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Opera Kansas to present Gilbert & Sullivan concert in Hesston

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HESSTON, KAN. – Opera Kansas, with special guest Keith Jurosko, will present A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Topsy Turvy World of Gilbert and Sullivan at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, at Hesston Mennonite Church, 309 S. Main in Hesston, on the Hesston College campus. The concert is the third event in the 2007-08 Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts (HBPA) season.

The program is set in a Victorian parlor and includes many of the best-known moments from the Gilbert & Sullivan (G&S) canon, with selections from H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, The Yeomen of the Guard, Iolanthe, Patience and Ruddigore. Concert-goers will enter the upside-down world of W.S. Gilbert’s librettos, wherein absurdity is carried to its logical conclusion, set to the ever-memorable music of Sir Arthur Sullivan.

The concert will feature guest star baritone Keith Jurosko, a founding member of The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and a principal with that company for 28 years, including four seasons with John Reed of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. One of the country’s leading G&S specialists, Jurosko is much in demand as a “Savoy expert” (so named for the Savoy Theatre in London, built by Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1881 as a showplace for G&S productions). Jurosko has appeared in G&S with many of the nation’s leading regional companies including Opera Carolina, Mobile Opera, Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Anchorage Opera, Whitewater Opera, Opera Delaware, Mississippi Opera, Augusta Opera and the Boston Academy of Music.

The cast of A Most Ingenious Paradox also includes soprano Allison Kindscher, mezzo-soprano Virginia Revering, tenor Jacob Ray-Alan and baritone Edward Ehinger, with direction by Vanessa Whalen (music) and Marie King (stage).

Matthew Schloneger, chair of the HBPA planning committee and a professional singer himself, is looking forward to the concert. “We’re excited to have one of the country’s leading interpreters of this unique style along with some of Kansas’ finest opera singers as a part of our series,” Schloneger said. “Gilbert and Sullivan’s music is incredibly beautiful, but it’s also accessible, immensely entertaining and often quite hilarious. This will be a fun event for the whole family.”

This concert is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art. Other supporters include the City of Hesston, the City of North Newton and Excel Industries/Hustler Turf Equipment of Hesston.

Tickets are $14 to $17 with discounts available for students and senior citizens. HBPA is also offering a half-season ticket packages for this event and upcoming concerts by the Wailin’ Jennys (7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 6 in Bethel College’s Memorial Hall, North Newton) and Boston Brass (7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 27, at Hesston Mennonite Church, Hesston). Package prices range from $39 to $45, with senior citizen and student discounts available. Call 620-327-8158 or 316-284-5205 to reserve or purchase tickets.

Contact: Matthew Schloneger, HBPA chair, 620-327-8144, matthews@hesston.edu

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