On Sunday, October 12, 2008, the Millersville University Music Department held their faculty recital called “Paris and the Prairie.” The crowded Lyte Auditorium was filled with audience members showing their support for Dr. Debra Lessen as well as other faculty members of Millersville University.
Lessen, soprano vocalist, was assisted by: Maria Corely on piano, Kristin Sims singing soprano, Jeffrey Gemmell on baritone and Joan Allen on piano.
The talented group of faculty members performed a compilation of pieces from artists including: Lully, Berlioz, Offenbach, Massenet, Poulenc and Marc Bucci.
The opening number of the show was titled Le perfide Renaud me fuit! by Jean-Baptiste Lully as it appeared in Armide. This 1686 beautifully sung French piece is about a sorceress, Armide, who realizes that her bewitched lover, Renaud, has come out of the spell she had cast and has left her to follow the call of duty and glory.
A couple other pieces from the recital were Recitative et chanson gothique: Le Roi de Thulé by Hector Berlioz in Le Damnation de Faust in 1846 and Rondo by Jacques Offenbach in La Vie Parisienne.
The first is a dramatic legend half symphony and half opera that is often played at many performances, while the second is an operetta that was Offenbach’s first full-length piece made to portray contemporary Parisian life, and furthermore became one of his most popular operas. Other performances of the night consisted of: Obéisson quand leur voix appelle by Jules Massenet and Airs Chantés by Francis Poulenc.
The finale number was Sweet Betsy from Pike by Mark Bucci.
The satirical one-act opera was directed by Tony Elliot, associate professor, of the Communication & Theatre Department and used great costumes thanks to the Millersville University costume Shop.
Overall, a great time was had by all who came out to see this musical spectacular.
Furthermore, faculty member Dr. Lessen said about the concert that, “We all worked hard, but we also had lots of fun.”