Symphony Orchestra at The University of Southern Mississippi will
perform a two-hour evening of truly beautiful highlights from Richard
Wagner's imposing volume of work, "The Ring of Nibelung"
at 7:30 p.m. April 22 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium
in Hattiesburg and at 8 p.m. April 24 at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.
singers will join an expanded Southern Miss orchestra in the performances,
including Heldentenor Douglas Biggs, dramatic bass Herbert Echkoff,
and dramatic soprano Sheila Smith. Projections of paintings inspired
by the tale will be featured behind the orchestra as they play.
and drama to the production, dancers from Ballet Mississippi, a
company based in Jackson, will perform during the performance.
is one of the most ambitious and most profound musical works ever
composed. It begins in mythical times, ends with the beginning of
modern humanity, and contains an enormous range of emotions. It
is also a story about basic human conflict, one between unconditional
love and a lust for power.
started with Wagner's idea for a dramatic poem, 'Siegfried's Death,'
to be set in music and was inspired by the story of a hero's death
as told in the "Nibelungenlied" - the tales of Germanic
mythology," said Dr. Jay Dean, musical director for the Symphony
at Southern Miss. "It is a massive work that would take 16
hours to perform in its entirety. We are presenting what we feel
are the most beautiful highlights of the works."
Biggs is a
nationally renowned operatic tenor, having performed with companies
from Durham, N.C., to Anchorage, Alaska. His Heldentenor designation
is a German voice classification that means "hero" tenor--one
who specializes in singing heavy tenor roles with a striking or
music demands a robust style of singing by performers with great
stamina and volume--an ability that all three of our guest performers
possess," said Dr. Maryann Kyle, assistant professor of voice
in the School of Music at Southern Miss. "If you are a true
Wagnerian singer, you can sing forever and over any orchestra in
the world. It's like being the lead trumpet player in a big band."
American bass-baritone, is well known to international opera, symphony
and oratorio audiences. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in
"La Traviata" in 1997. He holds degrees in vocal performance
as well as German language and literature from the University of
critics alike have hailed Smith as one of the great singing actresses
of the day. Praised in equal measure for her luminous vocalism and
her riveting acting, she has appeared at leading opera houses in
America and Europe.
For those attending
the Jackson concert on April 24, Dean has asked Dr. Robert Bailey,
professor of musicology at New York University, to give a free pre-concert
lecture at 6:30 p.m. on an overview of the work "Der Ring des
Nibelungen" at the Thalia Mara Hall Mezzanine.
The 83rd season
of the Symphony Orchestra at Southern Miss is sponsored by BancorpSouth,
a long-time supporter of the program. The performance and pre-concert
lecture in Jackson are supported as well by the Mississippi Humanities
Council and presented in cooperation with Mississippi Opera.
to either concert, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601)
266-5418 or (800) 844-8425 or order online at www.usm.edu/tickets.