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Opera’s L.A. debut led by students


The largely student cast and pit of "Flight" rehearse on set. Based on the same events as the film "The Terminal," "Flight" will be premiering at UCLA's Freud Playhouse tonight and performances will continue through the weekend.

The largely student cast and pit of "Flight" rehearse on set. Based on the same events as the film "The Terminal," "Flight" will be premiering at UCLA's Freud Playhouse tonight and performances will continue through the weekend. Jim Summers


It took a little more than a decade for Jonathan Dove’s celebrated contemporary opera “Flight,” which originally debuted in England, to make its West Coast premiere at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse, where a slew of both undergraduate and graduate students will be starring in California’s debut production.

The three acts of “Flight,” based on events that inspired the film “The Terminal,” follow passengers, stewards and a refugee who, by chance of an electrical storm, become stuck at an airport amidst the unfolding drama surrounding their personal lives.

What’s different about this particular production, aside from the fact that it is debuting to a Los Angeles audience on campus, is the heavy emphasis on student involvement evident throughout the opera. Despite the fact that faculty have a say in the overall production, the majority of the construction is student-driven.

“Everything is student-cast, and the crew for the show are students. The people who actually help with the make-up for the show are students. The people who help iron the costumes and get them ready are students, and the people who sew the costumes are students,” said Peter Kazaras, director of UCLA Opera.

The students involved in the production are comprised of a mixture of both graduate and undergraduate students, all of whom are heavily involved in either the orchestra or cast. Two undergraduates are cast as singers, yet the majority of the production remains graduate students as the opera demands more mature voices.

Despite the heavy responsibility handed to students, faculty are involved in order to guarantee the smooth progress of what is otherwise a complicated and intricate opera. Additionally, their involvement in the opera ensures the funding granted to them is used properly for the production.

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