Feeling like pros
Feeling like pros
Feeling like pros
Tessa Hoffman has been singing most of her life, but this summer, she feels like a true professional.
For the first time, the University of Iowa School of Music is paying cast members of the summer opera. Hoffman and eight other principal singers will receive $1,000 for their work in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. The 12 ensemble members will be paid $500.
“It’s a nice middle ground between doing school shows and paid productions,” says Hoffman, who grew up in Dyersville and graduated in May from the UI School of Music.
Hoffman has been involved in UI productions before, including a principal role in last year’s summer opera, but she’s looking forward to being paid for what she loves to do.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” says Hoffman, “At Iowa we’re being prepared to become professionals and this policy works to simulate a professional environment,” she says.
Nicholas Miguel, a UI third-year doctoral student from DeKalb, Ill., says receiving a paycheck for his singing this summer has made preparing for the opera less stressful.
“The pay means I don’t have to work as much elsewhere so I can focus more on learning my part and I’m less exhausted for rehearsal,” says Miguel, who will play Don Alhambra, the antagonistic Grand Inquisitor of Spain.
William LaRue Jones, director of orchestral studies in the UI School of Music, believes the new pay policy is a well-earned reward for these hard-working students.
“It’s not a livable wage for two months of work but it is some compensation and it shows them that their time is appreciated,” says Jones. “This year the theater is not doing summer repertories, so we’re able to pay the singers and that’s wonderful for the students.”
In fact, the Iowa Summer Repertory Theatre is not scheduled to perform this summer or in 2016 due to flooding-related difficulties, as well as the challenges of moving the Performing Arts Production Unit into the new Hancher Auditorium. In the meantime, Jones hopes music students will continue being paid for their summer performance work.
This summer’s opera will be directed by Nicholas Wuehrmann and the orchestra will be conducted by Jones. This will mark the fifth summer in a row a Gilbert and Sullivan opera has been performed—and for good reason. Their operas tend to be lively, self-aware, and accessible, with The Gondoliers being no exception. “The music is high quality and the writing is hilarious,” says Miguel.
In the opera, two gondoliers from Venice discover that one of them is the rightful heir to the throne of Barataria, and until it is revealed which is the king, they reign together. Featuring Gilbert’s renowned satire of this period’s aristocracy, endearing characters, and Sullivan’s soaring score, a night out to see The Gondoliers promises to be memorable.
“It’s really great for families to go to—it’s upbeat and the dialogue is clean,” says Jones.
8 p.m., Thursday–Sunday, July 9th-12th
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts
$20 for nonstudents
$15 for senior citizens
$10 for students and youth
$5 for UI students
Hancher Box Office in the Old Capitol Town Center
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays
319-335-1160 or 800-426-2437
Principal members of the The Gondoliers
Jordan Pohlmann: Guiseppe Palmieri
Benjamin Laur: Marco Palmieri
Hannah Green: Gianetta
Tessa Hoffman: Tessa
Stephen Smith: Luiz
Penelope Makig: Casilda
Chris Dockum: The Duke of Plaza-Toro
Brenda Randall: The Duchess of Plaza-Toro
Nicholas Miguel: Don Alhambra del Bolero
People with special needs for access, seating, and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment. The School of Music and the Department of Theatre Arts are units of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For accommodations at the concert, contact the School of Music at 319-335-1603. For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events, visit the Arts Iowa website.