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Bienen School of Music Spring 2015 Opera Season

Northwestern University Opera Theater to stage Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Ruddigore”

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A public master class led by renowned American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and a fully-staged production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s rarely performed comic opera “Ruddigore” (or “The Witch’s Curse”) are highlights of Northwestern University Opera Theater’s spring season.

Presented by the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, the master class will take place at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, and four performances of “Ruddigore” will be held at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street as noted.

Through the Robert M. and Maya L. Tichio Vocal Master Class Series, established in 2014, Bienen School students have worked directly with master clinicians, including soprano Renée Fleming and operatic bass-baritone Eric Owens. The next Tichio Vocal Master Class will be led by von Stade on May 2.

• Von Stade will coach students from the Bienen School’s voice and opera program during a vocal master class at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Von Stade has made more than 70 recordings for every major label, including complete operas, arias, symphonic works, solo recital programs and popular crossover albums. She has received six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disque awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis and “Best of the Year” citations by “Stereo Review” and “Opera News.” Von Stade is starring at Chicago Opera Theatre in the opera “A Coffin in Egypt” by Ricky Ian Gordon from April 25 through May 3 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Her upcoming engagements include the Dallas Opera world premiere of “Great Scott,” the first full-length opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally since “Dead Man Walking” in 2000. Von Stade was awarded France's highest honor in the arts when she was appointed as an officer of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 1983 she was honored at the White House by President Reagan in recognition of her significant contribution to the arts. Tickets for the master class are $10 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

• Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Ruddigore” (or “The Witch’s Curse”) will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22; and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23, in Cahn Auditorium. “Ruddigore” is a hilarious parody of a stock melodrama, in which a curse on the Murgatroyd line decrees that every baronet of Ruddigore must commit a daily crime or succumb to an agonizing death. When the latest baronet, living in disguise to escape the curse, seeks the hand of the most eligible bachelorette in the village of Rederring, wicked deeds, multiple betrothals and visits from ancestral ghosts ensue. First performed in 1887, the two-act opera represents the 10th collaboration between celebrated Victorian-era librettist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. The production will be directed by Michael M. Ehrman, the Bienen School’s artist-in-residence and director of opera. Robert G. Hasty, associate director of orchestras, will conduct. The comic opera will be performed in English. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with valid IDs.

For more information, call the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847-491-5441 or visit To order tickets, call the Bienen School Ticket Office at 847-467-4000 or visit

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