“Bumblebee, bumblebee, bumblebee,” echoes in arpeggios through Dinkelspiel auditorium. The chorus is backstage, warming up for a rehearsal of Fledermaus, an operetta performed by this year’s Topics in Opera Stagecraft (Music 184B) class.
The class, instructed by professional musician and lecturer in Stanford’s music department, Marie-Louise Catsalis, is a crash course in producing and performing an opera, and has been taught every winter quarter since Catsalis’s arrival in 2010.
The students are involved in every aspect of the opera’s production from start to finish—from mastering the pronunciation of the script’s many languages, to practicing and perfecting musicality. No stone goes unturned along the path to creating a complete, orchestrated opera.
Students like Shannon McClintock, a mechanical engineering coterm student who plays Prince Olorlofsky in the opera, find that the immersive quality of the class sets it apart from other theater-and musical-related opportunities at Stanford.
“The resources are unparalleled. The class attacks so many things that you just can’t get in one place,” says McClintock.
“[Catsalis] will take you through all aspects of what you need to do to prepare your music, your text, your learning of the other languages…she will take you through literally everything,” McClintock added.
The four San Francisco Opera members who come to Stanford to be featured in the opera’s performance and production also provide an unparalleled resource.
Sarah Tunderman, Fledermaus’s lighting designer and Sarah Bingel, the stage manager, along with lead tenor Christopher Jackson and Hungarian and French language coach Patricia Kristoc Moy, assist the class and offer students a unique opportunity to collaborate with professional performers and members of the industry.
The use of multiple languages in the opera is one of several alterations Catsalis has made in tailoring the show to fit the specific needs and desires of the class.
Leena Yin ’17 plays Adele in the show.
“This production is particularly unique because [Catsalis] is… pulling in different translations. The original opera is in German, but there’s a lot of French, a lot of English, and one person sings in Hungarian,” Yin said.
Catsalis and the students of Topics in Opera Stagecraft have truly invested themselves in the production of Fledermaus and. as a result, the class has become a creatively stimulating collaboration between passionate artists.
Fledermaus will be performed Saturday, February 21st at 5:00 and 8:00PM, and Sunday, February 22nd at 2:00PM and 5:00PM. There will be general seating and free admission.
Contact Allegra Clara McComb at [email protected].