January 31, 2020

‘Dido and Aeneas’ comes to Shryock stage Feb 7-8

by Jason Franchuk

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The SIU School of Music next week will present the chamber opera “Dido and Aeneas” and feature the work of a senior music major who is gaining national recognition. 

Olivia Donnel, a voice performance major, recently won an Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. 

“Olivia has a large, beautiful voice and can sing music that is technically very difficult but she makes it seem easy,” said David Dillard, an associate professor in voice baritone and voice area coordinator who is directing the performance.

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition is the nation’s most prestigious classical singing competition in the country, Dillard said. Donnel earned the award in the district level competition, where she was one of eight competitors recognized for potential for an operatic career of 30 entrants. The Encouragement Award is a major recognition of Donnel’s talent and dedication to operatic singing, Dillard said.

Performances are Feb. 7-8 

The performances are at 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium. Tickets, which are cash and checks only, are $10 for adults and $5 for students. 

Henry Purcell’s chamber opera fuses instrumental music, vocal music and dance to create an early form of musical theater. 

Dillard teams with Darryl Clark, an assistant professor in musical theater dance, who is overseeing choreography for the performances. The production will also include music performed by the SIU graduate string quartet, accompanied on harpsichord by Anita Hutton, SIU graduate and former campus staff member.