Ross Snyder will make his directing debut with the Schenectady Light Opera Company during performances of Pirates of Penzance Oct. 21-24, but he's no stranger to the SLOC stage. In fact, he portrayed one of the comedic opera's lead characters in a different version of the production, years ago.
"This was a delightful experience, primarily because we had a wonderful cast that got along great, and I've actually performed in the show as Major General Stanley, so I knew the show really well and am a real fan of Gilbert and Sullivan," said Snyder.
Part of the reason Snyder jumped at the chance to rest his acting chops and take a turn directing, was because he was eager to bring back the tradition of presenting light opera. "Pirates of Penzance," he said, seemed like the perfect show to do just that.
"SLOC has been in business for 83 years and started out as strictly a light opera company, but they tend to get away from doing those anymore so I was very happy to bring one back," said Snyder. "This is the last show in our existing theater so I thought it appropriate to close that theater with a light opera."
Light opera was the transition between grand opera and the modern musical. Grand opera is told by three tenors and sung in Italian. Modern musicals that audiences are accustomed to today feature more dialogue with songs to accent the plot. Light opera is somewhere in between, heavy on the singing but with a plot that is advanced by the songs themselves.
Amy Shake graduated from SUNY Fredonia in May and found herself cast as the character Mabel for her first post-college acting gig. She said this light opera is exactly the type of theater she hopes to expose more people to.