Finger Lakes Opera presents first Geneseo production

Under professor of music Gerard Floriano, Finger Lakes Opera performed Georges Bizet’s famous opera “Carmen” in Wadsworth Auditorium on Aug. 8 and 10. All 945 tickets were sold out on both days. It was the first opera hosted at Geneseo.“Nothing like this ever happened before,” Floriano said. The event attracted people from as far away as Buffalo and New York City and those from more local areas. “The audience was so moved that they could not stop talking about it even after the concert,” lecturer of music James Kimball said. The professional workmanship of both the directors and performers contributed to the opera’s success. Floriano is an accomplished chorale and orchestral conductor with a keen understanding of the instrumental challenges and vocal demands of operas. The orchestra consisted of the members of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and other professional musicians, but the performance would not have been complete without choreographers, costume designers, set designers and other staff who worked behind the scenes. Floriano said he knew that having an opera concert in Geneseo during the summer would be successful because “music is what unites people and brings people together from everywhere.” To do so, Floriano selected “Carmen” as the company’s inaugural production. Even those who are not interested in an opera have heard the tune of “Habanera” and “Toreador Song.” In addition to music and orchestration, “Carmen” has a very dramatic and memorable storyline. It is an epic involving love, passion and violence. According to Floriano, one of the biggest challenges was making Wadsworth Auditorium work for an opera. “It was like creating something from nothing,” he said. According to Floriano, Wadsworth is not an up-to-date concert hall––it has a number of technical problems with seating, bathrooms, lighting and the backstage area. In order to overcome the problems, Floriano decided to make the opera somewhat contemporary, but with traditional elements. The costumes, for instance, resembling modern Spanish attire, brought a contemporary twist to the classic play. Floriano and Finger Lakes Opera will announce the future opera production on the Finger Lakes Opera homepage in several weeks.