Blair presents Little Women, the opera


Corinne Fombelle, Assistant Life Editor

Months of hard work and dedication have gone into the upcoming performance of Mark Adamo’s Little Women. The Hustler had the chance to sit down with Lauren Urquhart, a junior vocal performance major, to discuss the show and its preparation process.

The 1998 opera is a two-hour adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic book, Little Women with music by Mark Adamo. The story follows four sisters, Meg (Maria Servodidio), Jo (Samantha Long), Beth (Lauren Urquhart), and Amy (Danielle Bavli) as they cope with new stages in their lives.

“The show revolves around Jo’s discovery and reluctant acceptance that things change. Adamo really plays up the drama of Jo’s inner conflict, the nostalgia of the familial relationships, and the love between the sisters,” said Urquhart.

Half an hour of academic credit is given to the vocalists for an approximately eleven and a half hour per week schedule of rehearsals, which has more than doubled during the final days pre-show.

The cast of characters includes fifteen vocalists, who got the parts after auditions last spring. Over the summer, individual practice began, and they each read the book. Urquhart spoke fondly of the bonds they have formed over the hours of rehearsals and time spent together offstage.

“The four sisters go out to lunch and dinner often, and we watched the presidential debates together. It shows in the opera because you can’t fake relationships like that. Spending that time together has really allowed us to get closer to one another and do justice to the characters Louisa May Alcott created,” said Urquhart.

The music is highly challenging for the singers because of its atonal modern style and difficult pitch range. They are joined by a different orchestra for each of the two acts along with student pianists Curtis Serafin and William Woodard. Keeping all of these musical elements in sync requires conductor Professor Robin Fountain to be visible on a screen in the back of the auditorium.

Certain parts of the story have brought the show’s director, Dr. Gayle Shay, to tears multiple times. While the plot is mostly dramatic, Urquhart also assured it has its funny moments as well. Overall, she is excited to share what they have created.

“We want to do justice to the story. I’m really excited for the work that we’ve done. So much heart and soul has been poured into this production,” said Urquhart.

The opera premieres in Ingram Hall on Friday, November 11th at 8 p.m. and has its second and final show on Sunday, November 13th at 2 p.m. It will be live streamed online for those who cannot make it in person.