By Christina Wallace 

ORONO — Rehearsals are underway for UMaine Opera Workshop’s production of “Trial by Jury” by Gilbert and Sullivan that will be taking place on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m in Hauck Auditorium. This will be the first one-act opera that this ensemble will perform. 

Opera Workshop is an exclusive ensemble at the University of Maine consisting of students who perform short scenes from operas as an introduction to the art of performing. This semester, in addition to having a scenes performance, the cast of Opera Workshop will be performing a one-act opera, “Trial by Jury”. 

“Trial by Jury” is a one-act comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, known for their collaboration on many popular operettas in the late 19th century. This particular work, first performed in 1875, is a satirical take on the legal system and the absurdities of courtship. 

The opera takes place in a courtroom, where a jury is being assembled for a trial. The case involves a breach of promise lawsuit, with the plaintiff, Angelina, suing the defendant, Edwin, for breaking off their engagement. Throughout the trial, the characters engage in humorous and catchy songs, adding to the overall comedic atmosphere. 

The one-act will be directed by Deiran Manning, collaborative pianist and executive director of the Winter Harbor Music Festival. 

“It is basically a mockery of the British judicial system, taking elements of trials and blowing them out of proportion” says Manning. “This has been an enjoyable experience with these students who are willing to put the time in.” 

Reagan Nedder, who plays the Council in the one-act, remarks on how her experience in Opera Workshop has been. 

“I love getting to do such a comical one-act alongside such wonderful and talented people.” Nedder says. “I’m so excited to get to do my first opera with an orchestra as well. It’s a hilarious show with a really strong ensemble and I’m excited for people to see it.” 

Nedder’s character spends the opera trying to get justice for Angelina by relaying her story to the jury in the absolute most emotional way possible. She does not shy away from making her opinions known.

The performances are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the School of Performing Arts website or the Opera Workshop Facebook page.