This article was published in The Appalachian.

In one week, Appalachian State University students will bring two one-act operas to the newly reopened Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock.

The students, part of Appalachian’s Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra, will perform Puccini’s one-acts “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi.” The operas will be performed in English.

The one-acts, director Joseph L. Amaya said, both deal with the theme of death in different ways.

“Suor Angelica,” the story of a Florentine nun and her struggles with sin and desire, is haunting and tragic.

“Gianni Schicchi” is a rollicking, comedic piece about a town rogue who’s not the person he appears to be.

“The first one will make people cry and the other one will make people leave the theatre laughing,” Amaya, Hayes School of Music faculty member, said.

The one-acts are also remarkably true-to-life, according to Moriah L. Bias. Bias, vocal performance graduate student, will perform the title role of Sister (Suor) Angelica.

“It doesn’t exaggerate things, but it really takes real human emotions and uses them as the basis of the story. It plays out like you would expect, not because it is predictable but because it is real,” Bias said.

The one-acts will be performed at the Hayes Performing Arts Center, which reopened in January after a two-year suspension of operations.

Because the opera will be performed off-campus, a bus will be available to take students to Blowing Rock Thursday night. It will leave from the Hayes School of Music building at 7:15 p.m. and have the capacity to transport 45 students. A round-trip ride on the bus is included in the $5 student ticket price.

Amaya knows opera is not familiar to many American students. After all, it’s not common to grow up around it like many Europeans do. He thinks, though, that people warm up to the art quickly after they give it a try.

“If you can get them there,” he said, “people love it.”

Amaya also pointed out that the program is first-class, with many former students currently performing professionally. One alumnus, Lucas Meacham, has been incredibly successful in venues across the country, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

“These students all go on to great careers,” Amaya said.

The one-act operas will be presented at 8 p.m. from Thursday, March 24 to Saturday, March 26 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 27.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for all others. To purchase tickets, visit the Farthing Auditorium box office or call 828-262-4046. Tickets can also be purchased directly before each performance at the Hayes Center.

For more information on the one-acts or Thursday’s bus to Blowing Rock, contact Adam Sensenbrenner at sensenbrenneraj@appstate.edu.

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