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4/15/2005 Linfield, Gallery Theater to present

McMINNVILLE - A vibrant array of costumes, characters, singing and acting will fill the stage during "The Student Prince," a full operetta by Sigmund Romberg, presented by the Linfield College Opera Workshop and Gallery Theater.

Eight shows will be presented at the Gallery Theater in McMinnville. Performances are April 29-30, May 6-7 and 13-14 at 8 p.m., with two Sunday shows, May 1 and 8, at 3 p.m.

The operetta is the culmination of the Linfield Opera Workshop, a one-credit course offered each spring to give students operatic experience. This is the 13th production of the workshop, directed by Gwen Leonard, professor of music at Linfield. She is assisted by David Howell, stage director, and Brian Conaster, pianist.

In this sentimental romantic drama, Prince Karl Franz, studying in Heidelberg, falls in love with Kathie, a waitress at the Inn of the Three Golden Apples. But Karl?s grandfather, the king, falls ill, and Karl must return home. For reasons of state, he is forced to marry Princess Margaret, who is also in love with someone else. Years later, Karl returns to Heidelberg for one final goodbye with Kathie.

The lively performance runs two and one half hours with intermission and features a cast of 36 students and community members, some professional singers, according to Leonard.

"It is a very strong cast," Leonard said. "I was looking for a believable show in terms of our students playing roles, and student characters are central to this show."

The romantic lead roles have been double cast, featuring two professional singers and two younger voices. Lance Ferguson, a Portland tenor, and J.P. Bierly, a 2002 Linfield graduate, will both play Prince Karl. Ada Hunter, a McMinnville soprano, and Carrie Hurley, a Linfield freshman, will play Kathie. A number of additional roles, a Linfield student orchestra and a large chorus round out the cast.

Hunter, a classically trained soprano, said the production?s choreography is challenging.

"At one point, my character is lifted onto a table and then later is carried while singing," said Hunter, music ministry coordinator at the First Baptist Church in McMinnville. "We?re still working out the details."

The Linfield-Gallery collaboration combines expertise from both organizations. Gallery is providing sets and costumes, while Linfield provides the musicians and musical direction.

"There?s a synergy here," Leonard said. "Both the Linfield Opera Workshop and Gallery Theater are dipping into the others? expertise and the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts."

The Linfield College Opera Workshop gives students an opportunity to combine singing and acting ability in the context of studying repertoire from the best of musical theatre. The workshop was established in 1993 when student singers collaborated with the Linfield Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Pergolesi?s "la Serva Padrona."

Tickets purchased in advance are $12 for general admission and $11 for students and seniors, and must be purchased before 6 p.m. Friday for that weekend?s performances. They are an additional $2 if purchased at the door. Family and group rates are available. Tickets may be purchased at the Gallery Theater box office Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., or reserved by phone, 503-472-2227. Additional ticket information can be found at www.gallerytheater.org.

For more information, call the Linfield Music Department at 503-883-2275.