The series is titled “The Masques of Orpheus” after the lyre-playing musician from Greek mythology, and combines music, theater, dance and poetry. The first installment, “Tempests, Ghosts & Mad Queens,” has a Halloween theme.
Scott Williamson, Opera Roanoke’s general and artistic director, playfully suggests that ghostly writer Edgar Allan Poe will host the proceedings. The program includes selections from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” and the Broadway musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”
The Opera Roanoke program also ties into the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming Live in HD broadcast of a new operatic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play about a crew shipwrecked on a sorcerer’s island, “The Tempest.”
“Tempests, Ghosts & Mad Queens” includes two different takes on “The Tempest.” The singers will give a cappella performances of songs from the play set to music in 1951 by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The program will also offer a premier piece written by Suffolk resident James Lego, the apprentice program’s first conductor and composer. Lego has created an arrangement for six female voices and piano of the soliloquy that begins “Be not afeard,” also taken from Shakespeare’s play.
The first performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd. A second takes place 7 p.m. Nov. 4 on Mill Mountain Theatre’s Waldron Stage in Center in the Square’s building at 20 Church Ave. S.E. in downtown Roanoke.
Though the performances are free, Williamson said there’s a suggested donation of $20 to support the Apprentice Artist program. For more information, call 982-2742 or visit operaroanoke.org.
Speaking of the Live in HD broadcast of “The Tempest” (conducted by Thomas Ades, the British composer who wrote the new opera), it will take place at 12:55 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Whitman Theater at Virginia Western Community College. Tickets are $20; senior citizens, Opera Roanoke subscribers and Met members $18, students and children free. For more information, call 857-6492, email email@example.com or visit virginiawestern.edu/community/metopera.php.