(Photo Story) Opera program prepares for fall production


Mercedes Juan Musotto conducts music rehearsals with a Master Class in Nordhoff Hall on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Musotto, originally from Argentina, is the current musical director for the opera program. “Preparing Serse musically and working with singers in the college setting is my real passion. I love seeing how young singers discover the fascinating world of opera,” said Musotto. Photo credit: Clare Calzada

Clare Calzada

Every year, CSUN’s opera program puts on two theatrical productions through the collaboration of the Theatre and Music Department. This semester, under the stage direction of Ray Saar and the new musical direction of Mercedes Juan, they will perform “Serse” by Baroque composer George Frideric Handel next week. This opera is set in the 18th century and tells the tale of a tragic, but comedic, love triangle between the king of Persia, his lover and his brother.

Two casts, made up of both undergraduate and graduate students, have spent many weeks and hours rehearsing inside Nordhoff and Cypress Hall. From voice lessons to acting to learning Italian diction, these students are giving their all to deliver a spectacular production.

You can see “Serse” on Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. at the Campus Theater inside Nordhoff Hall. Regular admission is $20 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets can be found online here.

Joshua Curiel (left) and Matt Ellison (right), who both play the role of Arsamene, King Serse’s brother, study together between rehearsals in Nordhoff Hall on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Katrina Dubbs (center) rehearses with Mercedes Juan for her alto singing role as Amastre on Tuesday, Sept. 25th, 2018. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Katrina Dubbs in costume as Amastre on the campus theater stage inside Nordhoff Hall on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Amastre is King Serse’s fiance who disguises herself as a man in order to get revenge against him in the opera. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Close up of a student’s music notebook, filled with annotated notes and markings to indicate changes made to the piece, taken on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Professor Diane Ketchie evokes a reaction out of leading singer Joshua Curiel while approaching him during his voice lesson inside Cypress Hall on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. She not only coaches his voice, but also his pronunciation and getting into the headspace of Curiel’s character, Arsamene, as well. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
A view of the theater stage from inside the sound booth in Nordhoff Hall, while cast members are rehearsing under the direction of Ray Saar and Mercedes Juan on Thursday evening, Oct. 18, 2018. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Senior Joshua Curiel pushes his voice to his limit during a voice lesson with Diane Ketchie on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. The 21-year-old has been taking lessons with Ketchie since Freshman year and is also part of the Northridge Singers. “Singing is the only profession where you have to build your own instrument [your voice],” said Ketchie. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Brook Iva Lohman-Janz is assisted by cast members into a costume prop for her character Atalanta, Romilda’s sister, inside Nordhoff Hall on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Meleeah Abkarian, who plays the same role in a separate cast, understudies in the background. Photo credit: Clare Calzada
Fernando Ruiz, who plays the role of King Serse, and Leslie Perkins, who plays Romilda, act out one of the scenes during rehearsal on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Photo credit: Clare Calzada