McCain hosts opera


Lights, camera, action are just a few of the words that are said daily at McCain Auditorium. However, recently “Gianni Schicchi” and “Trouble in Tahiti” director Reginald Pittman has been saying them regularly in preparation for the upcoming opera performances. K-State Opera Theater will be hosting “Gianni Schicchi and “Trouble in Tahiti” at McCain Auditorium tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“Both operas are two one-act operas,” said Pittman, associate professor of music and director of the Opera Theatre. “Our productions are sung in English, and students from both the music and theatre departments are involved.”

“Gianna Schicchi” is a story about a family that tries to collect their share from a deceased relative’s will. The family relies on Schicchi to secure their earnings, according to the music department’s press release.

“Gianna Schicchi is a comedy opera, probably the most performed Italian one-act opera,” Pittman said. “Many university opera programs will perform ‘Gianna Schicchi’ because it’s an ensemble show with many roles, and college-age voices are vocally mature enough to sing the roles.”

Although the opera is originally Italian, many people are familiar with its songs.

“One of the most famous operatic arias ever is sung by the soprano Lauretta,” Pittman said. “The title is ‘O Mio Babbino Caro,’ which is Italian for ‘My Beloved Daddy.’ Most people have heard the tune.”

The second opera Pittman will be conducting is “Trouble in Tahiti.”

“One of the unique things about ‘Trouble in Tahiti’ is it combines both operatic style of singing and jazz type of singing,” Pittman said. “It’s a combination of opera, musical theater and jazz. The show includes some spoken dialogue and dance.”

“Trouble in Tahiti” was written by Leonard Bernstein, an American conductor, composer and pianist.

“A lot of people haven’t seen ‘Trouble in Tahiti,'” Pittman said. “Bernstein combined the rhythms of ‘West Side Story’ with operatic singing and a jazz trio.”

“Gianna Schicchi” will be performed first, followed by an intermission and “Trouble in Tahiti.” The two operas both have only one act, but have different plot lines.

“‘Gianna Schicchi’ is classified as a grand opera and it’s Italian,” Pittman said. “‘Trouble in Tahiti’ is totally different. It’s an American opera that combines musical theater and jazz.”

Ticket prices range from $11 to $16 and are available at the McCain box office or by calling McCain at 785-532-6428.