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Scene Summaries with Cast

by Pollyanna Eyler, dramaturg What can you expect when you come to the BYU Opera Scenes? Our “Dreams and Nightmares” program explores how quickly one can turn into the other, and how the line between fantasy and reality can sometimes be very thin.  We’ve modernized and adapted many of these scenes, so you may be able to relate to what is happening on the stage. We’ve even put in some of our own modern musical “easter eggs” specifically for our BYU audience members. See if you can catch them!  My hope is that anyone, whether they are brand new to opera or a seasoned veteran, will be able to laugh, cry, enjoy, and be enlightened by our diverse and beautiful program.  ― Shea Owens, Opera Director


  • Blue Cast (B):  Wednesday & Friday, February 16th & 18th 
  • White Cast (W):  Thursday & Saturday, February 17th & 19th


Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel are sent by their mother to pick strawberries in the forest. As they wander in the woods they risk becoming lost among strange creatures and … witches! Will anyone come to save them? Have you ever been lost, or felt that way? What brought you comfort or helped you find your way back?

  • Hansel: Sanae Fujii (B); Camilla Anderson (W)
  • Gretel: Olivia Aurich (B); Madison Ecker (W)
  • Sandman: Marianne Wood (B); Rebekah Schnepf (W)


These witches are not of the gingerbread variety …

  • Witches: All Female Voices (B & W)


A Midsummer Night's Dream
Fairies played tricks in the forest that backfired on two couples caught in love triangles. The next day, Puck with his pixie dust awakens the lovers to new perspectives of their true love. Will the previous day’s nightmarish events distance the couples or reunite them under the dreamy chimes of wedding bells?

  • Hermia: Sarah Knight (B); Jamie Johnson (W)
  • Helena: Ariana Abadia (B); Lindsay Whitney (W)
  • Lysander: Matthew Paez (B); Lorenzo Larios (W)
  • Demetrius: Ethan Simpson (B); Spencer Baldwin (W)


Così Fan Tutte
or “Women Are Like That” Two soldiers, recently engaged, take a wager that their fiancées will remain true while they are off at war. To test the women, the men agree to disguise themselves in order to flirt with the other man’s girl, even going so far as to gain attention by pretending to be poisoned. When that fails, they bribe a servant, Despina, to convince the ladies that there’s no harm in flirting and having a little fun! Will the fiancées stay true or follow Despina’s advice?

  • Despina: Emily Steele (B); McKenzie Bahr (W)
  • Dorabella: Nicole Dayton (B); Alexis Hopkins Fowler (W)
  • Fiordiligi: Rachael Anderton (B); Anna Low (W)


Don Giovanni
A wealthy, powerful Don Juan, bent on daily new conquests, attempts to lure away a young fiancee from her wedding! Will she succumb to his seductive offer of marriage with his temptingly large estate on the horizon?

  • Zerlina: McKenzie Bahr (B); Emily Steele (W)
  • Don Giovanni: Ethan Simpson (B); Blake Wayment (W)
  • Elvira: Anna Low (B); Ellie Niver (W)


La fille du régiment
“The Daughter of the Regiment” An aunt recently rescued her orphaned niece, Marie, who was being raised by an army regiment. Today’s voice lesson is an attempt to turn Marie into a “proper lady,” but her friend visiting from the regiment doesn’t think that’s right for her. It's two against one; who will prevail?

  • Marquise: Sarah Knight (B); Alexis Hopkins Fowler (W)
  • Marie: Grace Hancock (B); Cassie Hyatt (W)
  • Sulpice: Blake Wayment (B); Ethan Simpson (W)


Ariadne auf Naxos “
Ariadne of the Isle of Naxos” A woman named Ariadne is abandoned by her lover on an island, thus dying of a broken heart while she is watched over by nymphs. This modern retelling of a Greek myth places a terminal cancer patient under the watchcare of her nurses. Will Ariadne come to terms with the end of her relationship and her life?

  • Ariadne: Lindsay Whitney (B); Ariana Abadia (W)
  • Najade: Rachael Anderton (B); Grace Hancock (W)
  • Dryade: Alexis Hopkins Fowler (B); Nicole Dayton (W)
  • Echo: Cassie Hyatt (B); Anna Low (W)


Le Comte Ory
“Count Ory” While the men of the town are off on a crusade, the ladies are keeping safe in a castle nunnery, away from stormy weather and the lecherous Count Ory and his cronies, who have already tried to disguise themselves to gain entry. Today’s modern interpretation hits closer to home with the young women singing safely from inside a building with their stalwart leaders who implore them to stay firm against the distractions of the world tempting them to stray from the path. Do you recognize a few additional notes of inspiration, and will it be enough to inspire the ladies to stay safe?

  • Comtesse: Ellie Niver (B); Rachael Anderton (W)
  • Ragonde: Jamie Johnson (B); Sarah Knight (W)


The Merry Widow
A recent widow is wealthy and the belle of the ball, yet the night is young and all is fair in love and war, thus many intrigues ensue! As the men struggle to attain love and money, they sing of how difficult - and wonderful - women can be. Come see the full opera in Fall ‘22 to celebrate 50 years of opera in the deJong!

  • All Male Voices (B & W)


The Gondoliers
Two Gondolier brothers have been told that one of them was adopted as a child and is actually the King of Barataria! He was also betrothed to princess Casilda as an infant, which complicates matters, as both of the brothers are recently married. The betrothed princess is in love with Luiz, her family’s servant! The nursemaid of the child-Prince has just been found, and will reveal which of the brothers is the King.  Which man will be crowned King and how can this fairytale possibly deliver a happy ending for all three couples?

  • Tessa: Rennan McConkie (B); Kyra Fowler (W)
  • Gianetta: Rebekah Schnepf (B); Olivia Aurich (W)
  • Casilda: Madison Ecker (B); McKenzie Bahr (W)
  • Inez: Alexis Hopkins Fowler (B); Jamie Johnson (W)
  • Duchess: Bella Thurgood (B); Sanae Fujii (W)
  • Marco: Brett Ballard (B); Matthew Paez (W)
  • Giuseppe: Blake Wayment (B); Ethan Simpson (W)
  • Luiz: Lorenzo Larios (B & W)
  • Don Alhambra: Spencer Baldwin (B & W)
  • Duke: Scott Young (B & W)

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One of the first things many people think of when they hear the word Christmas is gifts. Gifts and Christmas have been interchangeable for a very long time in our world’s history. But over time, what people think of as gifts has shifted. Each new era or generation defines it differently. There were monetary gifts such as gold, frankincense, and myrrh in the days of Christ, when all things were handcrafted and only the wealthiest of people could have precious ore or spices from distant lands. Or perhaps, during the great wars of the twentieth century, a gift of war bonds was precious when patriotism and the survival of the world made things like toys seem trivial to many. Now, everyone wants the latest iPhone or the newest technology. Throughout our lives, what we want also changes. Gifts shift from toys, games, and candy to technology or clothes–all inconsequential things that provide short-term entertainment. However, all of these things fade and have less impact on our true joy. Joy can really be found in the simple things of life.
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Cultural Exchanges

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During planning for Christmas Around the World, Jeanette reached out to people who had the opportunity to tour and represent the United States this summer. I had the opportunity to go to tour in Spain with American Rhythm and the opportunities we had to meet people and learn about their cultures and their experiences, were truly incredible. We were asked about our experiences with meeting other people and what it was like to share cultural gifts with them. These questions were used to get answers from dancers and their answers were in the videos and audio you will see and hear throughout the show. These are the more detailed versions of my personal answers.
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Gifts of Music and Cultures: Poland

December 02, 2022 10:02 PM
Throughout our time in Spain we had the opportunity to meet so many people from all around the world. From Mexico, Poland, Bulgaria, and of course Spain, we were able to meet so many amazing people and make so many amazing connections. We didn’t all speak the same language, many of them didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak many of their languages. So relying on the power of song and dance, we were able to connect through different aspects.
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