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Feb. 7, 2012

Contact David Richardson at 608-796-3781 or 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Viterbo University will present Leonard Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti as part of its Chamber Opera Series Friday, Feb. 17–Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall.

Trouble in Tahiti is the story of a day in the life of Sam, an ambitious young executive, and Dinah, his bored and ignored wife, set in the materialistic environment of 1950s American suburbia. It stars two of Viterbo’s outstanding singers, students Meghan Rinehart and Aiden Smerud.

“It is a contemporary piece and in a different style than the operas we’ve done in the past,” said David Richardson, Viterbo instructor of music. “It’s good for our students and for our audience to experience a less traditional opera. It features challenging music and the drama will keep audiences involved.”

Trouble in Tahiti is a one-act opera in seven scenes that was written in English and runs approximately 45 minutes in length. It has a cast of five; Sam, Dinah, and a “Greek Chorus” of three. Richardson will serve as music director and accompanist, with fellow faculty member Dan Johnson-Wilmot serving as vocal coach and guest Brent Wilson, a personal friend of Richardson, providing stage direction and design. Wilson is a music faculty member at Ventura College in California and the Chorus Master of Opera Santa Barbara.

“It’s always good to offer students a different perspective,” Richardson said. “And of course it’s fun working with a friend.”

The Greek chorus contrasts the idealistic American dream of the 1950s with Sam and Dinah and their troubled marriage.

“The jazz-infused music of the Greek Chorus is very pleasing, and the music of Sam and Dinah is a darker, more traditional classical style,” Richardson said.

Tickets are $9 for general admission seating. For more information, contact the Viterbo box office at 608-796-3100 or visit 


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