‘The Zoo’ Wows Opera Workshop Audiences – The Troy Messenger

Residents of Pike County don’t often get the opportunity to attend an opera in downtown Troy.

Thursday evening, the Troy University Opera Workshop, led by Dr Sarah Wee, presented “The Zoo”, a one-act opera at “The Studio”

“The Zoo” premiered on June 5, 1875 at the St. James Theater in London and ended five weeks later on July 10, 1875 at the Haymarket Theatre. So it was a long wait and a long way to get to the Studio on East Walnut Street in downtown Troy.

Wee said “The Zoo” is a one-act comedy story about two loving couples. First, a nobleman, who goes to the zoo to woo the girl who sells snacks there. He tries to impress her by buying and eating all the food. The other couple includes a young chemist who believes he poisoned his beloved by mixing her father’s prescription with peppermint he intended for her. For the rest of the story…. ask members of the well-entertained general public who packed The Studio on Thursday night.

At the end of “Zoo,” Dr. Phil Kelly, a retired theater professor from the University of Troy, took the opportunity to speak to the performers and the audience. His enthusiasm and appreciation were unbridled.

“Fantastic,” Kelly said. “Everything about the performance was fantastic – the soloists, the choir. Every voice was absolutely amazing! College should give you all a raise!

You want a wonderful gift to the community. So wonderfully amazing!”

Kelly expressed his gratitude to Dr. Wee for his outstanding leadership and primal abilities to weave such “absolutely ridiculous satire with outrageous characters” into such a fantastical and delightful production.

Brenda Campbell, executive director of the sponsoring Johnson Center for the Arts, was equally complimentary to Wee and the Opera Workshop students for such an incredible performance.

“The opera was, as Dr. Kelly said, “fantastic in every way,” Campbell said. “The Johnson Center is delighted and honored to bring downtown opera. Tonight we were well entertained by the Troy University Opera Workshop. “The Zoo” was delightfully fun, and these talented students are… incredibly talented. We thank them for this night.

Campbell said the JCA looks forward to an ongoing relationship with Troy University.

“We are able to take advantage of this partnership, in part, thanks to the generous support of the Alabama State Council on the Arts,” said Campbell. “It’s an exciting time for the arts here in our community. We thank Dr. Wee and his students for this amazing performance and everyone who came and enjoyed the opera in downtown Troy.

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