Members of Kansas University’s School of Music are in Germany for the summer, working on the performances of two operas at a music festival in Eutin, Germany, Lawrence’s sister city.
Music graduate students are involved in two operas in Germany — “Hänsel und Gretel” and “Don Giovanni” — as part of the music festival.
KU students are acting in “Hänsel und Gretel” and are serving as the orchestra for the performances of “Don Giovanni.”
The KU delegation also includes Robert Walzel, the dean of the music school, and David Neely, the KU orchestra director.
“The whole project we are involved in involves a certain degree of risk,” said Frank Baron, a KU German professor who is involved with the Friends of Eutin group in Lawrence.
It’s risky because the move was designed as a way to invigorate interest in the festival in Eutin, which is now in its 61st year. Previous festivals have featured professional musicians, and organizers didn’t know how crowds would respond to the KU delegation.
But so far, crowds have been very welcoming and gave an ovation to the orchestra at a recent performance after they were invited onstage, which is rare for these types of performances, Baron said.
Members of the KU delegation have their travel and lodging expenses paid but don’t receive compensation for performing in the festival, he said.
Martin Vollertsen, president of the Friends of Lawrence group in Eutin, attended one of the performances and said the reception there has been “wonderful.”
“I think it was a great success, and the newspaper articles have been great,” he said.
A previous well-received concert in January helped lay the foundation for the musicians’ appearance this summer, he said.
The KU delegation will continue to perform in Eutin through the beginning of August.