The second Madrigal Feaste was held in December in the Williams Center, featuring singers led by Dr. Gerald Gray and players directed by Dr. James Ivey. Kate Armstrong (front left, from Fairport) playing Thisby, and B.J. Hylton (right, of Rochester, N.Y.), as Pyramus, are joined by Shannon Cunningham (center, of Mastic) in an abbreviated version of, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Don Magnifico with Cinderella and her stepsisters.
When the Hillman Opera presented two staged version performances of Gioachino Rossini’s famous work, La Cenerentola (Cinderella), in November in King Concert Hall, it represented a special milestone – 60 years of collaboration between the Hillman Memorial Music Association and the college.
The annual Hillman Opera is a collaborative effort between the SUNY Fredonia School of Music, Department of Theatre and Dance and the Hillman association.
The cast featured singers from the School of Music vocal program including Hillman Opera veterans Amanda Bottoms of Cheektowaga, N.Y., as Cenerentola, Lorenzo Parnell of Rochester, N.Y., as Prince Ramiro; Makoto Winkler of Seaford, N.Y., as Don Magnifico; Michael Hawk of Silver Creek, N.Y., as Dandini, Cody Ray Caho of Wellsville, N.Y., as Alidoro, Aubrey Warner of Clarence, N.Y., as one of the “nasty” stepsisters Clorinda, and Allison Deady of Rochester, as her counterpart, Tisbe. In addition to the cast of seven, there were more than 30 ensemble members and the Fredonia Opera Orchestra, with more than 60 student members. The production was supported by a backstage crew of 35 students. The production team includes a number of faculty members including Music Director David Rudge, Stage Director Paul Mockovak, and Vocal Coach and Repetiteur Shinobu Takagi. SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Julie Newell is Producer of the opera.
The Hillman Opera of SUNY Fredonia began as a community-campus collaboration in the early 1950s, and has continued today in the model of a professional opera company. Alumni of the Hillman Opera have appeared on stages worldwide and serve as opera educators in conservatories and university programs throughout the United States and beyond.