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Press Release

Contact:
Eric Sloss
412-268-5765

For immediate release:
January 11, 2005

Carnegie Mellon School of Music Performs "The Italian Girl in Algiers" January 27-30, 2005

Opening Night Proceeds To Benefit Tsunami Relief Efforts

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music will present Gioachino Rossini's opera "L'Italiana in Algeri" ("The Italian Girl in Algiers") in four performances January 27-30 at the Philip Chosky Theater. Proceeds from the opening performance, 8 p.m. January 27, will benefit the Carnegie Mellon Tsunami Relief-Rebuild effort. The opera will feature students from Carnegie Mellon School of Music under the musical direction of Robert Page, Paul Mellon Professor of Music, and stage direction of Gregory Lehane, professor of drama and music. "The Italian Girl in Algiers" will be the first Carnegie Mellon opera production to feature English translations of the Italian libretto, which will be projected above the stage.

"If you think that 'The Barber of Seville' is funny, wait until you see 'The Italian Girl in Algiers'—it's almost the Three Stooges set to music! And the catch is, the music is terrific," Page said.

Carnegie Mellon's production of "The Italian Girl in Algiers" uses the original libretto, but changes the time frame to the 1920s. The result is a cross between a gangster movie and a raucous comedy that compares scheming women and gullible men.

"There is a misperception that the opera is for experts and old fuddy-duddies," said Lehane, "but between the youthful cast, the hilarious libretto and the English super-titles, 'The Italian Girl in Algiers' is an extremely accessible and enjoyable experience for everyone."

The Carnegie Mellon School of Music typically produces one fully staged opera a year. Past highlights include "Dido and Aeneas," "Cosi fan Tutte," "The Magic Flute," "Gianni Schicchi" and "Suor Angelica." This year the School of Music also is presenting the world premiere of Leonardo Balada's opera "Death of Columbus" on January 14, 2005. Carnegie Mellon's schools of Music and Drama recently began a collaboration to present joint musical theatre productions. This year's joint production is Leonard Bernstein's "Candide," which will be at the Philip Chosky Theater April 21-30, 2005.

Page is the Paul Mellon Professor of Music and director of choral studies at Carnegie Mellon. Page has conducted for the Cleveland, Toledo, Carolina and Kansas City opera companies as well as the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. He has conducted concert versions of operetta and Broadway musicals with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra and the Springfield Symphony. He arranged the two-piano score for an acclaimed Broadway revival of Frank Loesser's "The Most Happy Fella." His choral recordings have earned him eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards.

Lehane is a professor of drama and music at Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. His productions have been seen around the world, including in major cities in the United States and Canada, as well as in Cairo and Moscow. He has also directed television programs for all three commercial networks, PBS, TBS, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, USA and the Disney Channel. Lehane has received two Emmy nominations for outstanding direction. In 2003, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named him director of the year.

"The Italian Girl in Algiers" will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, January 27-29 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 30. Ticket prices range from $5-12. To order tickets, please contact the School of Drama box office at 412-268-2407. For any other information, please contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or ecs@andrew.cmu.edu.

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