Every year, the Bemidji State University Department of Music works across disciplines to produce a full opera production for the Bemidji community. This year, with COVID-19 guiding in-person activities, the production took to the big screen with a movie production of selected scenes from popular operas.
Under the direction of Dr. Cory Renbarger, associate professor of music, students worked closely with Bemidji’s NLFX Professional audio, video, lighting and editing company to produce a 60-minute feature film called “Things lost, Things Found.” The music department launched the production with two goals in mind, Renbarger said.
Like many classic operas, the film is split into two halves, or acts. Act one focuses on moments of loss, loneliness and death in opera theatre includes scenes from “Our Town” by Ned Rorem, “Carmen” by Georges Bizet and “Street Scene” by Kurt Weill and focuses on moments of loss, loneliness and death in opera theatre.
Act two is filled with moments of love, discovery and birth with scenes from “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein," "The Tender Land" by Aaron Copland and "L’incoronazione di Poppea" by Claudio Monteverdi.
The premiere of Things lost, Things Found” is set for 7:30 p.m. on May 21 and will be available free to the public on the Bemidji State University website and social media channels.
While the experience was out of the ordinary for the faculty, staff and students involved, Renbarger said the production offered a unique learning experience.
The formulation of this opera required collaborations with people and departments across campus and the community.
Bemidji State’s Eric Gustafson and Dan Will, adjunct instructors of music, coordinated orchestral and keyboard work for the entire show including performances by the music department’s Dr. Hilary Lowery, assistant professor on the clarinet, Sarah Weisbrod, adjunct instructor on the flute, Dr. Miriam Webber, assistant professor on the bassoon, and Ryan Webber, adjunct instructor on the trombone.
Renbarger, who was also the show’s artistic director, collaborated with BSU alumnus Fred Rogers ‘12 to form set design and costume concepts while 2021 music grad Bailey Harkins was the primary makeup artist for the cast.
In addition, the Bemidji State University Bemidji Choir also provided additional voices to the final scene under the direction of Dr. Dwight Jilek, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities.