Ryan Chartrand

Love affairs, mistaken identity and schemes for revenge will take place in the Spanos Theater this weekend – and no, it’s not a showing of “The Hills.”

Instead, scenes from Johann Strauss’ operetta “Die Fledermaus” (translation: “The Bat”) will be performed by the Cal Poly Opera Workshop at 8 p.m. today and Saturday.

Music faculty member David Arrivée is conducting the show, and Ross Halper of the San Francisco Opera is directing the libretto, or dialogue, sections. Arias, duets and ensembles will be performed.

The operetta centers on the various exploits of four main characters: Baron von Eisenstein, Eisenstein’s wife Rosalind, Rosalind’s maid Adele and Prince Orlofsky. Different students will play those four characters each night so that more students will be able to participate.

Though the word “opera” may inspire visions of confusing plot lines and unintelligible music for some, music senior Chloe Gill, who will play Adele Friday night, said this isn’t the case.

“Opera is one of those things you go to and expect to be boring because it’s such an old art, but when you go, you discover that it’s hilarious. It’s all about intrigue and scandal and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” she said.

Cal Poly voice, performance and diction teacher Jacalyn Kreitzer started the Cal Poly Opera Workshop five years ago. Kreitzer has more than 20 years of opera experience and has performed in more than 80 shows, including shows for the Metropolitan Opera.

Even so, her students have surprised her.

“These students are fantastic. Despite (the fact that) we’ve had very few rehearsal times and haven’t had as much coaching since we’re a very small teaching staff, I’m utterly impressed,” she said. “I hold them in the highest regard. It’s amazing what they’ve done.”

No experience is required to be part of the opera workshop, though auditions are held to ensure that all students can carry a tune. The group contains students with majors from music to business and by taking part in the workshop, these students can receive school credit for being part of the group.

Kreitzer, though, said students get more than just that by participating.

“It’s extraordinarily valuable for students to perform onstage. They learn how to present themselves better in public, they lose their shyness and they get a real confidence boost,” she said.

Gill, who has been involved in the workshop for nearly four years, finds the entire experience illuminating and fun.

“It’s a really wonderful experience to participate in a program where we get to learn the entire process that goes along with putting together an opera. Not many people get to do that,” she said.

Tickets to the performances are $6 for students and seniors, and $10 for the public. Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.

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