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Singing scientist joins holiday opera

December 20, 2007

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    December 20, 2007
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    Opera Carolina News

Singing scientist joins holiday opera

Davidson College physics professor Dan Boye won't be in a classroom this weekend but in a king's outfit on a professional opera stage.

Boye will sing bass-baritone as one of the three kings in Opera Carolina's annual holiday production of "Amahl & the Night Visitors."

The Davidson resident has performed in at least 20 Opera Carolina productions since 1991. He first appeared in an "Amahl" production when he was 10, as a peasant dancer at his hometown church, Mayfair United Methodist in Kingsport, Tenn.

Now he spreads that love to students in his Davidson College musical technology class.

Students in the liberal arts course for non-science majors attend an opera after learning about room acoustics, voice production and how instruments make sound, he said.

Boye, 49, also teaches electronics and instrumentation, and calculus-based general physics this semester. He had an hour break from giving exams when I called him at the college last week.

Boye was in the middle of two weeks of nightly rehearsals, two or three hours a night, with only Saturdays off. "It is an intense time," he said.

December is also when people pick up coughs and colds. "We've been constantly sick for the past six weeks," Boye said of his family, who include wife, Ann, and children Ellie, 7, and Charlie, 5.

Boye's the lucky one. He even filled in two weeks ago for a baritone who fell ill and couldn't perform Handel's "Messiah" with the Davidson College Concert Choir.

He joined Opera Carolina's "Amahl" cast as King Melchior last year, a role he plays again on Saturday at Central Piedmont Community College's Halton Theater in Charlotte.

The opera recounts the three kings' stopping to rest on their journey toward Bethlehem and finding a crippled boy named Amahl living with his mother in poverty. Amahl makes a selfless offering and discovers that generosity can create miracles.

Boye plays King Melchior, whom he describes as a powerful character who expresses hope for everyone, including the poor.

"I'm very lucky to be near an opera company that uses its local talent," Boye said. "Others you had to have a P.O. box in New York, whether you lived there or not."

I enjoyed watching Boye and other lead actors in the cast run flawlessly through the script during an hourlong rehearsal in Charlotte this week.

If the dry run was any indication, you're in for a true-meaning-of-Christmas treat.

"Amahl & the Night Visitors"

When: 7 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College, 1206 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte.

Tickets: $16 adults, $10 under age 18. Tickets available at operacarolina.org or 704-330-6534.

Charlotte Observer
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