A night at the opera: Macalester performs 'La Divina'

By Steve Sedlak

Rarely does the line between film art and “high” art get blurred. In the musical figure of Thomas Pasatieri, it does. Having set up his own film music production company, the man who made an opera based of a Chekhov play also orchestrated “The Little Mermaid.” If this isn’t enough to convince you to come see “La Divina,” perhaps I can assuage your viewership fears of death by consumption or suicide from castle ramparts. “La Divina” is a comic opera about a diva preparing for her final performance. This presentation, sponsored by the music department, is the first opera to be performed at Macalester.

This Friday affords the Macalester campus with a rare and wonderful opportunity to hear some of Pasatieri’s music performed live by fellow students. “La Davina” is to be performed in the Weyerhauser Memorial Chapel today at 1:00 p.m., featuring a cast of seniors – Keelin Yenney, Anna Popinchalk, and Caroline Ziegler – and even a Macalester staff member, Stephen Sporer. Another performance will be held on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

“I think a big unknown in this whole process is the audience we will have-it being the first opera-anything at Mac,” Keelin Yenney ’09 said. “I really encourage people to check out our production. Even if you have never listened to opera before, it is only 30 minutes long, sung in English, and will definitely be fun!”

Despite some anxieties over the size of Friday’s audience, the singers have been receiving lots of encouragement.
“The support has been great from all over campus: the music department, the theater department, and outside involvement as well,” Caroline Ziegler ’09 said. “I think the best part about this whole process, though, has been being able to sing with Keelin and Anna again. We three had a recital together last April and afterwards it was a little sad thinking that we wouldn’t have an opportunity to sing together in such a setting again at Macalester – or anywhere, for that matter. But this opera has been such a great chance for the three of us to come together, sing, act, and have fun.”

Anna Popinchalk, also a senior, expressed similar feelings of gratitude. “The support we’ve received from the Music Department, our voice teacher Lauri Nichols, our fellow cast-mate Stephen Sporer and our amazing assistant director Anna Sutheim has also been incredible and we could not have done it without them,” Popinchalk said. “But personally, the greatest part about this opera has been the opportunity to sing again with Keelin and Caroline. Being able to grow musically as singers with two people I really admire, as well as being able to share the stress and worries of being apart of an opera with two of my close friends is something I’m so thankful for.