Opera written by Ball State professor places spotlight on homelessness

Topics: College of Fine Arts, Immersive Learning, Student Affairs

April 4, 2007

"53rd Street," an opera about homelessness written by a Ball State professor, premieres at 8 p.m. April 12 with a second show at 2 p.m. April 15 in Sursa Hall.

The opera is about on two homeless men living on the subway grates of New York and the response they face from various facets of society, such as the media, church, tourists, businesses and the academic and art communities.

"We get to live a couple hours of their lives with them as they interact with various other people on the street," said Tammie Huntington, director of "53rd Street." "In the process, we get some insight into their past, their present, the struggles they experience and, in the end, their true worth. The audience should come away with a variety of emotions: anger, sorrow, empathy and hopefully a desire to change our world."

The opera features baritone Craig Priebe, associate professor of music performance, and tenor Mark Boyle, University Computing Services. Ball State faculty composer Jody Nagel wrote the opera, and Ardis Faber, a graduate assistant, will conduct the orchestra.

The Ball State opera theater — which is under the auspice of the School of Music and the College of Fine Arts — is partnering with Teamwork for Quality Living and the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry to increase public awareness and poverty in Delaware County.

"I received the campuswide e-mail about the Student Voluntary Services Poverty Simulation and thought it was the perfect way for the cast to dig deeper into their characters and the subject matter of the opera," Huntington said.

Tickets cost $5 and are available at the Emens Auditorium box office and all other Ticketmaster locations. Ball State students are free with ID at the Emens box office through April 12. Call (765) 285-1539 for more information.

For more information, visit www.53rdstreet.org or contact the Ball State School of Music at (765) 285-5400 or tmhuntington@bsu.edu.

By Kim Jackson

University Marketing and Communications
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