Think all operas are about singing Vikings belting out Richard Wanger’s “Ride of the Valkyries”? Guess again! Come see Dr. Sarah Daughtrey and Phyllis Drackley perform at “An Evening of Opera! Arias, Duets and Trios,” on Monday, Feb. 13 to experience the real story-telling of opera. The free recital will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Zug Memorial Hall.
Elizabethtown College’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts-Music Division is sponsoring the recital with Daughtrey, mezzo-soprano and assistant professor of music and Drackley, soprano and Etown adjunct faculty member, as featured performers. Guests Kristin Sims, soprano and Millersville University faculty member, and Scott Drackley, pianist and Lancaster Catholic High School faculty member, are to accompany. The recital is scheduled to run an hour and will contain an intermission.
“An evening of Opera!” will feature popular opera songs ranging from the 18th century to the early 20th century, when opera was at its peak. Key songs to expect are Mozart’s comic opera “Così fan tutte” and Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.” The recital will end with Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier.”
Daughtrey and Drackley are excited for the concert, but how do students feel about seeing their professors perform? They love it! Junior Amy Osterhoudt said, “I think it’s great! Since they are our professors, we sometimes forget that they are professional and experienced singers. It’s nice to see that side of them.” Senior Alena Lerch agreed, “It’s amazing as students to see professors perform. We get to see their talent and learn how to perform by watching them.”
“If you speak another language, this is a wonderful event to go to and practice your skills,” Daughtrey said. She also encourages non-music majors to attend the concert: “I think people think opera is off-putting. But as I tell my students, let yourself go there. Get pulled into the story. Allow yourself to get swept away by the beauty.”
Daughtrey is no stranger to recitals; she has performed numerous events for the College over the past five years. A few of these past events include “It’s All Greek to Me…,” “Paris Exposé” and “Sons de Basil.” But this event will be the first of its kind. “I have never done an all-operatic recital before,” Daughtrey said. “Normally when we do recitals, we do song repertoire, so this is something a little different.” Professionally, Daughtrey has been featured in events such as Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass,” “Mozart Requiem” and Bach’s “St. John Passion.”
Drackley is also experienced with performing concerts for the College. She lent her voice to events like “Nine German Arias” and a variety of Monday Concert Series events. Outside Etown, her career is highlighted with performances in “Henri Atoll,” “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Suor Angelica,” “La Boheme” and “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
It is also not Daughtrey and Drackley’s first performance together. The two first performed together in a 2008 opera, “Las Madres de la Plaza” by Dr. Jim Haines, professor of music, and Dr. John Rohrkemper, associate professor of English. This event told the story of Argentine mothers who become involved in human rights activism after the disappearance of their children under the military dictatorship rule in the 1970s. Daughtry and Drackley have since performed in other College-sponsored events. In addition, the two professors are familiar with each other through helping their students with voice lessons and master classes.
Daughtrey enjoys getting involved at Etown. Aside from her work as the director of vocal studies, her resumé for the College includes working with the Momentum Program, a program for first-generation college students, and being a member of the Academic Committee for Humanities, as well a member of the Campus Life Council. “One of the nicest things about getting involved with different things [activities concerning the College] is meeting more people,” Daughtrey said. “It’s good for [faculty members] to learn more about how things work on campus and get more involved with governments and administrations.”
Another project Daughtrey has taken on is Partners of the Americans, a voluntary not-for-profit exchange program that links the Northern Hemisphere together. According to the website, the program aims to raise cultural awareness, respect and camaraderie and to improve the lives of others, and to build leaders in their respective communities. Daughtrey is working with the country of Brazil to set up an exchange program. Last year, a Brazilian percussionist came to Etown as a guest. “If all goes well, we are having a guest, a Brazilian conductor, come at the end of the semester,” Daughtrey said. “Then my plan is to go down [to] visit with him.” The plan is set, but the dates are unclear as of now. When Daughtrey does go to Brazil, it will be the first time she has stayed in another country for an extended period of time for her music.