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Release: Nov. 21, 2001

UI Opera Studio will perform scenes from Mozart, Bizet, others Dec. 7-8

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Opera Studio of the University of Iowa School of Music will present an informal performance of scenes from several operas, featuring student directors and singers, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, in the Opera Studio of the Voxman Music Building.

The performance, under the supervision of Sally Stunkel, director of the UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater, will be free and open to the public. Musical director of the performance will be faculty member Shari Rhoads.

Scenes will be performed from seven operas: Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio," "Magic Flute" and "Cosi fan tutte"; "Goyescas" by Enrique Granados; "Mignon" by Ambroise Thomas; Bizet's "Carmen"; and "L'incoronazione di Poppea" (The coronation of Poppea) by Claudio Monteverdi.

The scenes will be directed by Emmelind Roelofse, Amanda Hyberger and Rachel Lebeck, who are students in the graduate opera directing class. The scenes will be accompanied on piano by Rhoads and Alessandra Ferris, a graduate student in the School of Music.

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty in the fall of 2000. She earned her degree in accompanying and has completed post-graduate studies in opera coaching/conducting at the University of Southern California. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Musikhochschule (Music conservatory) in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads has also been Kapellmeister at the Lucerne Theater and conductor/coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany. She was coach at the Barcelona and Madrid opera theaters.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe with whom she worked exclusively as coach/accompanist and orchestrator. She has accompanied master classes with a number of renowned artists, including singer Gerard Souzay, cellist Lynn Harrell and violist William Primrose, and she served as staff accompanist for the Francesco Vinas (Barcelona, Spain) and Munich International competitions.

Stunkel was appointed director of UI Opera Theater in the fall of 1999. She has directed for many American opera companies, including Sacramento Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Skylight Opera, the Aspen Music Festival, Kentucky Opera and Four Corners Opera. She has more 70 productions to her credit, including straight theater as well as opera. She headed the opera programs at the University of Tennessee, the University of the Pacific in California and the former St. Louis Conservatory of Music.

Stunkel has performed both as an opera singer, performing with the Colorado Springs Opera, Skylight Opera and Baltimore Opera, and as an actor in spoken plays, having recently portrayed Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie" and Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter." With more than 15 years of dance training, she has also choreographed several productions.

Known for her expertise in teaching acting to opera singers, Stunkel has taught in the apprentice programs at the Des Moines Metro Opera; Chautauqua Opera; the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada; and the Aspen Music Festival. She was a co-founder/director/writer for The Opera Parade and Kinderopera, two touring educational opera companies for children in Maryland. She is a graduate of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where she received the National Opera Association's award for best opera for her productions of Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Consul" and Domonick Argento's "Postcard from Morocco,"

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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