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UNC opera groups to perform companion pieces Friday

Senior Vincent Povazsay, a student conductor, said both stories are based on Schicchi — a character mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno” — who is called on to help a family falsify their late uncle’s will to receive his inheritance.

Povazsay said the second show, “Buoso’s Ghost,” is somewhat of a spinoff. The show picks up exactly where the first half of the performance leaves off, with musicians and singers in the same spots, playing the same bars of music.

“It’s actually a very interesting pairing musically, and theatrically the plot goes together very well because a lot of questions are answered,” Povazsay said.

Povazsay also said Puccini’s show is a classical opera, and it is part of the standard opera repertoire. He was familiar with this music prior to starting the show, but said Ching’s show was new to him.

“It’s absolutely meant to be the most absurd thing you’ve ever seen in your life, and it’s something that would never ever happen in real life,” he said.

Junior Evan Adair, a singer in the show, had the opportunity to meet Ching last semester when the composer came to visit UNC. He said Ching understands how to set words to music and bring out the text so that it is more humorous.

“His music is great — it’s really hard to write an opera in the 21st century, given that we’ve had so many composers who have already done it so well,” Adair said.

“It’s really hard to create something on scale with that.”

Bobb Robinson, UNC Opera’s director, was approached by Povazsay about the collaboration after becoming director in 2012. He gave the 15 opera singers the music rights before winter break, and the group has been rehearsing throughout the semester.

Robinson was drawn to the fact that the composer of “Buoso’s Ghost” is still alive — something that’s uncommon for many operas.

Robinson said when Ching came to visit, students were able to talk to him about how he works and creates.

“With opera, most of the things that are commonly performed are older works written in the 18th and 19th centuries, so all you really have is the printed music, not their intentions or things they would have changed in hindsight,” Robinson said.

“It’s a great insight into the mind of the composer, and students don’t usually get that opportunity.”

The show is one of 19 events in the UNC Scholarship Benefit Series, which raises money for student musician scholarships, and it is the only show in the series that the UNC Opera is performing in.

Povazsay said the concert also marks the second performance combining a full orchestra and the opera.

Both Povazsay and Adair said working together requires more rehearsal time and an understanding of the other’s parts, but that the collaborative performance will be worth the extra work.

“It’s been kind of a blessing to have (Povazsay) to bolster the performance,” Adair said.

“It’s a completely different feel — you have to really get to know the music to work with 30 or 40 other instruments.”

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