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An Evening of One Acts from 20th-Century California to 15th-Century London

Opera at USC wraps up the academic year with Firebird Motel and At the Boar’s Head

Denizens of the seedy Firebird Motel wait out a violent storm on the edge of the Mojave Desert, Christmas week 1994. Sir John Falstaff and the future King Henry V tell tales and enjoy the company of various thieves and rebels at the Boar’s Head Tavern on a midsummer’s eve in 1403 London.

This year’s production of One-Acts, Firebird Motel with music by David Conte and At the Boar’s Head with music by Gustav Holst, is presented free to the public at the School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St) on Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 3:00 p.m.

University of South Carolina students in the Opera At USC program gain abundant practical stage experience by participating in operas onstage and off. The comprehensive program for both graduate and undergraduate students covers every facet of opera production, on stage and behind the scenes. Singers, directors, pianists, conductors, marketing and public relations students, and theatrical technicians get expert teaching and intensive hands-on experience in their respective crafts.

Two fully staged operas with orchestra are presented each year as well as the spring semester’s evening of One-Act Operas.

A reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Firebird Motel “…weaves a hypnotic spell...Plaintive solos alternate with vibrant duets and lustrous trios, punctuated by Conte's lovely chorales, in an almost seamless creation...Conte's 'Firebird' takes flight on the wings of its music." The Firebird Motel cast: Medeline Beitel as Nova; Kate McKinney as Julie; Mark Bischoff as Ivan; Allison Espada as Corina; and Benton O’Hara as Trooper.

Gramophone reviewed Holst’s last opera, composed in 1929-30 to a libretto by Clifford Bax, saying At the Boar’s Head “makes marvelously entertaining listening.” At the Boar’s Head cast: Shaquile Hester as Bardolph; Davis Dykes as Peto; Lawrence Long as Gadshill; John Callison as Sir John Falstaff; Michael Brown as Prince Hal; Abraham Hardy as Poins; Gianna Miranda as Dame Quickly; Aubrey Nelson as Doll Tearsheet; and Michael Lu as Pistol.