• Last modified 801 days ago (July 19, 2018)


Workshop brings opera to Marion

Opera is coming to Marion next week.

A master class of 11 advanced students and young professional singers, one an exchange student from China, will practice for more than a week, then perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 3, 7 p.m. Aug. 4, and 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at Marion Community Center.

Sponsored by Symphony in the Flint Hills and International Opera Workshop, the Opera in the Flint Halls school includes more than a week of classes on acting, presence, and stage movement.

All practice sessions will be free and open to spectators.

Scenes from five different operas and operettas will be staged according to participants’ level and abilities.

The class will be directed by Martha Sharp, professor emeritus of voice at the University of Salzburg in Austria, who has selected the singers on the basis of auditions.

She will be joined in teaching the class by acclaimed pianist Margaret Singer and instructors Leanne Hilmer and Bridget Hille.

International Opera Workshop, founded in 1999, has organized workshops in Austria, in Iceland, and last year in Cottonwood Falls.

“Rural locations are ideal for creating an atmosphere where participants can live, breathe and sleep opera for the duration of the workshop,” Sharp was quoted as saying.

Christy Davis, executive director of Symphony in the Flint Hills, added: “With its Elgin Hotel, historic municipal auditorium and arts culture, Marion will be a great host community for Opera Workshop in the Flint Hills.”

Randy Collett, Marion economic development director, is raising $15,000 to help with expenses related to the workshop.

Part of the $15,000 raised is in the form of reduced rates for students at the Elgin.

Besides lodging costs, local money will pay for meals, musical equipment, fees to bring people from Julliard School of Music to observe the performers, opera programs, and marketing costs such as posters, director of engagement Gwen Shirkey said.

Coordinator Abby Triemer suggested that anyone coming from outside Marion to watch rehearsals might want to call her at (620) 366-3581 or email

Community volunteers are still being recruited to assist with the workshop, Triemer said. People interested in volunteering can call her.

Tickets to performances cost $30, but rehearsals, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays July 25 to Aug. 2, will be open to the public at no charge.

Tickets are available at

“They can call the offices here and we can talk them through the ticket ordering process,” Shirkey said.

The office phone number is (620) 273-8955.

Last modified July 19, 2018