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WT opera students are loving blind in new production of 'Speed Dating Tonight'
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Deborah Malone and Sharron Ortiz star in "Speed Dating Tonight."

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Student singers at West Texas A&M University will get exposure to the cutting-edge of the opera world in a production opening Friday.

Speed Dating Tonight, a contemporary opera by Michael Ching, will be staged by the WT Opera Workshop at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall on the WT campus. Admission is free. The Friday production also will be live-streamed at

The one-act comic opera, to be directed by Suzanne Ramo, is set in a contemporary club and follows several hopefuls in a speed-dating session. A cast of 14 students and instructors Christopher Meerdink and Lyndi Williams Krause will sing the various roles.

"The reason I liked this show is because it's perfect for college programs," Ramo said. "It's modular. Michael Ching says you can use as many or as few scenes as you like, and for me, it enabled me to use every student that auditioned."

The contemporary piece — which has been staged a couple of times by Amarillo Opera — gives the students exposure to new styles of music and new character types, as well.

"Since we're not dealing with kings and queens (in the production), it's a real experience they can relate to," Ramo said.




Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.