Hub City Opera and Dance Company Inc., founded by Highland Park resident Geza G. Schenk, springs to life on Sunday, April 15, 2018, Nicholas Music Center, with its inaugural production, Carl Orff’s Der Mond, in collaboration with Rutgers Mason Gross Music and Dance Departments and the Mason Gross Extension Division. The Highland Park Community Chorus will be playing a key role in the production.
According to Géza G. Schenk, president of Hub City Opera and Dance, “the choice of Der Mond as our first production was made with our company’s purpose in mind. Hub City Opera and Dance’s mission is to bring rare and new works to the Central Jersey community, encourage community involvement and enrichment, and provide a fresh view of opera and dance.
“In addition, with the inclusion of dance, Hub City Opera and Dance will be adding a new dimension to Orff’s work. We are also including the use of multimedia in the performance that will enhance the audience’s experience. Finally, and most notably, we are thrilled to be collaborating with the Music and Dance departments at Mason Gross, as well as the Rutgers Children’s Choir, part of the Mason Gross Extension Division.”
Mr. Schenk, a longtime resident of Highland Park, where he runs a graphic design agency, also teaches visual communication at Rutgers University’s Department of Landscape Architecture. He has been involved in the Highland Park arts and music scene since 2008, when he began signing with the Highland Park Community Chorus.
Mr. Schenk studied marketing, management, Slavic Studies, and linguistics in Berlin, Germany. After graduating from Freie Universität Berlin with a Master’s Degree in Business, he worked for advertising agencies before he started his own agency in Berlin. As head of Marketing Communications for MAN Diesel in Augsburg, he designed, developed and managed large-scale trade show appearances and events all over the world.
But Mr. Schenk then decided to take his life in a different direction. Since childhood, he has been enthusiastic about music (his mother was a piano teacher and his paternal grandparents both were opera singers). Following his passion for music, opera, drama, and staging — he eventually started to work in the dramaturgy department of the Bavarian Theatre Academy in Munich before he relocated to the United States.
Hub City Opera and Dance’s collaboration with Mason Gross affords students the opportunity to experience themselves in performance with a professional opera company and allows Hub City Opera and Dance to contribute to the university. In addition, many other community groups are given the chance to participate.
Pamela Gilmore, Director of Opera at Rutgers, said, “it is inspiring to bring so many diverse cultural entities together – Opera at Rutgers, Hub City Opera and Dance, Mason Gross School of the Arts Dance, the Highland Park Community Chorus, and Rutgers Children’s Choir – to create a production that is equally applicable and interesting to a diverse audience.“
Benjamin Berman, who will conduct the work and is the vice president and music director of Hub City Opera and Dance, said, “Der Mond is a lesser-known work of Carl Orff, composer of the world-famous Carmina Burana. This will be the first time Der Mond has been staged in the tri-state area since its New York City premiere in 1956.” Orff based his opera on a Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale about four curious fellows who steal the moon from an oak tree branch and take it back to their homeland.
Der Mond will be performed in German with English supertitles. A reception will follow for patrons of the opera and dance company who will have an opportunity to meet and greet the artists, board members and directors of the production.
About Hub City Opera and Dance Company, Inc.
Hub City Opera and Dance, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, based in Highland Park, NJ and formed in 2017, whose mission is to connect the Central Jersey community with important old and new works that educate and entertain. An important part of this community connection is bringing amateur and professional singers, musicians, dance and visual artists together to create performance art that is of a quality never before seen or heard. The company reimagines the relationship between opera and dance in innovative, integrated performances. The company’s mission includes enriching the community and bringing music education to the area through outreach programs offered to schools, colleges and civic institutions.
For more information about Hub City Opera and Dance, please visit www.hubcityopera.org.
The production will take place on Sunday, April 15, 2018. at 7:30 p.m. in the Nicholas Music Center, 85 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University, Douglass Campus.
Tickets may be purchased by phone at 848-932-7511 or in person at the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center Ticket Office, 85 George Street, New Brunswick. The cost for tickets are as follows: Public $15 / Seniors, Rutgers Alumni and Employees $10 / Students $5 (fees may apply).