The program for “A Night at the Opera” is so full, it brims with operatic snapshots from Handel to Stravinsky. Solos, duets, trios and quartets will unfold both familiar and new works and probably conclude with a bit of silliness. My guess is Gilbert and Sullivan.
Quadrivium, our Durango-based group of professional singers, is back. For Friday’s recital, it will consist of founding members mezzo-soprano Kerry Ginger and tenor Erik Gustafson, plus invited guests soprano Ingela Onstad, baritone Michael Hix and pianist Debra Ayers.
To launch the 12th year of the highly successful Unitarian Universalist Recital Series, host Marilyn Garst invited Quadrivium back. In 2017, the ensemble presented a rare, early madrigal comedy, “L’amfiparnaso,” by Orazio Vecchi, a Renaissance predecessor to opera as we know it.
“‘A Night at the Opera’ will alternate between some of the most celebrated arias and most rousing ensembles,” Garst said. “It will be a night of music that will surely uplift and entertain.”
“Each selection highlights a different aspect of the human experience,” mezzo-soprano Kerry Ginger said. “We designed the program to provide lots of contrast in emotion and musical style.
“The UUFD recital features singers in many different ways,” Ginger said. “For example, I get to play Rossini’s intelligent Rosina and Berlioz’s fiery Beatrice. And thanks to opera’s unique treatment of gender, I also get to sing the roles of two men: the great general Julius Caesar (originally written for a counter tenor) and the lovestruck young Octavian of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.”
And that only suggests what one performer will sing. There will be scenes of flirtation, seduction, greed, deception, folly and maybe, passionate love. After all, music from Puccini’s “La Boheme” is on the program.
Organized in 2016, Quadrivium exists for the joy of singing and to present infrequently performed vocal repertoire at a high artistic level. The group has played throughout the Southwest and generally sings a cappella. For the UUFD recital, pianist Ayers will accompany from orchestral transcriptions.
Quadrivium will perform in a separate concert, “In Bloom,” at the conclusion of an Interfaith Choral Workshop at 5 p.m. Sept. 30 at First Methodist Church of Durango.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.