Thomas Dale graduate makes opera debut in “The Tenderland”

Evan Nunery, a 2009 Thomas Dale High School graduate of the Specialty Center of Visual and Performing Arts music program, recently made his opera debut in Aaron Copeland’s neoclassical opera “The Tenderland” during the inaugural season of the Southwest Virginia Summer Opera Company.

The Copeland opera tells the story of a farm family in the Midwest at the time of the Great Depression. The Chester native was casted as one of eight leading roles in the production as Top; a middle aged drifter who, alongside his friend Martin, excites a young high school senior named Laurie to explore the world beyond her white-picked fence.

Eager to find work, Laurie’s grandfather gives them a job opportunity and accepted in the community as harvesters. After Martin and Laurie are seen kissing each other, Grandpa Moss orders the drifters to leave at once. It is now up to Top to make his friend Martin realize that it would never work between he and Laurie and that they must flee before more turmoil breaks out in the family.

From June 22 - June 30, The Southwest Virginia Summer Opera Company spent one week touring parts of Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Northeastern Tennessee. They concluded their tour with a performance at The Paramount Theatre in Bristol, Tennessee.

Evan Nunery is currently a senior music performance major with a psychology minor at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and is expected to graduate with honors in May 2013. He was a recipient of the Betty Gilliam Music Scholarship and is currently living in Wise, Virginia where he is the founding choreographer of the “Wise Voice” show choir. He hopes to attend graduate school for music therapy.

Submitted by Donna Nunery.

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