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UNM Opera Theater to present opera scenes

Daniel Yzquierdo and Elsa Mota star in a University of New Mexico Opera Theatre excerpt from “West Side Story.” (Courtesy of Liz Rincon)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico Opera Theatre will unleash its fall program of opera scenes at Keller Hall with selections by Mozart, Verdi and Leonard Bernstein this weekend.

Twenty-two singers ranging from freshmen to graduate students will sing snippets from “The Barber of Seville” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” and give a nod to Shakespeare with “West Side Story” and “Macbeth.”

In another tribute to the Bard, the singers will perform “Brush Up on Your Shakespeare” from “Kiss Me, Kate,” as well as “Maria” and “I Feel Pretty” from “West Side Story.” A sextet from “Falstaff” is also on the menu.

Performing individual scenes instead of whole operas gives every student a chance to sing a principal role, producer and stage director Sam Shepperson said.

“The music is amazing and for younger singers that are starting up, it’s not quite as heavy as learning to sing Verdi,” he said. “Mozart and Rossini are kind of the staples for college programs.”

All of the students were cast by audition. Their majors range from music performance and education to computer science. Kristen Ditlow is the music director.