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Examining “The Marriage of Figaro” from a mental health perspective

In conjunction with Cameron University’s current academic festival, “Care and Health: A Generational Approach,” the Department of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts will present highlights from “The Marriage of Figaro.” The performance will examine Mozart's timeless opera with a unique focus on mental health themes. The performance is slated for Sunday, February 18, at 4 p.m. in the McCutcheon Recital Hall and is open to the public at no charge.

"Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is celebrated for its comedic brilliance and captivating storyline,” says Dr. Christian Morren, associate professor of music. “In this special adaptation, we delve into the intricate world of mental health, weaving a narrative that resonates with the challenges and triumphs faced by individuals navigating their emotional well-being. By blending the beauty of Mozart's composition with the relevance of mental health, we aim to create an unforgettable experience that resonates with audiences of all backgrounds."

The concert aims to destigmatize conversations around mental health by portraying the characters' experiences with empathy and authenticity.

“Through the powerful medium of opera, we invite the audience to explore the complexities of the human mind, fostering understanding and compassion,” Morren says.

Morren has enlisted the musical expertise of guest vocalists Dr. Melody Baggech, Zachary DeVault and Alan Marshall as well as pianist Rudy Lupinski for this performance.

A professor of voice and director of choral activities at East Central University (ECU), Baggech is an active performer and scholar. She has appeared in numerous operas and is a frequent soloist with the Garvin County Choral Society. Additionally, she has been a featured performer with the South Central chapter of the College Music Society and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Texoma Region Artist Series. Baggech will undertake the role of Susanna.

Figaro will be portrayed by Zachary DeVault, a baritone from the Oklahoma City/Edmond area. A veteran vocalist, DeVault has performed extensively throughout the state with companies such as Painted Sky Opera, and Cimarron Opera, as well as Westminster Presbyterian, St. James Catholic, and Christ the King Catholic churches.

Alan Marshall takes on the role of Count Almaviva. He recently appeared as Melchior in “Amahl And the Night Visitors,” the title character in “Macbeth,” Falstaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Roger Debris in “The Producers” and Friar Laurence in “Romeo and Juliet.” In addition to performing on stage, he is also a director and has directed “The Marriage of Figaro” for the Garvin County Choral Society and at ECU. Marshall serves as the music director and worship leader at Pauls Valley First United Methodist Church.

Born in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in Ada, pianist Rudy Lupinski is the staff accompanist at ECU, where he has taught music theory and piano. In addition, he is the music director and organist at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ada. Lupinski has been involved with more than 60 musicals and operas and has been the rehearsal pianist for the Garvin County Choral Society in Pauls Valley. He has served on the boards of the Ada Arts Council and Ada Community Theatre. In collaboration with Victoria Davison, he has completed more than 90 pieces of choral music, many of which have been published by OCP, Lorenz Music and Santa Barbara Music.

Morren will take on the role of Countess Almaviva. The ensemble will also feature CU alumna Destiny Abila as Cherubino and junior music major Sophia Avila as Barbarina.

The McCasland Foundation of Duncan is the primary sponsor for CU’s academic festival series. Additional funding is provided by the Cameron University Foundation and through the CU Lectures and Concerts Series.



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