The Bethany College Music Department is partnering with a college alumnus to make opera readily accessible to audiences in central Kansas. “Humanity Sings: A Concert of Scenes & Choruses from Great Operas” will be performed on Sunday, September 11 at 7 p.m. at the Presser Hall Auditorium on the Bethany campus.
The concert is a collaboration with Nickolas Carlson, a 2013 Bethany graduate who recently received a master’s degree in conducting from Wichita State University. Carlson founded Central Kansas Concert Opera, a non-profit organization that brings performances to stages in central Kansas that have limited exposure to opera.
“We formed CKCO because concert performances of opera are becoming more and more popular,” Carlson said. “There is no staging or costuming so it cuts down on the cost of staging a full production.”
Special guests Rebecca Copley and Samuel Ramey will join members of the Bethany Oratorio Society, the 300-plus choir that performs Handel’s Messiah each year, and the Bethany College Choir to perform selections from some of opera’s greatest works.
Copley, a Bethany graduate and renowned soprano and director of vocal studies at Kansas Wesleyan University, will perform a new arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” And Ramey, distinguished professor of opera at Wichita State University and well-known for his bass-baritone operatic career, will serve as narrator during the concert to explain the scenes to the audience.
Vocalists from Lindsborg, Wichita and the surrounding area will make up the principals and chorus and musicians from central Kansas will perform in the orchestra. The concert will feature works from Puccini’s La Boheme and Madame Butterfly, among others.
“There will be many pieces that people will recognize,” Carlson said. “And some stuff that nobody has heard before. Hopefully, the audience will be inspired to search out and learn more about opera after the performance.”
Also during the performance, the newly refinished stage in Presser Hall will be named in honor of long-time music professor Dr. Elmer Copley.
Ticket are $15 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased online at www.messiahfestival.org or by calling (785) 227-3380, ext. 8235.