Entertainment > Arts
SCSU’s Sheila Garvey stages ‘Letters from Italy 1944’ oratorio
Friday, April 19, 2013
MIDDLETOWN — It’s a story that’s been told in hushed conversations that generally don’t happen until decades have pushed the memory into a safe recess of the brain.
It’s been captured in iconic photographs that have won Pulitzer Prizes.
It is war, specifically the pre-social media wars, and the interlude it imposes on a relationship between a man and his family, a relationship kept alive through letters that can only express just so much.
“Letters from Italy 1944” is a new original opera/oratorio commissioned by the Greater Middletown Chorale which weeks ago sold out its April 28 date at the Performing Arts Center of Middletown High School, 200 LaRosa Lane.
The chorale is selling tickets to the Friday preview, technically the dress rehearsal. The show will be fully presented, with orchestra, though it may break for any technical problem.
Joseph Eugenio, the chorale’s award-winning artistic director, will conduct the 80-voice chorale with full orchestra, multimedia projections and staging by the GMC’s Drama Director in Residence Sheila Hickey Garvey, Southern Connecticut State University professor of theater.
According to press materials, “Letters” is the “life work” of two Connecticut sisters, Grammy-nominated composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder and poet/lyricist Nancy Meneely. It’s the true story of their father, Yale-educated doctor John Meneely Jr., who was 28 when he enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving as a medic in the 10th Mountain Division.
His “poetic letters home” inspired the work, which weaves together a soldierly story they call “one of terror and loss, and of his bittersweet homecoming.”
Tickets are $30 and $35 for the 7:30 p.m. Friday performance, and are available through www.LettersFromItaly.com.
Garvey said in a statement that as one who has had family serve overseas, she was honored to be involved in the project: “We never plan for the aftermath of war. This performance is meant to honor and remember those who have served.”
The Greater Middletown Chorale will give a portion of the proceeds to local veterans and military projects.
For more information, visit www.gmchorale.org or call 860-316-4854.
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