Southern Illinois University Carbondale SCRC Text (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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There are Many John Owens: Just Helping Out Reward Enough : Opera Tickets Still on Sale
There are Many John Owens: Just Helping Out Reward Enough : Opera Tickets Still on Sale
TitleThere are Many John Owens: Just Helping Out Reward Enough : Opera Tickets Still on Sale
CreatorSandbote, Louis
DescriptionUsing the example of trumpet player John Owen, one member of the orchestra for Southern Illinois University's Opera Workshop production of Faust, this author attempts to represent the scale of behind-the-scenes artistic work that goes into putting on a large-scale stage performance, under the direction of seasoned professionals and faculty members. The article finishes with a press release for the performance which gives a short summary of Goethe's drama, upon which the operatic interpretations are based.
CollectionSCRC Text (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
SubcollectionKatherine Dunham Papers
Original Publication SourceDaily Egyptian
Place WrittenCarbondale, IL
Subjects -titlesFaust
Subjects -peopleOwen, John ; Kingsbury, Robert ; Gounod, Charles ; Goethe ; Lawrence, Marjorie ; Fuchs, Peter Paul ; Dunham, Katherine ; Bel Geddes, Edith Lutyens ; Payne, Darwin Reid ; Thomas, Joel ; O'Neil, Jack ; Horner, Douglas ; Huebner, Sharon ; Hallman, Ludlow ; Kimmel, Katherine ; Gillam, Jeffery ; Benestante, Vincenzo ; Bostain, Brenda ; Finn, Brenda ; Sablotney, Judith ; Smith, Gloria ; van Bronkhorst, Warren
Other topicsSouthern Illinois University Opera Workshop
Collection ID/Box#FP20_7_F1DUNHAM_B103_F17_07a
Rights StatementFor permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
Pose 3
Curtain Poised for Gounod's Tausf
Joel Fifs DeviVs Part Without Villainy
If you Eit and taJk with Joel Thomas 3t any lengrh, you become aware that he seems Juat the right person uj por- iray Mephistophles. the Dev¬ il in Gounod's Opera "Fausl."
He has all The physical al- rrlbuies usually associaied with charflcteri^aiionp of the devil—high forehead, wide-sei eyes, high cheekbones, sharp chin, and a call, solid phy¬ sique.
Thomas will sing the Me- phlstophles role in the Uni¬ versity Opera Workshop pro- dULtion of Faust ne:*i week.
When you mention his re¬ semblance to Che devil, a slow smile breaks across his mouth.
"I've been told several times ]'m type cast, " he tells you. "T juGt have the sing¬ ing personality of a villain."
But there is nothing vil¬ lainous about this Carbondale native and former Southern Il¬ linois University studentwho came here from Austria to sing Mephisiophles.
And yet, he must be type cast. The role he portrays requires a singer of impoE- Ing stature, as well as one with an excellent voice.
A basketball player at the old At tucks Higb School in Carbondale and a football full¬ back during his University days here, Thomas weighs 225 pounds and stands six-feet three inches.
As a singer, he is one of those rare men who is able to sing the bass required of Mephistophies and have the haritone range for such roles as Amonasro of "Aida" and of Kigoletto, both of which he has done.
Thomas hae been singing smce he was in the sixih grade af the Attucks School and started winntng pri^esfor his offering of boy's low solos.
Employment as a Car- bondale firefighter and four years' service In ihe Navy interrupted his SIU studies. He finally left the University m 1962.
But before leaving, he studied with Mar jor le Law¬ rence, SlU Opera Workshop director and former Metro¬ politan Opera prima donna. She arranged an audition for him with the Met in Wew York City.
As a result of that audi¬ tion, Thomasobiaineda schol¬ arship' lo study In California. After t^o years on the West Coast, he obtained a grant to study in Europe.
During the past year, Thom¬ as has been studying at the Muslkakademl at Vienna, Aus¬ tria, where he makes his home. He also has been sing¬ ing in Austria and Germany in concerts and over radio as well as having guest ap¬ pearances in opera pro¬ ductions.
His goal is operatic sing¬ ing. Thus he is enthusiastic about his role as Mephisto¬ phies, which, he says, "gives me the opportunity toaddano- ther opera to my repetoire."
"I'm an opera smger and am glad to work at home onoe
Thomas points out there Is bur one major opera com¬ pany, with only a aix-week season, in this counlry. On the other hand, in Germany and Austria, for example, there are more than 150 com¬ panies with seasons of 9 to IU months.
Because he wants lo sing opera, Thomas says he ox- pecls to remain in Europe most of his adutt life- Does he have any sugges¬ tions for budding opera singers?
"I5e firmly convinced of your talent and expect noth¬ ing to come easily. Be pre¬ pared to struggle, work and fight to attain your goal." Bui in connection with his role in Faust. Thomas denies his experience as a emoke- eaiing firefighter did anytbing to help him prepare for the part of Ihe deviU
"It only helped me attend the University."
Ther€ Are Man^ John Owens
Just Helping Out, Reward Enough
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By Louis Sandbotc
The name John Owen prob- ably won't ring a bell in many minds around campus, but ne^rt Saturday if John Owen and about 150 others like him aren't around there won't be a production of *'FauEt, '*
Owen is one of two trump¬ et players among about 30 members of the sympbonyor- chestra who will play for the SIU Opera Workshop produc¬ tion of the Gounod opera.
He Is among those whose names sometimes appear in Ihe fine print in SIU's theater and productions—but are most conspicuous when they fail to carry out their duties.
Until Ibis term, Owen played in the Lilile Symphony, per¬ haps Thinking about his future plans to teach a high school band when he graduates from Southern neKt year. He went to class, studied his music courses and was no more in¬ terested in "Faust" than "Faust" might have been m- terested in Owen,
And then he got his music for the Charles Gounod opera and things changed.
Hia music meant playing pieces written more than 100 years ago—and playing it well.- That means practice,
Il means practicing about three days a week for an hour, night rehearsals, and about four hours a week working on his own.
Multiply Owen by about 150 persons, some spending more time, some a little less, and an idea of the work that goes mto an opera begins to take shape.
Robert Kingsbury, assist¬ ant professor of music who Is directing the chorus- for the opera, when asked how many man-hours he felt might be spent just by the six faculty directors during Che course of producing the opera, re- plied, "Good gosh!"
He said each spends about X'f/ft hours a dav. That would
be 60 hours a week tor the six—A total of about 360houra for rehearsals during week days.
This does not Include the regularly scheduled rehear¬ sals on week ends. Nor does It include the final rehearsal week or the months of meet¬ ings which precede-aciual re¬ hearsals.
Kingsbury said that mem¬ bers of his singing chorus average an hour a day In re¬ hearsals over the six-week period prior to production.
There are seven principle leads in the opera which are double cast. Those 14 per¬ sons probably average afioui the same rehearsal time as the Instructors who, Kings¬ bury estimated, spend a total rehearsal time of more than 600 hours.
The students working on "Faust" do not necessarily come from the ranks of theater or music majors. The bulk of the workers have come to see what it is all about.
Alotig with John Owen, they apparently decided that the personal satisfaction is worth the effort.
Opera Tickets SHII on Sale
Tickets for the SIU Opera Workshop production next week end of Gounod's "Faust" are being sold at the Uni¬ versity Center.
They also may be pur¬ chased by mail if requests are accompanied by check and a self-addressed, starapeden- velope. Mall orders should be addressed to Student Ac^ tivitiesT University Center. Checks should be made pay- able to the SIL' Opera Work¬ shop,
The opera will be staged in Shryock Auditorium at B p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m^ Sunday. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
All seats are reserved. prices, are. SSj SI.50 ind 75
By Floyd H. SteJn
The SIU Opera Workshop will present Gounod's opera "Faust" next weekend, iust a month before the lOMh an¬ niversary of Its first produc¬ tion in Paris, France.
Based on the tragic drama by the German poet Goethe, the libretto Gounod set lo music corresponds to the Fauat- Marguerila Incfdent in the original work.
The story tells of the old philosopher who gives up in despair thehopeof everlearn- ing the answer to the meaning of life. He realizes he has alienated himself from life hy livingj on a purely Infel- fectual level.
Persuaded by Mephisioph¬ les, the old man sells his soul to the devil to recapture his youth, to relive and learn about life.
Critics have found the in¬ cident Gounod uses provides an "intensely Interesting" subject for hia music. How¬ ever, when the opera first was introduced in Paris on March 1'^, 1859, it was only moderately successful.
But it quickly established itself in public favor and in a very short time spread all over Europe and then the world.
The SIU production will be staged at Shryock Auditorium at & p, m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
The staging will bethemost professional and most lavish of any previous operatic pro¬ ductions at SIU,
For a more meaningful pre sent fltion, the opera will be in English^ and staged in modern design and dress. Workshop director Marjorie research pro-
translation from the original French by Peter Paul Fuchs of Louisiana State University,
The time element of the Goethe drama is brought for¬ ward from the 15th Century to a period during World War II in Germany.
In keeping with this change in time and scene, it was necessary to provide modern dance and costuming for the production to supplement the more meaningful presenta¬ tion,
Katherine Dunham, inter¬ nationally - known choreo¬ grapher and dancer, was brought to SIU as artist-in- residence, to design and direct the choreography for a 50- member ballet. Edith Lutyens Bel Geddes, noted pro¬ fessional theatrical costume designer, was brought to the University to costume the cast of more than a hundred.
Also taking part in the pro¬ duction are Music Department faculty members: Robert Kingsbury, production coordi¬ nator and director of the 64- member chorus; Warren van BronkhDrst, orchestra di¬ rector, and Darwin Payne, dramatic director, who also designed the set.
Members of the cast, with one exception, are SIU stu¬ dents. The eKceprion is Joel Thomas, a former SIU sing¬ ing star.
The six other principal roles are being sung by Doug¬ las Horner and Jack O'Niel, Faust; Sharon Huehner jnd Katherine Kimmel, Mar- guerlta; Jeffery Clllam and VincenZO Benestanie, Wag¬ ner; Brenda Bostain and Srenda Finn, Martha: Judith Sablolney and Gloria Smith, Sleheli anfj Ludlow Hall man, Valentine.
Original dimensions (cm.)28 x 11
Digital Object TypeImage
Digital File Format.tif
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
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