9th Haugh Vocal Competition Extremely Close

The 9th Annual Harold Haugh Light Opera Vocal Competition, sponsored by the Comic Opera Guild since 2000, awarded cash prizes to more finalists than ever before. Eight finalists received awards in the March 24, 2012 competition, in addition to the Audience Favorite Prize, the Young Artist Award and a contract from the Jackson Symphony.

Kate Tombaugh, a mezzo-soprano with a beautifully clear voice and fine acting ability, prevailed as the $2000 First Place Winner. Ms. Tombaugh hails from Streator, Illinois, and has degrees from Illinois Weslyan University and Cincinnati’s College of Music. Her rendition of Sexy Lady (Moore) brought down the house and also won her the Jackson Symphony contract.

Second place ($1000) went to Rainelle Krause, a soprano from Tampa, Florida. A highlight of Rainelle’s performance was a terrific rendition of Olympia’s Aria from The Tales of Hoffman. Third Place became a problem when the scores resulted in a tie for John Riesen, a tenor from MSU and Laura Strickling, a soprano from the Peabody Institute. Judge Nada Radakovich settled the problem by generously donating $200 to allow Mr. Riesen and Ms. Strickling to each receive a $400 award. Mr. Riesen also won the Audience Favorite Award.

The Young Artist was a 19 year old tenor, Christian Ketter, from Chicago. It was difficult for the judges to conceive that this young man could have such a strong, rich voice at his age, and hope the award will help him continue his studies and perfect what is already a remarkable instrument.

The remaining finalists were: Christine Amon,Benjamin Laur, Shawn Mlynek, Timothy Bruno and Joann Martinson.

The field for this running of the competition was the most tightly contested ever, with the fewest points separating many of the semi-finalists from the finals. John Guidinger, the competition’s promoter and organizer, was extremely happy with the quality of the vocalists, and vows that there will be a tenth annual competition in Jackson next year. He has already begun the process of raising the more than $8000 necessary for this to happen.

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AMERICA’S GOT SINGING TALENT

SATURDAY,
MARCH 24, 2012
7:30 pm
MICHIGAN THEATRE
JACKSON, MICHIGAN
Tickets on sale at the Theater or call 517-783-0962– $15.00
124 Mechanic Street, Jackson • www.michigantheatre.org

We call it “America’s Got Singing Talent” because this competition is as good or better than anything you’ll take in on TV. This unique event rewards singers who can ENTERTAIN you, as they seek $4500 in awards.

In most vocal competitions, it’s enough to stand and sing, but not here! Singers must show what they can do with a song, specifically one from light opera, which demands that they can ACT. They are not only judged by a world-class group of judges, but also by the audience.

Held annually since 2000, the competition has awarded nearly $40,000 to singers. This year, first place will earn $2,000, second place $1000 and Third place $500, plus additional smaller awards.

It all takes place in the Michigan Theater in Jackson,MI, a 20s movie palace currently under restoration. Don’t miss the only competition of its type in the country!

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THE RED MILL’S FAMOUS SONGS

Victor Herbert’s THE RED MILL is one of those lucky Broadway shows, like “Annie Get Your Gun,” in which almost every song became well known. His scores for “Sweethearts” and “Naughty Marietta” also produced a number of hits, but no more so than this 1906 hit.

The Comic Opera Guild presented the complete show in enhanced concert form Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1 in Canton’s Village Theater. The show is set in Holland, and tells the story of Gretje, whose father tries to marry her to the Governor of Zeeland, until she is ultimately restored to her lover, Captain Van Damm.

BY THE SIGN OF THE MILL
The opening chorus is a cheery number for a group of girls in native costume, who are sitting for the ubiquitous Dutch painters. Its charming, lilting melody for the girls is contrasted against the responses of the men.

IF YOU LOVE BUT ME
Written to be sung by the show’s star, Tina, this lovely song has been made into a duet for her and Flora, one of the Dutch girls, by the Comic Opera Guild so that the audience will have more time to enjoy this tune.

MIGNONETTE
Tina tells the story of a soubrette named Mignonette in an upbeat song with some infectious lyrics such as “she has a fine tiara rara/and an auto touring car a/very thrifty girl is Mignonette!” It’s very catchy!

WHISTLE IT
This comedy number became a hit by insisting that when you’re about to swear, you should whistle the invective instead. Not a bad idea, and a lot of fun in this trio.

THE ISLE OF OUR DREAMS
Gretje and Captain Van Damm sing this beautiful duet, which became a very popular number for soprano and baritone.

WHEN YOU’RE PRETTY AND THE WORLD IS FAIR
This happy sentiment is only part of a larger ensemble called “The Accident,” but became so popular that it was excerpted and printed as separate sheet music.

MOONBEAMS
Gretje sings this ballad after she is locked up in the mill, pining for her lover. The number became an overnight sensation, and is still sung today. As is true of so many Broadway hits, it is often transposed for different voices.

THE STREETS OF NEW YORK
Before later songs sang the praises of New York, this song for the comedy team of Montgomery and Stone became a “must sing” for singers in that city. New Yorkers couldn’t get enough of lines like “Lucky’s the earl/who can marry a girl/from Fifth Avenue, New York!”

EVERY DAY IS LADIES DAY WITH ME
The Governor of Zeeland is actually a bit of a roué, and tells everyone of his conviction that every day is ladies’ day with him. Although he winds up with a wealthy widow in the show, she had better watch out, since he declares “I never could find any fun/In wasting all my time on one/So every day is ladies day with me.”

Enveloping these well-known numbers is a show that has been too rarely done of late, a situation the Comic opera Guild hopes to remedy with a new book written especially for this production, which removes the datedness of the original, quickens the pace and provides snappy humor reminiscent of later shows by Kern and Berlin.

THE COMIC OPERA GUILD offers a CD recording of the show in concert from 2004 and CD & DVD recordings of the 2011 stage production. The show is also available for rental.

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THE PRINCE OF PILSEN on CD

The Prince of Pilsen, by Gustav Luders and Frank Pixley, is now available on CD from the Comic Opera Guild.

The Guild’s recent production of this 1903 hit featured not only the complete score, but also the dialog. it proved indeed to be a very funny show.

Written to highlight the comedic talents of John W. Ransome, the script features a Cincinnati beer baron who speaks with a thick German accent. The line “Vass you effer in Cincinnati” was repeated in Vaudeville for years to follow, and was even used by Mel Brooks in a comedy routine.

Technically an operetta, the score is very tuneful and shows a simplification in ensemble writing that continued into the musical comedy. It combines romantic numbers with truly funny comedy numbers, and bows to the convention of including a patriotic finale at the end.

To the Guild’s knowledge, its recording is the only one that includes the complete musical score as well as dialog. It is available for $15.00 (music only) or $20.00 (complete with dialog). Details for ordering can be found at: comicoperaguild.org.

SONG LIST
ACT I
No. 1 OPENING CHORUS “IN DAYS OF OLD” ………………….. Francois, Edith and Chorus
No. 2 SONG “ARTIE”……………………………………………………. Artie and Women’s Chorus
No. 3 SONG “A SEASON AT THE SHORE”…………………….. Mrs. Crocker And Vassar Girls
No. 4 ENSEMBLE ………………………………………………… Francois, Hans, Edith and Chorus
No. 14 SONG “THE MESSAGE OF THE VIOLETS” ………………………………. Tom and chorus
No. 5 ENSEMBLE “TO FUN AND FOLLY”………………………………….. Prince and Students
No. 6 “STEIN SONG” …………………………………………………………… Prince and Students
No. 7 TRIO “THE WIDOW”……………………………………………. Mrs. Crocker, Hans, Artie
No. 8 DUET “KEEP IT DARK” ………………………………………………… Sidonie and Francois
No. 9 DUET “SMOKES”…………………………………………….. Prince and Nellie, with chorus
No. 10 FINALE ACT 1………………………………………………………………………….. Ensemble

INTERMISSION

ACT II
No. 11 ENSEMBLE “THE FOX HUNT” ………………………………………….. Edith and Chorus
No. 12 SONG “HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO” …………………………………………. Hans
No. 13 “THE AMERICAN GIRL” ………………… Mrs. Crocker, Vassar Girls 1, 2, 3 and chorus No. 15 SONG “THE TALE OF THE SEASHELL” ……………………………….. Prince and chorus
No. 16 DUET “BACK TO THE BOULEVARDS” …………………………….. Francois and Sidonie No. 17 ENSEMBLE “THE FLOWER FETE” …………………… Mrs. Crocker, Edith and Chorus
No. 18 FINALE………………………………………………………………………. Tom And Company

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GIRL FROM UTAH ON CD

The recent complete production of THE GIRL FROM UTAH by Paul Rubens, Sidney Jones and Jerome Kern has now become available on CD.

The recording, featuring 18 singers with dual piano accompaniment, features not only all the songs added for the American production of the show in 1915, but also the opening chorus and first act finale that were cut for casting reasons in the original production.

Although the show is remembered today primarily for Jerome Kern’s first big hit (They’ll Never Believe Me), the quality of the remainder of the score is a pleasant discovery.

Considerable research went into putting the production together. Dialog for shows of this period is notoriously hard to find, often residing uncatalogued in library storage or in the hands of collectors. Dialog for the Girl from Utah was discovered in the National Library of Australia. The numbers added for the American run had to be sought out individually and fitted where original numbers from the British production had been.

SONG LIST
ACT I In Dumpelmeyer’s Restaurant

1 PROLOGUE ” Land of Let’s pretend”  ………………………..All            (Jerome Kern)
2 OPENING CHORUS ………………………………………………..All            (Sidney Jones)
3 SONG “Mother will be pleased” …… Amersham & Lady Amersham (Paul Rubens)
4 ENTRANCE OF THE ACTRESSES ……. Mona, Lydia., Sylvia, Alma & Chor. (Sidney Jones)
5 SONG AND CHORUS “Only to you” ………………… Dora & Chor.    (Paul Rubens)
6 SONG “Gilbert the Filbert”……………………………….. Sandy            (Herman Finck)
7 DUET “Out of It ” ……………………………… Trimmit and Clancy         (Paul Rubens)
8 SONG and CHORUS “A Girl from Utah” …………… Una and Chor. (Sidney Jones)
9 DUET “D’you follow me”…………………………………..Una and Sandy (Paul Rubens)
10 QUARTET “When we meet the Mormon” …… Una, Dora, Clancy, and Sandy (Paul Rubens)
11 DUET … “We’re getting on very well” ………… Dora and Trimmit   (Paul Rubens)
12 FINALE……………………………………………………………. All                  (Sidney Jones)
including “The Girl in the Clogs and Shawl” ……. Una, Trimmit, Sandy (Casling/Murphy)

INTERMISSION

ACT II, Scene 1 Outside Lord Orpington’s House
13 TRIO “where Has Una Gone” Dora, Clancy, Amersham, Trimmit, and Sandy (Paul Rubens)
14 SONG “Florrie The Flapper” ……………………………. Trimmit       (Herman Finck)
15 SONG “Call right here !” ………………………………Una and Women (Paul Rubens)
16 DUET “Some Sort of Girl” …………………………… Una and Sandy  (Jerome Kern)
17 TRIO ” The Garden Gate” ……………… Trimmit, Una and Sandy  (Sidney Jones)

ACT II, Scene 2 At the Arts Ball
18 CHORUS ” The Arts Ball” ………………………………………….. All (Sidney Jones)
19 SONG “What a dreadful thing to do” ……………… Dora and Chor. (Paul Rubens)
20 SONG “Nothing at All” ………………………………………… Clancy        (Paul Rubens)
21 DUET “They Didn’t Believe Me“ ……………….. Una and Sandy       (Jerome Kern)
22 SONG “You Never Can Tell” ………………………Una and Sandy       (Jerome Kern)
23 SONG “At Our Tango Tea” …………………………….. Trimmit           (Worten David)

24 SONG “Why Don’t They Dance the Polka?” …..Amersham and Women (Jerome Kern)

25    SONG  “Ballin’ The Jack” ……………………   Sandy and Chor.         (Chris Smith)
26     FINALE  “She’s a girl from Utah”………………………….  All     (Jones & Rubens)

The recording is available from the Comic Opera Guild at $15.00 (music only) and $20.00 (complete with dialog). Details for ordering may be found at: comicoperaguild.org

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The Festival of Doves

Tomas Breton
The Festival of Doves

Opera in One Act
English version by Thomas Petiet

Spanish zarzuelas are seldom seen north of the United States border, which is a shame, for they than be very entertaining. Although Placido Domingo has performed and promoted them in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, they haven’t traveled much outside the Spanish-speaking world.

La Verbena de la Paloma is in the 19th century style. Its well-constructed musical score is mated to a new English translation that is charmingly amusing, and the Spanish musical flavor is intoxicating.

In 1981, The Comic Opera Guild premiered its English version of the show. Although utilizing a piano rather than a full orchestra, the recording shows the promise that this one-acter holds. As a brief, refreshing departure from the run-of-the-mill, The Festival of Doves is worth considering. For information, visit comicoperaguild.org.

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THE MAGIC FLUTE in English

Mozart’s
THE MAGIC FLUTE
Opera in Two Acts
English version by Thomas Petiet

Never intended as a Grand Opera, The Magic Flute has had grandness imposed upon it by adoring admirers of Mozart. The Guild’s performing version returns to the musical theater roots of the show to create an operatic experience more accessible to new audiences.

Mozart’s collaborator, Emmanuel Shikaneder, ran a small theater in Vienna, and decided to collaborate with Mozart on a fairy tale “singspiel” that contained elements of the pair’s interest in Masonry. The lyrics, though workable, are not really high art.

Mr. Petiet’s translation essentially uses the German book and lyrics as inspiration to create and English version that reflects the folk-tale simplicity of the show while retaining the its magic. In doing so, this version is ideal for children and adults alike.

The Comic Opera Guild offers a recording of the show, as well as the ability for other producing companies to rent it. For information, go to comicoperaguild.org.

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A Night in Venice

Johann Strauss, Jr.
A Night in Venice

Operetta in Three Acts
English by Thomas Petiet

Premiered by the Comic Opera Guild in 1989, this new version boasts a completely new libretto and the original 1883 Strauss orchestration. Unlike the versions that have been available, this production uses no interpolated music. The new book replaces a decidedly silly and mediocre libretto with a coherent and amusing story that better suits the glory of Strauss’ music.

The authors of the libretto, Zell and Genee, had also written Der Bettelstudent, which they realized was much better than A Night in Venice. They had intended to give the poorer libretto to Carl Millocker, whom they considered a lesser composer to Strauss. On second thought, they decided that by switching the librettos, both shows might be a hit. They knew that Strauss, having read both scripts, wanted Der Bettelstudent, so they deceitfully told him that was just fine… that Millocker wanted A Night in Venice. The overly competitive Strauss immediately told them that, in that case, he wanted A Night in Venice!

Strauss’ folly was soon apparent, as the show was a failure due to the ridiculous story. The main protagonist, Barbara, wife of Senator DelAqua, appears hardly at all, and the plot waffles among secondary characters. As a result, the show has undergone numerous revisions since then, but without fixing the main problem.

Mr. Petiet has endeavored to restructure the plot to make sense, especially concerning the character Barbara. In this version, reassigned music makes Barbara the lead soprano, and she accepts an invitation to go to the Duke’s palace to spite her husband, who has become inattentive. Through circumstances, two other women, DelAcqua’s mistress Ciboletta, and the fishmonger Annina, also accept the duke’s invitation, but must wear a similar dress to Barbara in order to impersonate her. The licentious Duke soon has all he can handle!

This show is a fitting companion piece to Die Fledermaus, deserving of greater popularity than it has previously attained. The Comic Opera Guild offers a recording, as well as rental information of its production at comicoperaguild.org.

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DIE FLEDERMAUS in English

DIE FLEDERMAUS
Operetta in Three Acts by Johann Strauss
Lyrics by Thomas Petiet
Book by Richard Swain

Perhaps the most popular operetta in the world, Fledermaus overcomes even average translations. This new English version is anything but. It combines witty, urbane dialogue based on the original play, Le Reveillon, with clever lyrics by Thomas Petiet. Written by Richard Swain, who directed the Comic Opera Guild’s first production in 1975, the dialog was originally mated to lyrics by Gershom Morningstar. Mr. Petiet supplied the new lyrics in order to better match the intent of the original writers. The dialog has been retained for future productions, as it has proven its worth in fleshing out the characters and improving the comic situations in the show.

The lyrics are based on the author’s years of performances in the show, which the Guild produced four times in its history. They blend well with the script, and make it seem as though the show was originally written in English.

For companies with singers who can act, this Fledermaus is a certain crowd pleaser. The Comic Opera Guild offers the show for rental by other producing companies. Information can be found at comicoperaguild.org.

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ROBINSON CRUSOE, OFFENBACH

ROBINSON CRUSOE
Ann Operetta in Three Acts
By Jacques Offenbach
English by Thomas Petiet

Offenbach’s musical treatment of the famous Defoe story might have languished on the shelf forever had the Guild not seen the potential of editing and adapting this show for modern audiences.

The show was originally written for the Opera Comique, a more prestigious setting than that enjoyed by most of Offenbach’s operettas. Having risen in popularity since his Orpheus in the Underworld, the audacious composer could not longer be ignored by the French musical establishment, and so invited him to write a work for the classy theater, as long as he adhered to what its rules required.

Opera Comique in France did not mean “comic opera” necessarily. Works in that category included Bizet’s Carmen as well as Gounod’s Faust because they had spoken dialog, unlike the loftier pieces that appeared at the Grand Opera.

Offenbach was required to write a more romantic, less satiric piece which did not lampoon people who might be in the audience. The result was a very fleshed-out thing that went on far too long and didn’t remain in the repertory. Within it, however, were sections of the old brilliance that cried out for expression in a better vehicle.

Mr. Petiet completely restructured the comic opera and reduced its length by a third. Complete with upper-class snobs, rowdy sailors, cannibals and pirates. Robinson Crusoe now fits among the composer’s better works as an operetta. It is a treat for the entire family, and even contains an audience participation scene, in which a child is invited from the audience to act as interpreter for Crusoe and Friday.

The Comic Opera Guild offers a recording of its 1994 production as well as rental of the show for other producing companies. Information can be found at comicoperaguild.org.

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