OC Produces North American premiere of Classic Opera

It is not very often that Oklahoma hosts a North American premiere of a classic, European opera. Oklahoma Christian University will do just that on April 17 when the music department offers free admission to its performance of the comedy “Ten Brides and No Groom.”

The U.S. premiere of this new, authoritative edition will be conducted by Ken Adams, professor of music at Oklahoma Christian, and directed by Vince Leseney, associate professor of musical theatre at the University of Oklahoma. The performance is fully-staged and costumed with a professional orchestra.

“We are incredibly honored to bring this comic opera to music lovers here in Oklahoma,” said Adams. “It’s a very funny and entertaining work. The cast has really enjoyed preparing for this production, and we’re confident the audience will have a lot of fun too.”

Written by Austrian composer Franz von Suppé in 1862, the opera involves a desperate father who can’t find suitable husbands for his 10 grown daughters. The opera takes an interesting turn when a single man arrives looking for a wife. Musical numbers include solos and duets in the musical styles of several European countries, military marching and a grand finale featuring 11 xylophonists.
John Longstaff, a professor of music at Leeds College of Music in England, prepared the orchestral and vocal performance materials for this new edition of “Ten Brides.” His search for von Suppé’s original orchestration began in 2009 and took him to the Cambridge University Library, the Library of Congress and ultimately to Bavaria where he discovered the manuscript in the archives of the Landesbibliothek in Coburg. From that source, Longstaff assembled new scores and parts for a modern performance. He also orchestrated two numbers by von Suppé that existed only in a vocal score published in the 1930s.

“We have worked so hard for this performance,” said student Morgan Edwards, a cast member. “We can’t wait for opening night when others can enjoy it as well.”

Additional cast members include Melissa Eastman, Emily Eldridge, Hannah Faye Foster, Leah Graefe, Kaylee Kain, Sarah Locke, Hayley Neff, Connor Weaver, Lauren Wheeler, Lavon Wheeler, Brian Wilcox and alumnus James Parker. 

“Ten Brides” will be performed in Hardeman Auditorium on the campus of Oklahoma Christian at 7:30 p.m. on April 17. Admission is free and seating is open. For more information call (405) 425-5530.