By Starr D’Avril
Dr. Robert Beckstrom, dean of Arts and Humanities, will see his opera Job take center stage at Stocker Arts Center Oct. 19. The original opera has been in Beckstrom’s mind since he first read the story of Job and thought it would make a challenging, dramatic performance piece. “It is not a personal odyssey, but I do love the text,” said Beckstrom.
Certain aspects of the text appealed to the artist and composer in Beckstrom. While taking a six-month sabbatical during 2010-2011, Beckstrom got to work putting the story to music armed with the latest software composition program, Finale.
When he returned to campus in July of 2011 all but the last six minutes had been completed. It took another two months to finish the musical score. The frustrations encountered along the way were dealing with how wordy the story is and setting it to the music. The audience will want to pay close attention to what is being sung. “It will have an impact on anyone who reads the text afterwards,” Beckstrom said, “It was a fun process all the way through.”
Taking the Biblical story and interpreting it for stage and a modern audience was a challenge Beckstrom met with determination. “It is a universal dilemma, and everyone has that knee-jerk reaction to assume that if something bad happens – ‘what did I do wrong?’” said Beckstrom. “The story is profound, it’s just as contemporary now as then.”
Six selections were performed and well received by Stocker audiences in February 2012. Mark Wanich stars in the title role and has worked on the music for a year. Wanich teaches voice at Case Western Reserve University. “He is captivating,” said Beckstrom. “I have one opera in my life, and Job is it. It would be so totally cool if it went on the road.”
Performances for Job: a new opera from the Old Testament are Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee Oct. 21 at 3:00 p.m. For tickets log on to www.stockerartscenter.com.