CBU opera to perform ‘Roméo et Juliette’
Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2023) – The opera program at California Baptist University will bring the love story of Charles Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” to the stage on Feb. 24 and 26.
The cast of 48 is made up of students and one faculty member, Stefan Miller, adjunct professor of voice and a professional performer. Additionally, 29 students perform in the orchestra.
Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestral studies at CBU, said one of the challenges included finding the right voices for the cast. He is also producer and music director of the production.
“The pedagogy of singing a good sound is couched in strong fundamentals and a thorough understanding of the human voice,” Moon said.
Wyatt Mitchison, a Master of Music student, plays Mercutio, a close friend of Romeo. Along with learning the proper technique of operatic singing, he had to learn French.
“I’ve never done something like this before, but I feel like I’ve grown so much since the start of this production,” Mitchison said. “The most challenging part is learning all this French. On top of all of that, knowing what you’re saying, and communicating that through acting.”
Joseph Greene is a sophomore double majoring in composition and piano performance. He plays the role of Gregorio, the head servant of the Capulet household. This is his first time singing in an opera and as a solo vocalist.
“I am so glad to have taken the role because I have learned so much and just love singing Gounod’s wonderful music while acting,” Greene said. “Even though I have been a musician for a long time, I have developed my singing and acting so much, and learning to sing in French has been fun as well.”
The artistic director, James Toland, adjunct professor of voice, also provided vision in the area of stage design, props and more. Mitchison said he was thankful for the guidance of Toland and Miller.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” Mitchison said. “I’ve learned how to properly practice. I feel like I have a better understanding on how to approach opera.”
Moon said the performance is a wonderful opportunity for the students.
“My greatest desire is that each student has a lifelong memory of being on stage, performing with live orchestra in costume and surrounded by a well-built set,” Moon said. “For many, singing in an opera is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can help shape the trajectory of a person's career in music.”
CBU’s opera program began in 2019. It has previously presented Donizetti's “The Elixir of Love” and a collection of scenes from famous operas.
“I would love for the audience to learn more about the incredible offerings at California Baptist University,” Moon said. “The School of Performing Arts at CBU offers a vast array of varying experiences for all musicians who hope to pursue a profession in music.”
“Roméo et Juliette”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24, 2 p.m. Feb. 26
Where: Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
For tickets, please visit https://www.cityofrc.us/news/romeo-et-juliette