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The Shepherd School of Music will kick off November with its fall opera production of “Volpone” Nov. 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. and the daylong Shepherd School Chamber Music Festival Nov. 10.
The Shepherd School Opera and Chamber Orchestra will present the Texas premiere of “Volpone,” written by composer John Musto and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell. In the comic opera, the wealthy Volpone, having no heirs, feigns mortal illness to con a greedy collection of individuals who wish to inherit his fortune. The would-be beneficiaries prove all too willing to sacrifice their dignity, morals and even their loved ones to gain favor with Volpone. In the end, the ruse is revealed (along with a few surprises), and all of the players receive their just deserts.
The opera will be in the Wortham Opera Theatre in Rice’s Alice Pratt Brown Hall. The production will be conducted by Richard Bado, director of the Opera Studies Program, with stage direction by Debra Dickinson, artist teacher of opera studies. Tickets for the opera are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 713-348-8000. Intended for mature audiences.
On Nov. 10, the Shepherd School will host its biannual chamber music festival in Alice Pratt Brown Hall’s Duncan Recital Hall. In keeping with Rice’s centennial year, the event spotlights music of the last 100 years. Organized by Norman Fischer, the Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Cello, the festival features Shepherd School student chamber music groups coached by members of the Shepherd School faculty.
According to Fischer, 1912-2012 is one of the richest times in music history, full of “a plethora of styles, ranging from the most traditional to the most avant-garde.” Music for the event will include the Dohnanyi, Shostakovich and Elgar piano quintets; the Ives and Khachaturian trios; the Bartók, Berg, Britten and Hindemith string quartets; and rarely heard works, including the Ruth Crawford Seeger string quartet, William Bolcom’s String Quartet No. 9, Andrew Norman’s “Gran Turismo” for Eight Virtuoso Violinists and John Adams’ “Shaker Loops” for String Septet.
Beginning Nov. 5, the performance times for the chamber music festival will be available on the Shepherd School website or by calling 713-348-8008. Admission is free and no tickets are required.