Moore’s chief marketing and communications officer is indulging in one of his passions over the next two weekends – performing in an opera.
Roy A. Wilbur is playing the Major-Domo in a production of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Academy of Vocal Arts. It’s the fifth time he’s performed the role, and this is his second go-round at AVA in Philadelphia. He last performed the role at AVA 25 years ago, when he was associate director there. Wilbur has also performed as the Major-Domo in a production in Corfu, Greece.
This is the second time he’s played the role in German, and he had some brushing up to do.
"I've performed the speaking role of the Major-Domo four times, the last time was 25 years ago, but the last time I did it in German was 35 years ago in Corfu, Greece," he said. "When I was still singing regularly, I sang a number of times in German, but speaking German is quite different and, for me, difficult especially when I had to learn and memorize it in just a week and a half which is what this, the fifth time, called for. Dottie Danner, the stage director, who I worked with at Chautauqua Opera called me and was in a pinch so I has happy to return to my alma mater and do this for her and AVA."
The AVA production is set in 1915 Vienna, Austria. Ariadne auf Naxos tells the story of the richest man in Vienna who has called together two groups of performers in his home for a party — a troupe of opera singers preparing for a serious opera, and one of comedians scheduled to perform an Italian comedy. Dinner goes long, and the major-domo tells the players that the opera and the comedy must be performed together so that the fireworks display can begin on time. Hilarity ensues as the performers work to combine the opera and the comedy.
A 1983 graduate of The Academy of Vocal Arts, Roy A. Wilbur went on to perform with opera companies across the U. S. in numerous roles, including Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Rodolfo in La bohème and his favorite role, Lennie in Of Mice and Men, which he performed with Hidden Valley Opera in California and again with Florida Grand Opera under the direction of the composer Carlisle Floyd. He later returned to AVA as the associate director and for three years directed its perennial holiday production of Hansel and Gretel, singing the role of the Witch. Now a respected arts marketing professional, he is currently the chief marketing and communications officer for Moore College of Art & Design and continues to perform with theaters in the Philadelphia area in such roles as Tito in Lend Me A Tenor, Felix in The Odd Couple and Hector in The History Boys. Roy is thrilled to again be working with Dorothy Danner.
Ariadne auf Naxos is being performed at the Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pa., 19102, February 24 and 27 and March 1 and 3. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen Corning Warden Theater. For information, go to www.avaopera.org, or call 215.735.1685.