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A-State Choir invades the stage in upcoming opera show

By Brian Randall
On March 10, 2014

In a quaint corner of Europe strange things are afoot. Strange lights, people acting out of the ordinary and mysterious beings from another world stalk their prey as innocents panic in the streets.

No, this isn’t isn’t another War of the Worlds remake, it’s the premise to the upcoming operatic feature by A-State’s own music department, “Help, Help, the Globolinks!”

Set in a private school in an undisclosed corner of an unknown European country during an alien attack, the opera is an original piece by famed writer Gian Carlo Menotti and directed by Myrika Kyriakos, professor of vocal music and performance.

The play stars Dennese Adkins as student Emily and Crystal Aronson as music teacher Madam Euterpova, along with Michelle Byrd , Cori Beasley, Gregory Self, Ian Tucker, Kyle Smith and Ben Mclellen. Piano will be performed by Luca Strazzullo.

The opera features a number of talented performers with a long history of vocal productions to back them up.

“I started singing in junior high and high school with choir,” said Aronson, a graduate in music performance of Paragould. “When I entered college my freshman year is when I was introduced to Opera.”

The roles of the title characters, the Globolinks, will be performed by various volunteer performers including George Gatewood, Meagan McDaniel and Loren Snook.
The production will also involve the musical skills of Elaine Bertee and youths from the Jonesboro Vocal and Performing Arts Magnet School.

“All the students of the VPA were very excited about being in Opera,” Kyriakos said.

The parts of students in the play will be performed by a mix of VPA and ASU students.

Baylee Stancener, a freshman vocal music education major of Cabot, plays the role of one of the students in the play.

“It’s very family oriented,” she said. “It’s really entertainment for all ages with humor both children and adults can understand.”

A focal point in the production is the failure of technology and the passion for music when both are needed.
“Menotti worried about how the growing use of technology was slowly taking over everyday life,” Kyriakos said. “This opera was in response to that fear.”

Music is the central inspiration behind the work. Being an opera, it is heavily featured throughout, but beyond that is the simple message that music plays a fundamental part of human culture.

The production emphasizes this through the use of music as a solution to the problem.

“I play Tony the bus driver,” said McClellen, a junior music education major of Corning. “The aliens invade and the only thing that can stop them is music. No one else brings their instrument so I send out a little girl (Emily) with her violin to save the day.”

“I think people should come see this because it will be an enjoyment, not just for young children, but for everyone,” said Kyle Smith, a junior vocal performance major of Forrest City, who plays Timothy the janitor. “People who have never seen an opera before will be able to enjoy themselves.”

“Help, Help, the Globolinks” premieres at the Fowler Center on March 13–14. Tickets are $8 in advance for adults or $10 at the door, and $5 for ASU students and children. For more information contact the ASU Box Office at 972-2781.

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