Audience members will have the opportunity to witness a classic love triangle and explore the class systems of 1800s London when the Texas State opera department presents Arthur Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.
The comedic opera will take place Oct. 23-25 in the Texas State Performing Arts Center.
Samuel Mungo, director of Opera Studies, coordinator of the Voice Area and director of H.M.S Pinafore, said the production is enriched with British history while also humorously poking fun at British life.
“The story is very lighthearted,” Mungo said. “It is some of the silliest stuff in history.”
To modernize the opera and adapt it to American life, Mungo said a verse has been changed to reflect Donald Trump and his current influence.
“He’s the newest hot thing in America, so there’s a little piece in there about him,” Mungo said. “This show is all about class and class warfare, and people not being interested in being involved.”
Bailey Turner, performer and vocal performance sophomore, said although there are difficulties tied to the show, it is still meant to be fun.
“It’s a fun opera, and Sullivan is super fun music to sing,” Turner said. “It is difficult because there are a lot of high notes and different passages, but I just love becoming a different character and getting to share that on the stage with everyone.”
Mungo said he is particularly looking forward to the dancing numbers incorporated into the performance.
“They’ve been working on the dancing,” Mungo said. “A lot of it is just silly, stupid dance, and everybody is a sailor, so sailors don’t really know how to dance. It’s all just silly. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
Micah Parker, performer and vocal performance graduate student, said the themes explored in the production are relatable to anyone and are still found in modern-day entertainment.
Parker said people who lived around 200 years ago had the same basic human interests individuals have today.
“Opera is meant to be relatable,” Parker said. “Love, sex, passion, violence—the same thing you find in today’s movies was still found in opera even then.”
Mungo said one of his main goals was to make sure the production would be understandable for a variety of people.
“This is music, theater, and movie aspect all combined, so it’s very accessible,” Mungo said. “That’s the key issue for me—making opera accessible so people aren’t afraid of it. It’s not your father’s opera.”
He said the opera is not what people expect. Performers have worked to modernize the production to make it easier to understand. Today’s opera is leaner and channels the arts, movies, theater and television.
“I would definitely say the fat lady is dead,” Mungo said. “She sung. That’s old opera, and this is today’s opera.”
The opera features student performers from a variety of different fine arts departments, Mungo said.
“There’s some theater students, choral students and opera students,” he said. “It’s a big old amount of students who love putting this kind of stuff together. They’re doing great. I couldn’t be more happy.”
Parker said he would like for audience members to gain an appreciation for opera after seeing H.M.S. Pinafore.
“I want the audience to walk away feeling like they want more,” Parker said. “When they come out of this show, I want them to walk away feeling a warm, fuzzy feeling.”
Director and Producer: Dr. Samuel Mungo
Conductor: Dr. Carolyn Watson
Principal coach/chorusmaster: Kristin Roach
Choreographer: Andrea Heaberlin
Stage Manager: Jenna Crowell
Production Design: Anne McMeeking
Costume Design: Glenn Breed
Lighting Design: Scott Vandenberg
Photography Credit: Austin T Wells
Sir Joseph Porter: Conner Scallan
Captain Corcoran: Micah Parker
Ralph Rackstraw: Marvin Henderson†, Bailey Turner‡
Dick Deadeye: Jordan Van de Vere
Bill Bobstay: Sean Francovich
Bob Becket: Roger Stevens
Josephine: Jennifer Dryer†, Christina Ortiz‡
Cousin Hebe: Haley Steinberger
Little Buttercup: Abigail Diltz‡, Cambrey Wilhelm†
Ensemble: Mackenzie Bitz, Ashley Carrington, Mallorie Gabbert, Jay Gonzalez, Kaitlin Heeren, Sarah Jacob, De’Evin J Johnson, Veronica Kokas, Karen Lara, Andrew McNair, Mackenzie Miller, Francis Nieves, Paul Nix, Bridget Perez, Josh Pérez, Elizabeth Shultz, Shawn Wilson
†Thursday and Saturday, ‡Friday and Sunday