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Opera Buffet

Inside the Kaleidoscope

Location + schedule

Ritz Theater Proscenium
345 13th Av NE

DateTimeMy FringeAccess
Saturday 8/77:00 p.m.  
Sunday 8/88:30 p.m.  
Tuesday 8/1010:00 p.m.  
Wednesday 8/115:30 p.m.  
Saturday 8/147:00 p.m.  
About the show

For ages 12+
Musical theater, Drama, Queer/GLBT, Political

Created by Carolyn Elerding

Overall rating

One-of-a-kind opera variety show spectacular! Arresting, experimental, and contemporary. A colorful blend of intense drama and engaging humor by Minnesota artists and talent from across the nation. In English.

At the 2010 Fringe, Opera Buffet presents INSIDE THE KALEIDOSCOPE, a smart, intriguing, colorful, and progressive opera variety show including electronic music and video projection. Each short segment tells a different story in a contrasting soundscape and visual style. Colorado poet Nicole Coonradt's "Bertram and Ferdinando" is a GLBT-friendly tale of love that will appeal to all. "Eugene Shoemaker's Thank You Note" is a unique science fiction confection by local playwright Marit Peterson."Living Stone" by Carolyn Elerding addresses an issue close to everyone's heart: the aging of loved ones and memory loss.

Also by Elerding, "Eponymous: Theremin Remembers" tells the amazing life story of Leon Theremin--one of the first inventors to create television, music synthesizers, and radio surveillance--in a few short minutes!

And finally, Elerding's "Frendz 4-Evah" is the story of an intermittent lifelong friendship that achieves a new level of stability. All music and video in the show is provided by Carolyn Elerding. House music is by Minneapolis composer Dixie Treichel

Highlights from a previous production: Medicine Show, The Opera!

Medicine Show, The Opera!

Laura Anderson
Role: Melissa in Frendz 4-Evah

Soprano Laura Anderson is a doctoral candidate in the University of Minnesota School of Music. Anderson is an active promoter of contemporary music, premiering works by Douglas Geers, Christopher Pratorius, David Cope, Eric Sawyer, Dante De Silva, and Sylvain Carton. She has been a guest artist at the SPARK Festival of Electronic Music and with the Twin Cities' Renegade Ensemble. A native of California, Anderson holds a Master of Music degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Josh Armijo
Role: artist (painter)

Josh Armijo of Denver, Colorado, passionate and stylish, old-school and design-forward, has been making art since the age of five. His beautiful, spiritual paintings, inspired by his childhood on the Northern Plains Montana Indian Reservation, express the questioning spirit of a fiery individual who has mastered his creative gifts.

Nicole Coonradt
Role: Librettist of Bertram and Ferdinando

Nicole Coonradt is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver exploring Shakespeare and the Jesuits in her dissertation. Published critical essays range from Shakespeare to Toni Morrison and her sonnets have appeared in The Renaissance Bulletin. She lives in Castle Rock, CO with her husband and their three sons.

Anna Degraff
Role: Jennifer in Frendz 4-Evah

A versatile mezzo-soprano, Anna E DeGraff has performed roles in The Rape of Lucretia (Lucretia), Il Trovatore (Azucena), Carousel (Carrie Pipperidge), Cosi fan tutte (Dorabella), and the world premiere of Medicine Show: The Opera (Violet McNeal). Anna is currently studying vocal performance at the University of Minnesota.

Carolyn Elerding
Role: composer, librettist, director, producer, etc.

Carolyn Elerding, founder and director of Opera Buffet, is a Minnesota composer, performer, librettist, and digital media artist with graduate and undergraduate degrees in music composition and a graduate minor in cultural studies. Her first evening-length experimental multimedia opera (Medicine Show, The Opera!) was premiered in Minneapolis in October 2009.

Chris Foss
Role: title role in Eugene Shoemaker's Thank You Note

Chris grew up in southwest Iowa and graduated from Millikin University with a BM in Commercial Music. After a short two years at the University of Nebraska directing the Vocal Jazz program and earning his MM in Choral Conducting, Chris has relocated to the Twin Cities and was proud to join Cantus for in 2008. Recent appearances with other professional vocal groups include: Four Shadow, Omaha Chamber Music Series, Chapter 6, Voices of Omaha, Dulces Voces, and Home Free. Chris is also active as an award-winning arranger, continuing to arrange music in a wide variety of styles and applications. Chris lives in Kingfield Minneapolis, where he enjoys playing Frisbee and brewing beer.

Kristin Kenning
Role: Starring in Living Stone

Kristin Kenning is a performer, instructor, and stage director. She has worked as both stage and music director at Theatre Unbound, most recently for their production of Quilters. A new opera specialist, she directed Medicine Show, The Opera! in 2009 and the premiere season of The Ladysmith Story this summer.

Matt Knipschield
Role: multimedia specialist

Matt Knipschield is active in a variety of creative and technical fields, including graphic design, photography, and audio engineering. He has recorded and produced everything from voice-over work and animated video software tutorials to the occasional rock band. He assisted with multimedia tech for Medicine Show, The Opera!

Chris Loomis
Role: multiple roles in Frendz 4-Evah

James Meyers
Role: stage manager

James is currently an undergraduate senior in the University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance Department and is focusing on directing and stage management. Although James has been involved with theatre for many years, this is his first professional experience as a stage manager. It is also his first Fringe Festival.

Nicholas Nelson
Role: starring in Eponymous: Theremin Remembers

Nicholas Nelson is currently working with Portland Opera in Oregon and performing a second season with Central City Opera in Colorado. He has won first place in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition twice and won First Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Minnesota District in 2007.

Marit Peterson
Role: librettist of Eugene Shoemaker's Thank You Note

Marit Anne Peterson is a Minneapolis lawyer, writer, and worshiper at the church of internal combustion. She is interested in history in general, and the history of space exploration in particular (among other marvelous distractions). She is thrilled to contribute to such an amazing collection of work!

Scott Sandberg
Role: Ferdinando in Bertram and Ferdinando
Scott Sandberg is a bit of an opera geek. He loves poetry, German Lieder, bike racing on a velodrome, and all kinds of opera. He's a radical leftist whose younger daughter spent a year in Kuwait with the Minnesota National Guard.

Shahzore Shah
Role: Bertram in Bertram and Ferdinando

Shahzore Shah, tenor, has always enjoyed performing new operas, solo repertoire and chamber works. As a member of the male vocal ensemble, Cantus, he has had the privilege of working with many talented composers and premiering new works every year. He is thrilled to be performing in the Fringe Festival.

Linda Stonerock
Role: photographer

For 30 years, Linda Stonerock has loved photography and taking photographs. The photographs in this production were taken with 35-mm film using a process of intentional, yet random, double exposures. Linda and her cameras (though she now owns a 35-mm digital camera, film remains her preference) live in Boulder, Colorado.

Dixie Treichel
Role: house music composer

Dixie Treichel is a Minneapolis composer, sound designer, experimental instrument maker and producer/host on the KFAI program Fresh Fruit. She has composed and designed for theater, dance, film and interdisciplinary performance. Dixie received a Hollywood Drama-Logue Award for theatrical sound design in San Francisco and is included in Who's Who of American Women.

User reviews

Great Singing - Performance Art
by Tim McClernon Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The pieces to this kaleidoscope were mostly interesting, creative and, at times, moving. I'm not sure the pieces make up a whole, nor are intended to. Shahzore Shah sings beautifully for the beginning kaleidoscope and remains on stage for the whole show with his head on a desk until he wakes up at the end: maybe his dreams as he sleeps at his desk are meant to hold it together? Pretty bizarre dreams if that's the case!

The photography and videos shown on the screen at the back of the stage are artfully done: and the interaction of art, recorded music (which often worked well) with the singers makes for some excellent performance art.

The part with the Leon Tlieremin was very intriguing with it's mix of video, music and story line: perhaps my favorite.

Great Singing and Fascinating Subject
by Aaron Humble Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
It was good to see new and experimental music at the Fringe Festival. For the first show, the technical aspects of the show went as well as could be expected. Balance between singers and accompaniment was sometimes off, but that has probably been fixed by now. Although some of the reviewers did not enjoy the prerecorded material, I found it effective in distinguishing the difference between fantasy and reality, and demonstrating how disconnected relationships can become over time. The scene with the elderly woman and the phone (including a lot of prerecorded music) was very powerful and effective in showing the static that many elderly people have to sort through as they encounter dementia.

Is it rude to leave
by Diana Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 0 kitties
I couldn't believe how horrible this was. My group I was with, was just bored, and just found that the talent's voices were wasted on such CRAP! The best part of the whole show, was seeing the Friends 4 ever piece when they leave this one store, they were just shopping in, having a sign that said CLOSED!

Worth a shot!
by Tara Laberge Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This operatic vareity show is an interesting and unique combination of visual arts and opera. Kudos goes to Carolyn Elerding for undertaking the daunting task of composing new opera. The singers are all excellent with an especially fine performance by Kristin Kenning as an aging woman coping with alzheimers. This show deosn't quite know what is wants to achieve yet, but I think the seeds of several fascinating projects are germinating here.

Wonderful singing
by Kelly Elliott Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I thought the performers had beautiful voices and the acting was pretty good. I thought the scene about memory loss was beautiful. I was disappointed with all the recorded singing though and I wish there had been more staging and more of a story.

New music! At the Fringe!
by Florence Brammer Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
What a treat to hear brand-new music hot off the music stand at the Fringe, performed by a wonderful and fully prepared cast of singers. The visual elements -- including artwork and video that enhanced the on-stage narratives -- were beautiful and effectve. I especially enjoyed the gorgeous Hubble images of the universe. Eldering painstakingly researched and incorporated a wide variety of scientific, literary and historical resources for this work. One review commented on the piece's "disjointedness," but -- as reflected by the term "buffet" in the company title, it appears intended to be a sampling of several tastes. I love a show that dares to be different, especially when it succeeds as this one does.

A fragmented 'Kaleidoscope'
by Scott Jackson Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
This opera was fragmented, static to the point of lifelessness, and often difficult to comprehend. Much of the singing was pre-recorded, including a pre-recorded voice singing from a phone - three times! - as the phone's owner held it without responding. Talk about phoning it in! Stay outside.

This rating is for the singing only
by Scott Pakudaitis Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
At the end of this performance, I heard a nearby audience member say "What was that?!" That was my thought exactly. I wish that more of the singing was live instead of recorded. The duet with the two women would have been so much more interesting if they would have performed their flashbacks instead of watching them on video. Aesthetically I couldn't figure out why titles were displayed as if they were spray-painted onto a wall; they made no sense given the context of the entire show. The integration of video with live singing provided some lovely backgrounds for the soloists; the live pieces were delightful. Taken together, the show had no arc and felt disjointed.