‘Kismet’ offers unique musical experience

The University of Indianapolis music and theatre departments came together for their take on the 1953 Broadway original “Kismet.” The show was held in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall and ran for approximately three hours. More than 20 UIndy students, as well as a number of professional musicians who played in the pit, participated in the production.

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Junior performance major Elisabeth Kleinsmith (right) and senior music major Zach Cardwell perform “The Olive Tree” in the opera “Kismet.”
(Photo by: Tianyang Miao)

“Kismet,” originally a play by Edward Knoblock, was later adapted by Robert Wright and George Forrest as a Broadway musical. The play also was adapted for opera, which is the way it was performed at UIndy. The story follows the life of Hajj, a poet, who goes from being a beggar to royalty through a bit of deception and luck. Chorus member and sophomore vocal performance major Andy Wegg said that his friends described the show as “‘Aladdin’ with a twist.”

The members of the cast and chorus prepared for the show for more than a semester before the production came full circle. The final product was a culmination of two separate classes—Opera Scenes and Musical Opera Productions. The two classes began first semester and worked toward the show itself. Associate Music Director Amy Eggleston chose “Kismet” for the classes because of the characteristics of the singers currently in the program.

According to Wegg, the opera was well received by students and community members alike. The first night, Lilly Hall had a good number of open seats, but by Saturday, the hall was completely filled.

“A lot of the community enjoyed it,” Wegg said. “A lot of people rushed to catch the Saturday night show because they didn’t realize that we were only doing two shows.”

Sophomore psychology major Carmen Rosales did not know what to expect.

“I just went because my friend needed an LP credit,” Rosales said. “But I ended up liking it a lot. The singing was amazing.”

Although the show was an opera, Rosales said she did not have any trouble following the plot. She also expressed her gratitude to the university for having this type of LP credit event.

“A lot of the LPs can be boring,” Rosales said. “But this was different and entertaining.”