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The 2018 Opera Workshop Featuring "Command Performance", written and composed by Bruce Monroe
Shoreline Community College Theater
Shoreline, WA
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The 2018 Opera Workshop Featuring "Command Performance", written and composed by Bruce Monroe
Command Performance
By Bruce Monroe

Background: In late 18th Century Russia (under Catherine the Great). Russian aristocrats became so entranced by European Opera, that they started forming their own private opera companies to compete with each other. Aside from importing French and Italian music masters and lead singers, they started drafting the serfs from their agricultural estates into training as singers, dancers and musicians. At least one of the aristocrats put on Disneyland style mini shows scattered around the grounds both to entertain visitors AND to keep the skills of his opera companies in practice in the off- season. At every corner of the state, the visitors would come across a mini-musical version of Happy Peasant Life that the serfs had to be ready to perform at a moments notice.

Story: A young aristocrat shows up at one of these estates. All he needs to do is to borrow a horse from a serf so he can run away from his overbearing father from a neighboring villa. Hes trying to make as quiet a getaway as possible and not draw attention to himself. But everyone he tries to talk to keeps singing to him . . . loudly. Turns out the young aristocrat hates opera (this is a non-singing role). But the Serfs have been ordered, to perform their numbers constantly (or theyll be sent back to work in the fields or other menial tasks). Theyre under constant surveillance from their Music Master so they must sing at all times. A few of them have found different ways to improvise recitative-styled music using whatever materials happen to be hand for musical accompaniment so they can talk to each other.
As the aristocrat becomes more and more frustrated and abusive toward the serfs, they decide to punish him (which theyve learned to do from all the operas they have sung in which the servants fool the masters). The father shows up, just in time to see the serfs have their revenge on his son and he is delighted (he knows what a monster he has raised). The serfs are amply rewarded for their services to Art and the good of Mother Russia.

Running time:  40 minutes

Directed by Lee Ann Hittenberger

"The Quartet", A Chamber Opera by Bern Herbolsheimer

Synopsis:  The Monkey, Goat, Dog and Bear observe the orchestra playing music.  Monkey suggests to the others that they all do that as well.  The find instruments and try their hand at making music.  The horrible sounds which result reflect their failure.  Monkey suggests sitting differently, with an order.  Again, this results in failure.  Dog observes their position is incorrect and suggests sitting in a strait line.  Again, this results in failure.
The Nightingale, who has been observing all this time, begins to sing.  The animals turn and ask her advice.  Although their intentions are meant well, she responds, they have no talent - and they lack good audition.  She adds that, like the politician, changing your position will not make you a musician.

Running time: 12 minutes

Directed by Bryar Golden

"The Golden Apple" by John Latouche

Set in Angel's Roost near the town of Rhododendron, Washington State, the story relocates the mythical tale of Penelope and Ulysses to the first decade of the 20th Century.

Ulysses has been fighting in the Spanish /American War but is now on his way home to be reunited with his beloved Penelope. Paris is a salesman who lands by balloon at the county fair and promptly falls in love with local farmer's daughter, Helen. They decide to elope to Rhododendron but unfortunately Helen is already married - to the local sheriff, Manelaus. Ulysses sets out on a ten year journey to find Helen. Eventually he reaches Rhododendron where the local mayor, Hector, tries to distract him with earthly pleasures, including the attention of enchantresses Circe and Siren.

Ulysses is not distracted however, and, after a fight with Paris, brings back Helen to Angel's Roost and her husband and he is reunited with his wife Penelope.

Running time approx. 20 minutes

Directed by Bryar Golden

Producer and Musical Directed by Dr. Charles Enlow
Conductor:  Bruce Monroe
Directed by Lee Ann Hittenberger and Bryar Golden

Performances February 23, 24 & 25

General Admission:  $20
Students (Non SCC), Seniors and Staff:  $16
SCC Students, children under 18:  $12

Shoreline Community College
Theater / 1600 Bldg.
16101 Greenwood Ave. N.
Shoreline, WA  98133

For additional information contact John Nold at 206-546-4728

Children 3 years of age and younger are not permitted.


Shoreline Community College Theater (View)
16101 Greenwood Ave. N. 1600 Bldg. Theater LOBBY
Shoreline, WA 98133
United States


Arts > Opera
Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre

Minimum Age: 5
Kid Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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