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Innovative collaboration between SU students, Syracuse Opera makes for unprecedented multimedia concert production of ‘The Flying Dutchman’


February 15, 2010

Syracuse Opera's premiere of Richard Wagner’s "The Flying Dutchman" will feature a video developed by 14 students from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) that serves as projected scenery for the production.

Using the student-developed video allowed Syracuse Opera to devote resources toward the highest level of musical artistry for the multimedia concert event, including internationally renowned Metropolitan Opera stars led by Greer Grimsley, an expanded Syracuse Opera Chorus, and accompaniment by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

"Our challenge was to make what is essentially concert opera feel theatrical," says Catherine Wolff, general and artistic director of Syracuse Opera. "Thanks to Chancellor Nancy Cantor and VPA Dean Ann Clarke, we were introduced to Chris McCray, Adam Brown and the VPA students who understood and met our vision. What they created is not only unprecedented for Syracuse, but also for the national opera scene."

Wagner's score was divided into 14 sections by Douglas Kinney Frost, Syracuse Opera's director of music and conductor of "The Flying Dutchman." Working with Brown, producer of the Connective Corridor’s Urban Video Project (UVP) and an instructor at VPA, each student created a video that reflected his or her component's emotions and action. The VPA class was funded by an Enitiative grant from the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation.

"This is a perfect illustration of the way that our collaborations create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts," says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "The distinct talents resident in Syracuse Opera and in our students and faculty are impressive in their own right. Bringing them together creates a truly transformative experience, not just for the audience, but for the artists as well as they stimulate and elevate each other’s creativity."

The VPA students were connected with Syracuse Opera by COLAB, an interdisciplinary initiative based in VPA that helps organizations solve real-world problems through innovative design and collaborative thinking. "We’re extremely excited about this project," says McCray, executive director of COLAB. "It is a perfect example of what COLAB was created to do–connecting college community to culture community allowing students to play and interact and thereby gain real-life, hands-on experience."

Conductor Kinney Frost agrees. "Opera is a living art form," he says. "Allowing young designers and videographers the opportunity to express themselves through our medium is inspiring and truly expresses the intent of Wagner's lifelong pursuit of telling a story set to music in the most prolific and progressive way."

Syracuse Opera's "The Flying Dutchman" will be presented in the Crouse-Hinds Theater of the John H. Mulroy Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. Besides Grimsley as the Dutchman, the principal artists include Lori Phillips as Senta, Allan Glassman as Erik and Peter Strummer as Daland. Ticket prices start at $18 and can be purchased by calling (315) 476-7372 or (315) 424-8200 or by ordering online at www.SyracuseOpera.com.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Michael A. Connor
Director of Advancement
315-475-5915
mac@syracuseopera.com