MC’s Music Department Stages New Production in Fall 2021 / Gracie Lee

After almost a year without musical productions, the music department at Mississippi College is producing an afternoon of opera scenes. Auditions took place on Friday, Sep. 3, with Nicholas Perna, associate professor of voice and voice pedagogy, planning to direct. 2021 marks his seventh year on staff with MC. He has directed previous musicals for MC, including She Loves Me in 2020.

The opera scenes will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 3:00 p.m. during voice students’ usual solo hour. Perna expects it to last no more than 50 minutes and has reserved Jean W. Pittman Hall on the second floor of Aven Hall. Should COVID-19 numbers surge on campus, the performance will transition outdoors. “I’d love the singers to sing unmasked,” he said. He has not announced scores for the performance but anticipates that they will span from the Baroque era to present day compositions. 

In addition to the opera scenes, the music department announced a spring musical for 2022. Auditions are tentatively set for late November. “We’ve historically done an opera scenes performance opposite the musical, and that is what we’re going to continue doing moving forward,” Perna said. “We may do a full opera, but our normal procedure moving forward will be opera scenes in the fall and a musical in the spring.” The spring production is still to be determined, but Perna plans to announce it, along with its cast, before Christmas break. “Before we announce the musical, we have to reserve licensing rights, and put a down payment in and sign contracts,” he explained.

When it comes to producing and performing in shows, Perna is excited for students to experience it with him. “There’s a wonderful interaction that goes on between performer and audience. That doesn’t happen when you go to a movie or watch a TV show. One of the best things, as a performer, is taking joy and reveling in the fact that at any moment something could go really wrong, but the show will go on,” he said. “It’s a shared experience, when you get to tell a story and laugh or cry or be moved, or be excited, or fall asleep. I think that’s what always really thrills me about it.”

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