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UW-Eau Claire Opera Workshop
to Present 'Dido and Aeneas'

RELEASED: Nov. 9, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Opera Workshop Ensemble will present a free performance of "Dido and Aeneas" by composer Henry Purcell at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, and Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center. The libretto, by Nahum Tate, is based on Virgil's 'The Aeneid.' The one-hour performance will be sung in English.

The plot revolves around the love story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, and the Trojan prince Aeneas who, after fleeing from Troy following the Trojan War, proclaims his devotion for Dido. Aeneas is eventually forced by the sorceress and her witches to leave Carthage to found the city of Rome. Dido, comforted by Belinda and her other courtiers, dies of a broken heart. The production incorporates dance throughout, a unique approach to the staging of opera.

The cast for the Nov. 12 performance includes senior Lauren Tompkins, Eau Claire, as Dido; junior Kevin Newell, Edgar, Minn., as Aeneas; senior Allison Wells, Eau Claire, as Belinda; sophomore Rebecca Kidnie, St. Paul, Minn., as the second woman; sophomore Devin Jones, Eden Prairie, Minn., as the sorceress; sophomore Tara Metcalf, Eau Claire, as the first witch; senior Kristine Becker, Crystal, Minn., as the second witch; junior Collean Scanlon, Muskego, as the spirit; and junior Nels Urtel, Mankato, Minn., as the first sailor.

The cast for the Nov. 13 performance includes senior Andrea Fuss, Waupaca, as Dido; senior Reid Larsen, Waconia, Minn., as Aeneas; senior Amanda Verstegen, Appleton, as Belinda; senior Kathryn Eckes, Maple Grove, Minn., as the second woman; junior Stephanie Benson, Mankato, Minn., as the sorceress; sophomore Nicole Wolf, La Crosse, as the first witch; junior Angela Nieman, Milwaukee, as the second witch; senior Megan Bernard, Lakeville, Minn., as the spirit; and senior Anthony Meehl, Green Bay, as the first sailor.

For both performances, sophomore Chelsey Dahm, Middleton, will be a featured dancer; and junior Ben Bedroske, Marshfield, sophomore Sean Carlson, Appleton, senior Ryan Summers, Waukesha, and sophomore John Turba, Platteville, will be sailors. The ensemble will act as chorus for the performances.

"Dido and Aeneas" is directed by Mitra Sadeghpour, associate professor of music and director of the Opera Workshop Ensemble, with musical direction by Jessica Riley, assistant professor of music. Toni Poll-Sorensen, professor of dance, is serving as choreographer, and senior David Washa, Middleton, is in charge of lighting design. Mallory Rishoi, artist for the music and theatre arts department, is the costume coordinator, and senior Kristin Wood, Black River Falls, is serving as accompanist for the production.

"Dido and Aeneas" is free and open to the public.

-30-

KJ/NW

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