Faculty and alumni collaborate on opera at the Artosphere at the Walton Arts Center

Opera music

A number of Music Department faculty members and Theater Department alumni are featured in Opera Fayetteville’s production of second nature this Saturday, May 7 at the Walton Arts Center.

Er-Gene Kahng, music teacher and violinist, and Nophachai Choltitchanta, associate music teacher and clarinetist, will appear in the opera’s orchestra. The production is directed by alumnus Laura Shatkus MFA’15. second nature is part of the Artosphere Festival at the Walton Arts Center and is suitable for all ages.

The opera, premiered in 2015, is by acclaimed composer Matthew Aucoin and will premiere in Arkansas. Set in a future where environmental destruction has led humans to retreat into an artificial and overbearing “habitat”, it tells the story of two children yearning to escape. Aucoin’s Opera Eurydice was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 2021, and he is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

Several faculty and alumni also contribute to the design and production of the opera, including stage manager Linden Brady BFA’17, lighting designer Kathleen Holmes MFA’20, and set designer Brandon Roye MFA’20. Micaela Baranello, Assistant Professor of Music, is the Fayetteville Opera’s Director of Marketing and Social Media as well as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Opera Fayetteville is a local company that brings contemporary English-language opera to northwest Arkansas, working with local and national singers, instrumentalists and theater artists. Recent productions have included black sisters by Nico Muhly and Glory Denied by Tom Cipullo. The company performs at the Starr Theater at the Walton Arts Center.