 general public, $6 seniors, $4 students, faculty and staff at tickets offices in the UNM Bookstore and the Pit, at www.unmtickets.com, by calling 925-5858 or at the door

“We are proud to be able to put 22 singers in principal roles, with costumes from the Santa Fe Opera and with a single set built by Richard Hess, the technical director of the UNM Theatre and Dance Department,” said Leslie Umphrey, a co-director with Sam Shepperson of the Opera Theatre.

Umphrey said she and Shepperson chose segments of three familiar operettas because they wanted to present performances in English, thus making the music more accessible to audiences.

Umphrey said there also are educational reasons behind the performances – learning the vocal range, the spoken dialogue, and the choreography as well as preparing students for the Opera Theatre’s big spring production.

“Singers have to be able to move, too,” she said of the choreography.

Wendy Leverenz Barker has choreographed three numbers.

The graduate and undergraduate students in next weekend’s performances are either voice majors or music education majors with voice as their emphasis, Shepperson said.

Daigle said his participation in the operettas is helping him with phrasing, presence on stage and developing his characters’ emotional range.

“And singing this music has helped my technique quite a bit. It’s new music. It’s helping me move forward with my voice,” he said.

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