Northern Illinois University will present both the one-act opera The Happy Prince and a tribute to American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim with performances Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 3 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the NIU Music Building. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for non-NIU students and NIU students are free with a pre-reserved ticket or ID. Tickets may be purchased online.
Both performances will be livestreamed on the School of Music website.
The Happy Prince
The Happy Prince is based on a short story by Oscar Wilde.
From the composer:
“The story concerns a statue, golden and bejeweled, which has been erected above a town, in memory of a rich and happy prince. A swallow, off to hibernate in Egypt, stops for the night at the foot of the statue, and feels tears on her head. Looking up she sees that the statue of the prince is weeping over the world’s misery and poverty, which in life he was never able to see. Three times he implores the swallow to pluck jewels from his body and to take them to poor and needy citizens, then to strip the gold from his body and throw it to the starving children in the street below. All the time it is growing colder. The prince is blind and ugly now. The swallow is too weak of fly to Egypt, but anyway she loves her prince too much to leave his feet. Stretching up to kiss his lips, she dies; and the statue’s lead heart cracks. The mayor and citizens who erected the statue come and take it down since its decorative value no longer exists, and with some disgust they move the swallow’s body away, the lot to be burned. As the flames rise, alarmed voices exclaim that the broken, leaden heart will not burn. A choir of angels above the flames tells the citizens that the leaden heart and the dead bird are the most precious things in the city.”
Stage direction for this production was done by AJ Wester, instructor of voice and director of Opera Theatre in the NIU School of Music. The music director and composer is Heewon Cha, graduate research assistant in the School of Music. Production design by Terry McClellan director of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance and Rachel Seabaugh, graduate teaching assistant in the School of Theatre and Dance. The choral director is Eric Johnson, professor of music and coordinator of choral activities in the School of Music.
Anya Newsome – Prince
Abria Shaw – Swallow
Boone Elledge – The Mayor
Steffi Delgado – The Seamstress
Emelia Barrera – Her Son
Evi Combs – A Rich Girl
David Capp – The Author
Kasey Pennington – The Matchgirl
Grace Pagliaro, Kyara Chisolm, Evi Combs, Emelia Barrera – Four Angels
Phoebe Shaughnessy, Alexa Garza, Ranan Antonini, Jaqueline Scavetta, Dayoung Park, David Czechut, Jennalynn Cisna, Yeeung Jang
The Sondheim Celebration features NIU students performing songs from classic Sondheim musicals.
The script was written by Savannah-Lee Mumford, a graduate student in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance.
Stage direction by AJ Wester and piano by Heewon Cha.
West Side Story
Somewhere – Evangelina Combs
You Gotta Get a Gimmick – Katherine Drury, Kyara Chisolm, Savannah-Lee Mumford, Kasey Pennington
Anyone Can Whistle
There Won’t Be Trumpets – Savannah-Lee Mumford
I Remember – Paul Kassel, Dean, NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts
You Could Drive a Person Crazy – Evangelina Combs, Katherine Drury, Kyara Chisolm
Not Getting Married – Grace Pagliaro, Evangelina Combs, Ethan Gonzales
Another 100 People – Kyara Chisolm
A Little Night Music
Everyday a Little Death – Savannah-Lee Mumford and Abria Shaw
Invocation and Advice for the Audience
There Was a Barber and His Wife – Boone Elledge
Johanna – Ethan Gonzales
Merrily We Roll Along
Our Time – Concert Choir
Sunday in the Park with George
Sunday – NIU Concert Choir
I Am Unworthy of Your Love – Kasey Pennington, Emelia Barrera
Loving You – Anya Newsome