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Press Release for Friday, October 14, 2016

UNF School of Music Presents American Opera ‘Street Scene’

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida School of Music presents “Street Scene,” an American opera by Kurt Weill at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Lazzara Performance Hall in the Fine Arts Center, Building 45.

This will be the Opera Ensemble’s 21st production and features a cast of 36 singers, including 12 children, and 40 players in the UNF Orchestra. “Street Scene,” which originally premiered in New York in 1946, is by German-American composer Kurt Weill, who has been based in the United States since 1933. The production is directed by Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki, head of applied voice at UNF, and is conducted by Dr. Simon Shiao, associate professor of music at UNF.

The score is very much based in Broadway musical theater and opera traditions requiring real classical voices to sing it. This work also features tons of spoken dialogue making it quite unique among other American works.

The set is also unique in that it will be 60-feet wide across the stage of the Lazzara Performance Hall and resembles two large two-story New York apartment buildings with functional windows and a full fire escape.

Since 2007, UNF Opera has produced 20 complete productions in the last decade, including six complete operas in Europe during its annual opera study abroad program in the Czech Republic. Traditional operas include the “Magic Flute,” “Marriage of Figaro,” “La Traviata,” “Cosi Fan Tutte,” among others. UNF Opera has also produced other 20th-century American works, such as “The Consul,” performed in the Lazzara Performance Hall in 2011.

The UNF Opera Ensemble was established in 2007, after the appointment of Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki as the Head of Applied Voice in the UNF Department of Music. Comprised and cast from both undergraduate and graduate voice majors, the UNF Opera Ensemble focuses on skill development, stagecraft and theatrical experience through production and performance of complete operatic works suitable for student voices. UNF Opera Ensemble also engages in community outreach, student recruitment and promotion of operatic arts in the community through production of special concerts, educational programs and school performances.

Tickets for this performance, which is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., cost $15 and are free for students with proper identification. To purchase tickets, contact the UNF Ticket Box Office at (904) 620-2878. For more information about this performance, contact the UNF School of Music at (904) 620-2961.

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. administers, promotes and perpetuates the legacies of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. It encourages broad dissemination and appreciation of Weill’s music through support of performances, productions, recordings and scholarship; it fosters understanding of Weill’s and Lenya’s lives and work within diverse cultural contexts; and building upon the legacies of both, it nurtures talent, particularly in the creation, performance and study of musical theater in its various manifestations and media. For more information, visit

The Music Flagship Program provides music majors and non-music majors alike the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and ability in all aspects of music at a level relevant and appropriate to their needs and interests and to prepare music majors for careers as performers, teachers, composers, arrangers and professionals in the music industry and its supporting fields. Our students experience transformational learning opportunities through international study abroad programs, interaction with world class guest artists and community based performance and pedagogical programs.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.