POTSDAM, N.Y. — SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music is preparing to host the world premiere of a groundbreaking new opera, “Mayo,” by acclaimed composer Tom Cipullo. The Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra will unveil its full production of the Pellicciotti Prize-winning work in a series of performances and special events, from Nov. 8 to 11.
The student cast and crew includes:
- Meaghan Deasey of West Henrietta, NY, who is a member of the Chorus
- Kayla Kovacs of Kill Buck, NY, who will be playing the role of Jo/Chorus
- Ben Lewandowski of Pittsford, NY, who will be playing the roles of Billy/Jimmy/Chorus
- Samantha Martin of Penfield, NY, who will be playing the role of Oliver Wendell Holmes/Miss Goodrich cover, and is also an assistant costume designer
- Gabrielle McCormack of Perrysburg, NY, who is a member of the Chorus
- Craig Smith of Fairport, NY, who will be playing the role of Superintendent/Chorus
- Tessa Spencer of Rochester, NY, who will be playing the role of Choir Director/Chorus
- Anna Ziolkowski of Elma, NY, who is a member of the Chorus
- Emily Wright of Silver Creek, NY, who is the props master and an assistant stage manager
- Samantha Kelly of West Henrietta, NY, who is an assistant stage manager
- Timothy Hight of Webster, NY, who is the house manger
- Nicholas Graham of Hilton, NY, who is a member of the backstage crew
- Brianna Linhardt of East Aurora, NY, who is a spotlight operator
- Natalie Bojanowski of Hamburg, NY, who is a member of the wardrobe production crew
- Nicholas Marino of Niagara Falls, NY, who is a member of the wardrobe production crew
- Adam Girts of Lakewood, NY, who will be playing violin 2 in the orchestra
- Matthew Grosso of Hamburg, NY, who will be playing viola in the orchestra
- Margaret O’Connor of Buffalo, NY, who will be playing viola in the orchestra
- Samantha Godus of Buffalo, NY, who will be playing cello in the orchestra
- Haley Emhof of Rochester, NY, who will be playing trombone in the orchestra
Based on a true story, “Mayo” follows the life of Mayo Buckner, who was committed to the Iowa Home for Feeble-Minded Children at the age of eight, and forged a life of quiet dignity and meaning while living there for the next 60 years.
In a production led by Stage Director Dean Anthony and Music Director Kirk Severtson, the Crane Opera Ensemble will bring Buckner’s story to life — and in the process, shed light on America’s tragic infatuation with eugenics in the early 20th century.
The student cast and orchestra will be joined by two notable guest artists. The rising baritone Ben Edquist will play the title role of Mayo Buckner, while Crane School of Music alumna Lisa Vroman ’79, soprano, will portray Miss Goodrich. Edward “Eddy” Baker, 9, a third grader at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School in Potsdam, will play the role of Young Mayo.
“Mayo” will be presented on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m., in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. A gala reception will be held in the Performing Arts Center lobby following the Friday evening opening night performance. In addition, there will be an educational outreach performance for students from area schools on Thursday, Nov. 8.
Tickets for the Crane Opera Ensemble production of “Mayo” are $15 for the general public and $10 for SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff and students. To purchase tickets, contact the Community Performance Series Box Office, located in the lobby of SUNY Potsdam’s Performing Arts Center, by calling (315) 267-2277 or visiting http://www.cpspotsdam.org.
About the Crane Opera Ensemble:
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble provides exciting opportunities for students to experience all facets of opera performance and production, through rehearsals, coaching and classes related to performance practices and production techniques. The ensemble’s productions have garnered awards from the National Opera Association (2015, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2003), The American Prize (2011, 2017), and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (2010). To learn more, visit https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/opera.
About The Crane School of Music:
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution. For more information, please visit http://www.potsdam.edu/crane.
All WNY is made possible thanks to coffee and sleep deprivation.
Buy us a cup? (of coffee, we can handle the sleep deprivation ourselves)