‘Alcina’ brings opera back to Con stage

The nationally acclaimed Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music has welcomed live performances back to campus. On the steps outside the Boesel Musical Arts Center, the Baldwin Wallace Opera program performed the Italian Opera, Alcina, from October 11th through the 14th 

Alcina is an Italian opera that tells the story of an enchantress who lures knights to her island. Alcina lures Ruggerio to her island, a knight whose betrothed, Bradamante comes to rescue him.  

The program took place in the outdoor area in front of The Boesel Musical Arts Center to allow for the performance to take place without the restrictions of masks to guarantee they would have no production issues with covid breakouts. This change from performing on a stage to working outside allowed for some interesting uses of space. The projection designer utilized the side of the building to display projections to enhance the show to stand in place of having a traditional set. The show also used subtitles projected onto the Boesel Music Center to understand the Italian opera better.  

Olivia Helman, who played Alcina for the shows on October 12th and the 14th, is a Junior at Baldwin Wallace who is majoring in vocal performance and music history. Helman said: “I was not used to playing the seductive enchantress. It was interesting because it is a different type completely outside the realm of what I was used to. I enjoyed finding ways to relate to her as a character.” 

Helman described the process of preparing for the show as very fast-tracked, the entire show coming together in about a month. Helman noted that in the vocal performance major, you are required to take four semesters of diction, including English, French, German, and Italian. These required courses allowed cast members to quickly handle the music and lyrics despite being in a different language.  

For Helman, this was the first time she had performed opera live; “it was a very surreal experience, I had never done this in any capacity except virtual.” This being the first time the Opera program has taken the stage in a few years; this show was quite the undertaking and is a sign of more events coming back to Baldwin Wallace in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.