Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

SDSU Opera Presents “Flight,” the First Production Under New Director

Alan E. Hicks' directorial premiere at SDSU tells a timely refugee story, featuring an ensemble cast

SDSU Opera Presents “Flight,” the First Production Under New Director

By Elizabeth Allison

Flight is the premiere SDSU Opera performance under the direction of Alan E. Hicks, Director of Opera Theatre, who serves a joint appointment with the San Diego Opera and SDSU. The production runs from Friday, Nov. 16 through Sunday, Nov. 18 and will be performed at the J. Dayton Smith Recital Hall in the SDSU School of Music and Dance.

Based on a true-life story

With music by Jonathan Dove and libretto by April De Angelis, Flight delicately balances laugh-out-loud comedy with more serious and contemplative moments, reflecting the complex experience of the real-life inspiration for the opera. It retells the story of an Iranian refugee who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport for 18 years.

Performed in English, the opera is written for an ensemble cast, introducing a diverse group of characters who each find themselves delayed in the terminal.

Flight deals with relevant current issues. It shows that ultimately people are more similar to one another than they’re willing to acknowledge,” said graduate student and counter-tenor Philip Gómez, who will be playing the role of the refugee. “This opera is very theatrical and has a variety of characters with whom the audience will be able to relate.”

Preparing for a career in the arts

Hicks chose a challenging work for the students in the School of Music and Dance. Students were required to apply their knowledge of, and experience with, vocal technique, music theory, and theatre, to bring the opera to life.

Hicks used the production to prepare students for the professional world of opera by familiarizing themselves with the different areas of stage production. In addition to preparing for their challenging roles, student performers became involved with the creation of the set. Hicks believes that understanding how each different department in an opera operates will help prepare students to be more conscious professionals.

“The students are not just learning parts for a performance,” said Hicks. “My goal is to establish a baseline from which we can grow. Through a skills acquisition portion of the opera program, I can tailor classwork specifically for the students based on their strengths, weakness, and educational goals.”

Where and when

Performances of “Flight” will be at 7:00pm on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, and at 2:00pm on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and military, and $10 for students.

For tickets, directions, and parking information, visit For more information about the many other Arts Alive SDSU performances, concerts, and exhibitions, visit

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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