BGSU opera students to perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Iolanthe’

Students and alumni from Bowling Green State University Opera Theater will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “Iolanthe” at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Wooster Center, 1124 E. Wooster St. in Bowling Green.

“Iolanthe,” which premiered in 1882 to hostile criticism, is now one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most beloved works. Iolanthe, mistress of the fairy revels, marries a mortal, which causes discord among the humans. Also known as “The Peer and the Peri,” the play comments on ineffective political institutions by using the make-believe world of fairies who infiltrate Parliament in order to “re-set” social boundaries.

“There will be a lot of energy and a lot of laughs,” promised Dr. Christopher Scholl, an assistant professor of music performance studies.

Stage Director Jesse A. Koza, a recent BGSU graduate, and Music Director Conrad Chu, a musical arts doctoral candidate in conducting, join forces with costume designer Melissa A. Penkava, a senior; set designer Meghan Johannes, and accompanist Kate Stubbs, also a BGSU alumna. The performance will be sung in English.

The title role of Iolanthe will be played by mezzo-sopranos Aubrey VonAlmen from Lima, Ohio, and Briana Sosenheimer, from Fort Wayne, Ind., both first-year graduate students. In the role of Phyllis will be sopranos Summer Aebker, a first-year graduate student from Lima, and McKayela Collins, a second-year graduate student from Elkhart, Ind. Playing the role of the Lord Chancellor is baritone Austin Heath, a senior from Rockford, Ohio. Playing the role of Lord Tolloller is tenor Chris Jackson, a junior from Cincinnati. Baritone Sean Manterfield, a second-year graduate student, will play Lord Mountararat. Bass Aaron Wagner, a senior from Dayton, will play Private Willis. Baritone Nathan Kendrick, a senior from Carlisle, Ohio, will play the role of Strephon. Mezzo-soprano Christine Amon, a first-year graduate student from Grand Rapids, Mich., will play the Queen of the Fairies. The role of Celia will be played by soprano Grace Hirt, a sophomore from Celina, Ohio. Mezzo-soprano Melissa A. Penkava, a senior from North Ridgeville, Ohio, will play the role of Leila. Soprano Brianna Michalko, a junior from Canadaigua, N.Y., will play Fleta.

The performances are free and open to the public.