JOPLIN, Mo. —
There's nothing like great writing in the hands of great singers, and a production of Heartland Opera Theatre features both.
"A Most Ingenious Paradox" is a revue of some of the more famous works of Gilbert and Sullivan, the 19th century playwrights who arguably led to today's modern musical.
"(W.S.) Gilbert had a way of taking on social issues and customs, and poking fun at them," said director Susan Smith. "He wasn't afraid to take new movements of the day, and because he used witty humor and rhymes, he got away with it."
"Paradox" features music from six of the duo's works, mainly from "The Pirates of Penzance," "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "The Mikado." Originally arranged for Opera Kansas in 2008, it features a representation of Queen Victoria, who, as a narrator, ties the storylines together and shares history of the duo and their works.
"She lets the audience know about her supposed dislike of Gilbert, as opposed to her 'dear Arthur (Sullivan),'" Smith said.
Its title is inspired by "Pirates," from "(A Paradox)", where Frederic finds out that he was born on a leap year's extra day, meaning he can't get married to the girl who has captured his heart. The one-night-only show features five singers and the queen narrator, played by Ann Lile.
The five singers in the revue have been busy with other projects but have leaped into their performances, Smith said.
"Two of them are experienced, professional singers and three are students," Smith said. "Between PSU and MSSU, we're well represented by both schools. All of them have been involved in other productions this semester. But even the students have had professionalism and had their music well in hand. Now, in the dress rehearsals, we're at the point of really enjoying it."
The revue features soprano Dyanne Lile, an MSSU senior majoring in voice performance. No stranger to Heartland productions, she has performed in "Pagliacci" and a recent performance of "Carmina Burana."
Dyanne Lile has been selected for an Italian opera program, which she will attend this summer.
Organized by Wichita State University, the Canta in Italia program will be held in Lucca, Italy. A fundraising recital for the trip will be held on May 3.
Other performers include: