WT opera students, faculty to get spotlight in ‘Viva l’Italia!’
by Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
A rising opera star with roots at West Texas A&M University will return to celebrate the school’s opera program.
WT’s Opera Workshop will present Viva l’Italia! at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall.
The spring opera gala will feature performances by seven WT vocal faculty members and about 18 students, all doing works by Italian composers.
Baritone Robert Cardwell, who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from WT and is now pursuing a doctorate at University of North Texas, will sing “Largo al factorum” from Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. You know the one: “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiiiiiiiiiiigaaaro!”
Cardwell also will duet with soprano Suzanne Ramo, director of the opera workshop, on “Pura siccome un angelo … Dite alla giovine” from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.
“I’ve known Robert since he was a teenager,” Ramo said. “He’s got a really lovely, warm baritone voice. … It’s a good time to get him back on the WT stage before he launches what I hope will be a successful career.”
Ramo, a Texas native who has performed across the country, is in her first year teaching at WT and hopes the new opera gala will benefit the students.
“You never really get over stage fright. I still have nerves,” Ramo said. “But you should perform often, perform as much as you can. This is another opportunity for them to get up and get on that stage.”
They’ll also get to perform alongside teachers Lyndi Williams Krause, Cloyce Kuhnert, Christopher Meerdink, Justin Duncan, Robert Hansen and Matt Oglesby, in addition to Ramo and Cardwell, in the evening’s finale – “Tutto nel mondo e burla” from Verdi’s Falstaff, a challenging fugue featuring 10 soloists and a large chorus.
Audiences will hear a range of numbers from obscure to well-known, Ramo said.
Admission is free. Call 806-651-2840.