News

April 11, 2011

Legendary Opera Star Thomas Lawlor Performs Gilbert and Sullivan Revue at Williams Center April 20

Thomas Lawlor (left) as Strephon in the opera Iolanthe.

Thomas Lawlor, who has performed on the stage for more than 30 years, will present a revue of excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan’s celebrated comic operas 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, in the Williams Center for the Arts.

Lawlor will meet with students during a noon workshop Friday, April 15, in the Gendebien Room of Skillman Library. Anthony Cummings, professor of music, will host the informal interview with Lawlor focusing on his career, and students will watch video clips of his performances and ask questions.

Lawlor will direct and perform in the April 20 revue with a cast including Jennifer Kelly, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities; Eric Van Hoven and Anna Marie Marzullo, both visiting part-time instructors of music; and Laura Ferri. They will perform numbers from operas such as The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, and H.M.S. Pinafore.

During his career, Lawlor has appeared in more than 70 roles at some of the foremost opera houses in the United Kingdom and Europe. He was a member of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in London, which has been considered the custodian of the W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan tradition for the past 100 years. Lawlor went on to an operatic career at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, Glydebourne, the English National Opera, and other distinguished venues.

In addition to his career as a performer, Lawlor was formerly a director in the opera department of the Royal Academy of Music and at Trinity College of Music, both in London, and was director of opera at the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan. He founded his own production company, Beavertail Opera Productions, which specialized in educational operatic programming for adults and children alike. Most recently, he taught voice classes and gave lessons in the music department of Rhode Island College.

Tickets are $12 for the general public and are available by calling the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

Lawlor’s residency is sponsored by Lafayette’s Creative and Performing Arts Program; the departments of Art, English, and Foreign Languages and Literatures; the film and media studies program, Friends of the Williams Center, Student Government, Marquis Scholars Program, McKelvy House Scholars, Office of the Provost, Drs. Herman W. and Lekha Tull and Mitchell Weseley.

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