Building bridges through Opera

Opening night of “L'enfant et les sortileges” Photo: Ben Freedman for the University of Miami
By Amanda M. Perez

Opening night of “L'enfant et les sortileges” Photo: Ben Freedman for the University of Miami

Building bridges through Opera

By Amanda M. Perez
Frost School of Music’s Opera Program set to debut production of “L'enfant et les sortileges.”

It is the peak of World War I when a soldier finds himself wounded on a battlefield by an explosion – and during his last breath, he goes through a life review. This is the scene Jeffrey Buchman, assistant professor in the Frost School of Music, has created for the opening of the upcoming Opera production, “L'enfant et les sortileges.”

“This opera is about a rude child who is reprimanded by the objects in his room which he has been destroying. It’s an abstract piece because he’s then surprised to find that the unhappy objects in his room come to life and punish him,” said Buchman, the artistic director of the opera. “He later finds empathy and remorse for those he has wronged and reflects back on it on the battlefield.”

Buchman said this is an opera unlike any other. Through the course of creation, he and Alan Johnson, professor and music director, have created a multidisciplinary production by collaborating with the School of Communication.

“We’ve incorporated a great amount of virtual animation and graphic design to convey the story in a unique way,” said Johnson.

Performances will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Clark Recietal Hall in the Weeks Center for Recording and Performance.

Izia Lindsay, a lecturer at the School of Communication, said this has been a great learning experience.

“When I was approached to help with this I thought it was a great idea to bridge gaps between different departments that usually don’t work together,” said Lindsay. “It’s important as a university to utilize all kinds of talents and create connections between schools.”

Buchman, along with Johnson, have also been working closely with students who have used this as a learning experience, as well. Beatriz Menendez, a junior vocal performance major, used this opportunity to learn more about directing. Throughout the semester, she has been shadowing Buchman to learn more about different parts of the industry other than performance.

“It’s always been something I’ve been interested in learning more about. It makes me feel good to know that Frost gives you the freedom to explore different parts of the field,” said Menendez.

For Buchman, students like Menendez inspire him to continue his passion through education.

“I love to be an open door for people. I love discovering what students are interested in and help add branches to their training,” he said.

Johnson said that watching the students go through the process of learning is the most rewarding part for him.

“it’s always exciting. With students, we always see the potential within these artists that sometimes they do not see themselves. Through rehearsals you get to see them realize what they had in them that maybe they did not know before, and that is exhilarating,” he said.

Johnson urges anyone who is interested in the opera to come experience it for themselves.

“It’s amazing to see what students at the Frost School of Music are doing. It’s something that the entire university should take notice of because they’re doing a terrific job,” Johnson added. “What we do theatrically here ranks with the very best that you will find anywhere in the South Florida area.”

For more information visit https://opera.frost.miami.edu/index.html