A perfect start to your Halloween weekend, Don Giovanni (the Italian for Don
Juan) is the story of the great lover Don Juan, the wealthy nobleman who spends his life seducing women…and ultimately is pulled into hell. Don Giovanni will be performed at the historic Lyric Theater on Friday and Saturday, October 28 &
29, at 7:00 and on Sunday, October 30 at
2:00; tickets are now available through the OAC’s ticketing web site or by calling our office at (870) 391-3504.
With music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and words by Lorenzo Da Ponte, Don Giovanni is a thrilling musical ride of a traditional morality play, from the tantalizing rush of lust and pride in which the young may be so easily engulfed to the ‘engulfed’ end of one whose debauchery goes unrepented.
The setting is mid-18th century Seville. Leporella (Lisa Marie Gerstenkorn), servant to the nobleman Don Giovanni (Marvin Murphree), keeps watch outside the Commendatore’s (Norman Cochran) home at night. Suddenly, the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna (Jennifer White), rushes out, struggling with the masked Giovanni and followed by her father. The Commendatore challenges Giovanni to a duel and is killed…but Anna is unaware of who has killed him. Giovanni and Leporella thus escape, but Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio (Andrew Etherington), to find the ‘unknown’ killer and avenge her father’s death.
In the morning, Giovanni and Leporella encounter one of Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna Elvira (Rebecca Claborn), who is devastated by his betrayal. Leporella tells her she is neither the first nor the last woman to fall victim to Giovanni and shows her his catalogue with the name of every woman Giovanni has seduced.
When peasants celebrate the marriage of Masetto (Seth Dylan Hunt) and Zerlina (Lisa Murphy), Giovanni flirts with the bride, telling her she is destined for a better life, but Elvira warns Zerlina to flee her suitor. Anna, who is still unawareof the identity of her father’s murderer, has asked Giovanni for help in finding the man, and Elvira tries to warn her, as well. Giovanni, of course, insists that Elvira is mad, and Anna and Ottavio wonder what to believe…until Anna recognizes his voice as that of the murderer!
In our production, Giovanni’s servant will be female (Leporella), while that character was originally written as a male (Leporello). This change adds a different dynamic to the relationship between Giovanni and his servant. The sexual appetite of Giovanni is what is generally pointed out, but it is a much deeper story than that—truth, not simply titillation: in the song “O Come to the Window,” Giovanni reveals, through subtext, his feelings of abandonment by his mother as a child. It is this sense of abandonment that has led him to seek to conquer all the women with whom he comes in contact.
Backed by a fantastic piano score and translated to modern English, our singers are from around the United States and have sung nationally and internationally.
Don Giovanni will be performed at the historic Lyric Theater on Friday October 28 and Saturday October 29 at 7:00PM and on Sunday, October 30 at 2:00PM; tickets are now available through the OAC’s ticketing web site or by calling our office at (870) 391-3504.
Because of the adult themes, parental guidance is suggested.
Bios of Featured Cast
Don Giovanni – Marvin Murphree, baritone, has appeared in opera, oratorio, song recital and musical theatre throughout the United States and Central America and is a National Association of Teachers of Singing Award winner.
Among his operatic roles are Don Alfonzo in Cosi fan Tutte, Sgt. Belcore in L’elisir D’ Amore, Sonora in La Fanciulla del West, Morales in Carmen, Baron Duphol in La Traviata, Count Almaviva in Nozze de Figaro, Silvio in Pagliacci, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, Father in Hansel und Gretel, Usher in Trial By Jury, Uberto in La Serva Pedrona, Signor Deluso in Signor Deluso and others. His musical theatre credits include Tommy Albright-Brigadoon, Fred Graham/Petruchio- Kiss Me Kate, Lancelot-Camelot and Curly-Oklahoma. He has been featured soloist for oratorios such as Messiah-Handel, Creation-Haydn, Stabat Mater dolorosa-Pergolesi, Christmas Oratorio-Saint-Saenz, Seven Last Words-Dubois. Some of the organizations with which he has appeared are: Springfield Regional Opera, Lyric Artists of the West in Denver, Heart of Atlanta Network, Radio Kansas NPR Network, The Modern Music Festival in Boulder, CO, Trinity Concerts, Central Oklahoma Concert Series, The Kansas City Bach Festival, Jubilate Concerts in St. Louis and colleges and universities throughout the Midwest. Critics have called his singing “passionate” and “especially vivid” and he continues to be in demand as both an operatic and concert performer.
As a teacher of singing, his students have consistently been awarded “I” ratings at district and state music contest at the high school level and his collegiate students have won multiple awards by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Additionally, select students have appeared on the stages of professional opera companies, on international radio programs and on television. He has coached performers who have gone on to appear in leading roles on Broadway and major opera companies around the world.
As a conductor he has worked with both professional and amateur choirs and orchestras, directing a wide variety of music from contemporary small works, to major classical works with full orchestra including Mendelssohn’s Elijah and St. Paul, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio and many others.
Mr. Murphree holds both Bachelor and Master of music degrees and has studied voice with Edwin Quistorff, Harry Morrison and Vernon Yenne. He studied voice pedagogy with the late James McKinney. Conducting mentors have been Conan Castle, C. David Keith and Robert Burton.
Murphree is the founder and artistic director of The Mosaic Vocal Ensemble, a professional vocal quartet, is in great demand as a Missouri State High School Activities Association vocal music judge, and presents frequent workshops and master classes in high schools and universities. He has served on the voice faculties of Missouri Southern State University, Missouri State University, and The Missouri Fine Arts Academy. He has been Chorus Master for the Springfield Regional Opera. Additionally, he has provided music ministry leadership in churches in Missouri, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.
Leporella – Lisa Marie Gerstenkorn, contralto, is a frequent performer of varied musical styles, including opera, art song, musical theatre, jazz and sacred music. Lisa recently performed with the Ozark Family Opera Company in Bentonville, AR as Ms. Denari in a new production titled Opera Idol. In Spring 2017 she will perform as Marquise de Birkenfeld in Donizetti’s Daugher of the Regiment with the Heartland Opera Theatre in Joplin, MO. She is also singing in her tenth season as a member of the professional chorus for the Tulsa Opera, with whom she made her solo debut as Sister Lillianne in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.
Lisa has been a Resident Artist with the Ohio Light Opera and the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, MA. She has also performed with the American Opera Studio, Mosaic Vocal Ensemble, Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park, Springfield Regional Opera, Pittsburg Community Theatre, and with her alma mater, Pittsburg State University. Favorite roles include La Principessa in Suor Angelica, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, and Glinda in The Wizard of Oz.
In addition to her busy performing schedule, Ms. Gerstenkorn is an Adjunct Voice Instructor at both Pittsburg State University and Missouri Southern State University, and also teaches through her private Voice Studio.
Donna Anna – Dr. Jennifer White , soprano, enjoys an active performing and teaching career. Teaching now in the Kansas City area, she has performed as a soloist for the William Baker Festival Singers, the St. Joseph Community Chorus, the Sacred Arts Chorale, Lawrence Opera Theatre, KC VITAs Chamber Choir, and the Kansas City Philharmonia.
Previously, she spent a summer Italy, where she performed in concerts at Piobicco and Urbania with the Si parla, si canta program and later returned to Modena, Italy to spend time studying with world-famous soprano Mirella Freni. As a student at the University of Kansas, she was heard as La Ciesca in KU Opera’s Gianni Schicchi, and the Mother in Menotti’s beloved opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. Other roles include Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, which she performed with the Kansas City Puccini Fest, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata and Gertrude in Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel. She has sung with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in their productions of Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Aïda, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Carmen.
She completed her undergraduate studies at Roberts Wesleyan College and then received her Masters degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Currently she teaches at Missouri Western State University, Rockhurst University, and Meyer Music Studio. She received her DMA in voice in 2014 from the University of Kansas.
Don Ottavio – Andrew Etherington, tenor, hails from Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. His interest in singing began at his high school, where three musicals were produced a year. Seeking to break him out of the chorus,
Andrew’s mother took the initiative to sign up, the then aspiring baseball player, for voice lessons. After being dragged kicking and screaming to his initial voice consultation, Andrew quickly realized his voice had an affinity for the classical technique and, as they say, the opera bug bit.
Andrew received his undergraduate at Ole Miss and honed his singing and stage skills with Dr. Bill Hall’s American Opera Studio, performing small roles in European and American tours of The Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Albert Herring as well as various concerts containing operatic, Broadway, and sacred repertoire. In 2010, Andrew moved to Baltimore to attend The Peabody Institute. While there, Andrew expanded his skills beyond that of a performer by receiving mentorship in vocal pedagogy in addition to conducting a volunteer choir at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also performed regularly in the professional choruses of Lyric Opera of Baltimore, Baltimore Concert Opera, and Washington National Opera.
Andrew and his wife relocated to Silverdale, Washington for her career in 2015. Recently, Andrew performed the lead role of Ralph Rackstraw in the Bremerton Symphony’s production of HMS Pinafore and attended Pacific Lutheran University’s Summer Opera Workshop, directed by Dr. James Brown. He also has been hired as an adjunct voice instructor at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington. Andrew currently studies with Barry Johnson and coaches with Phillip Kelse
Donna Elvira – Rebecca Claborn, Mezzo-Soprano, recently finished her Master’s Degree in Voice Performance at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Before CCM, Ms. Claborn received her Bachelor’s Degree from Simpson College in Indianola, IA.
She has had the great privilege to work with companies such as Wolf Trap Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera Theater. This past spring she played the role of Rooster in Leoš Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen with CCM Opera. This past summer, Rebecca returned to Wolf Trap Opera as a studio artist to cover the role of Stonatrilla in the U.S. premier of Florian Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria. While there, she also had the great honor to perform selections from Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Some other noted performances include Mrs, Mitchell in Meet John Doe, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte and the title role in Cendrillon.
Commendatoren – Norman Cochran, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was active in theater there throughout his school years, with roles of Pooh Bah in The Mikado, Marco the Magnificent in Carnival, and parts in Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, and numerous other musicals and plays. During his adult years, he was involved in multiple musical ensembles, choirs, and solo performances in churches in several states.
As a great lover of Gilbert and Sullivan, Norman decided to return to public performance in recent years when he learned that Tri-Lakes Community Theatre in Branson was staging The Pirates of Penzance, and was awarded the role of Major General Stanley. He returned to feature with TLC as Horace Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly, and as Sir Danvers Carew in Jekyll and Hyde, the Musical.
Norman’s first appearance in a Springfield production was as part of the ensemble in Evita, with Springfield Contemporary Theatre. He also appeared at SCT in The Threepenny Opera, as Bob the Saw, and other small roles and in the chorus. Norman has been in the chorus of several operas with Springfield Regional Opera, including La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, The Elixir of Love, and The Marriage of Figaro, and was cast as Abraham Kaplan in Street Scene with SRO.
Norman lives in Springfield with his wife of 38 years, Terri, and has two children and four grandchildren. He is employed with Mercy Health Systems and has the privilege of working from home! Their daughter, Rachel, was in several productions with her dad with TLC, SCT, and SRO. He is thrilled to be part of this production as The Commander!
Zerlina – Lisa Murphy, soprano, is originally from Ireland and graduated from the Cork School of Music (CSM) with a BMus, after training as a classical soprano under Robert Craig & Mary MacSweeney. While there she performed with the CSM Jazz Big Band, accompanying them on their tour to Chicago, Illinois.
During this time, Lisa took her first professional job in the role of Lucy Brown in Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera, directed by Kevin Mallon & Mary Curtin. Other roles include Mrs. Sherman in FAME and Diana Morales in Chorus Line.
Lisa’s first American role was as Martha Jefferson in 1776 at Joplin Little Theater, directed by Lisa Olliges-Green. Following this she took roles at Springfield Contemporary Theater as Annie in Evil Dead: The Musical and R.C. in BUG, both directed by Nathan Shelton. She also played the three wonderful roles of Annabella Schmidt, Pamela, and Margaret in The 39 Steps, directed by Rick Dines
Lisa is excited to be returning to opera as Mozart’s Zerlina.
Massetto – Seth Dylan Hunt is thrilled to be a member of this project!
With talent ranging from Shakespearean tragedy to grand opera to Musical theatre, Seth has been privileged with some amazing experiences.
Seth’s operatic debut was La Boheme fallowed shortly by Tosca and La Traviata. Seth’s true passion is opera but his love will always be the musical theatre. Starting at an early age Seth would ape accents, learn songs, and even memorize dialogue from films or albums. Recent musical credits include Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Chris in Hand on a Hard Body, and Balladeer in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. Other credits include Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in Jekyll and Hyde, Giuseppe Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza starring Kim Crosby, and Les Miserables—twice, once directed by Tony-nominated actor Robert Westenberg, and the second directed by Broadway director Richard Jay-Alexander.
Don Giovanni will be performed at the historic Lyric Theater on Friday and Saturday, October 28 & 29, at 7:00 and on Sunday, October 30 at 2:00; tickets are now available through the OAC’s ticketing web site or by calling our office at (870) 391-3504.
Because of the adult themes, parental guidance is suggested.