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BSU to stage comic opera 'Doctor Miracle'

From left: Carson Carter, Savanna Hagerty, Tayler Borders and Carissa Bolles rehearse for “Doctor Miracle” on Tuesday at BSU. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI—Bemidji State University's Department of Music will host performances of the opera "Doctor Miracle" at the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex Friday through Sunday, March 1-3. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on March 3.

Originally written in French, "Le Docteur Miracle" is a one-act comic opera written by George Bizet when he was only 18 years old. Bizet was a French composer from the Romantic era best known for his work entitled "Carmen," which has become one of the most widely performed operas within the entire opera industry.

Under the direction of Dr. Cory J. Renbarger, associate professor and director of opera theater at BSU, students started individual rehearsals in the fall. In January, they began to rehearse as a full cast and have spent all of February staging and finalizing the show for performances in March. The hour-long performance will be set in the Victorian era and will be performed in English.

Renbarger explained the story: "There's this guy who shows up to court the daughter and is not welcome, so he goes through a whole bunch of personalities and costume changes to try and thwart the father and get the daughter's hand in marriage. A feature of the piece is this omelet quartet, where the young guy pretends to be a chef, and he comes in and serves them all this big omelet. Essentially then tells them all it was poison and only he has the antidote, but obviously that's a lie. It's just dumb fun. It's a 150-year-old show that's still funny."

The formulation of this opera required collaborations with people and departments across campus and the community.

"It takes a considerable amount of time, talent and resources to put an opera together," Renbarger said. "Each individual, including singers, pianists, artists, conductors, orchestra members, technical crew, lighters, costumers and more, have to give their all to produce a good product. Opera is sometimes referred to as the 'all-encompassing art.' I feel this is true and part of the joy is the synergy of all this talent after the arduous process and demanding work required of so many."

Scott Guidry, associate professor and director of bands, will conduct the pit orchestra, which is made up of both BSU students and professional musicians. Renbarger, the show's artistic director, collaborated with Fred Rogers, costume designer, to come up with the concept for the set this year. BSU graduate NikkiLee Nolden, local school music teacher, is the stage manager. BSU student Bailey Harkins will serve as the makeup artist. BSU student Nathan Datres will serve as the lighting designer and chief set builder.

Laurette will be performed by Kari Norheim and Carissa Bolles.

Véronique will be performed by Emily Bergeron and Savanna Hagerty.

Silvio, Pasquin and Doctor Miracle will be performed by Ian Trosen and Tayler Borders.

Le Podestat, the mayor, will be performed by Markus Babris and Carson Carter.

The cast of "Doctor Miracle" is a double cast, so students will perform on alternating nights.

The performances will be held in the Main Theater of the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and students, and all BSU and Northwest Technical College students will be admitted free with a valid ID. Tickets will be available at the door.