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NMU opera group plans production of ‘Pinocchio’

April 4, 2011
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT Journal Staff Writer , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University student actors visited several elementary schools last week to practice their production of "Pinocchio."

The NMU Opera Theatre Workshop will performed the one-act adaptation of the classic story for the public later this week.

Youngsters at seven elementary schools in Marquette, Negaunee, Gwinn and Ishpeming enjoyed a sneak preview of the play last week.

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Robert Engelhart, NMU music professor and director of the production, is the narrator for the opera.

"This scale of an opera is very simple - little props are needed and it's very inexpensive," Engelhart said.

Students at the elementary schools prepared a children's chorus to sing along with the NMU students during the performances as puppets in Dr. Dulcamara the puppet master's show.

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"For many of these kids they've never done anything like this and it's something they can enjoy," Engelhart said. "Why waste all the good music on the adults?"

John Davies, a professional opera singer, wrote the opera and took music from operas by Donizetti, Verdi, Mozart and Offenbach, Engelhart said. Davies has written multiple children's operas of well-known fairy tales, including "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Three Little Pigs."

"It's an ideal introduction to opera for the young and young at heart," Engelhart said.

NMU Opera Theatre will be performing the "Pinocchio" opera at NMU at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Reynolds Recital Hall. There is no charge for the play.

After the performance, a short program of some of the original arias on which the opera is based will be performed.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is



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