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Church Concert Makes Use of UK Opera Scholars

A concert blending opera and musical theater is set to take place at a Lexington church this weekend. 

This Saturday, Hunter Presbyterian Church will present, “An Evening at the Theatre.”  This concert makes use of several University of Kentucky singers and musicians, who through a special stipend, get to practice their craft in the choir.  The director, Maggie Owens, says the event will feature a mixture of opera and songs from musicals. 

“One of the trends in opera programs right now is featuring musical theater to kind of draw in more audience members, and that’s something that churches don’t get to feature, singing outside the sacred genre," she said.

The opera portion will feature symphonies from Rossini, Bizet, and Puccini, while the musical numbers will come from contemporary composers such as Jason Robert Brown, as well as older works by Rogers and Hammerstein and Leonard Bernstein.  UK singer Thomas Gunther says the latter works are particularly suited to the classically trained.  

"They were written before microphones were a common occurrence on the stage so now opera companies feel comfortable bringing them on stage and presenting them to their audiences," he said.  

Owens, Gunther, his wife Suna, and two other singers will perform, and be accompanied by two pianists.  

“An Evening at the Theatre” will take place Saturday at 7:00 at 109 Rosemont Garden.  Tickets are $10 and proceeds will fund additional UK scholars at Hunter Presbyterian.

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.