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Marquita Lister Featured at OCU-Hosted NATS Conference
Nearly 1,000 singers and teachers from three states will convene at Oklahoma City University Nov. 5-8 for the first regional Texoma National Association of Teachers of Singing competition to be hosted by the Wanda L. Bass School of Music. A highlight of the four-day conference will be a Nov. 6 operatic and art song recital featuring soprano Marquita Lister, one of Oklahoma City University’s distinguished alumna of the year. The 8 p.m. concert, in Kirkpatrick Auditorium, is open to the public. Tickets ($15) are available in advance from 405.208.5474 or at the door. Lister, accompanied by pianist Jan McDaniel, will present American classics including the award-winning song cycle “Life Is Fine,” by Edward Knight, OCU composer in residence. Lister recorded the cycle, inspired by poetry of Langston Hughes, for Albany Records. Over the past two decades, Lister has won raves for her intense, expressive portrayals of operatic roles. She has been praised for her poignant, precise and intelligent technique. She earned her graduate degree from Oklahoma City University, winning several singing competitions before joining its Houston Grand Opera Studio. In Texas, she spent two years in such roles as Fiordiligi in “Così fan tutte,” Micaela in “Carmen,” and the High Priestess in the Wortham Theater Center's inaugural production of “Aida” with Mirella Freni and Placido Domingo. Her performance as Bess in New York City Opera’s PBS broadcast of “Porgy and Bess” prompted the opera house to award her its “Diva Award” for 2002. McDaniel will join fellow Bass School faculty members Florence Birdwell and David Herendeen for a joing masterclass for singers from 1:30-3 p.m. Thursday in Petree Recital Hall. On Friday, OCU voice instructor Catherine McDaniel – accompanied by her husband, Jan McDaniel – will present a lecture/recital on “Edward Knight’s ‘Tales Not Told:’ The Genesis of a 21st century song cycle.” The McDaniels’ performance is scheduled from 10-11 a.m. in Petree Rectial Hall, followed by an 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. master class by Lister. A special NATS preview performance of Puccini’s opera “La Rondine” will be staged in Kirkpatrick Auditorium at 8 p.m., in Italian with English supertitles. The revised work is directed by Herendeen, head of OCU’s Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company, and conducted by McDaniel. “OCU is presenting the first college production of a revised version of this Puccini jewel,” Herendeen said. “Director Marta Domingo, wife of Placido, conceived and directed the new version, which was first performed by Los Angeles Opera this summer.” In “La Rondine,” the life of Parisian courtesan Magda is filled with free-flowing champagne and light-hearted liaisons. Upon meeting the young Ruggero, she recognizes her soul mate. But, on the threshold of their new life, Ruggero receives an anonymous letter detailing Magda’s past. The results are the stuff of operatic legend. The performance – with full costumes and orchestrations – is open to the public. All tickets are $15. Saturday will be devoted to the finals of the youth and collegiate singer competitions, and to the Edward Baird Singer of the Year finals. The Texoma Region -- comprised of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma -- is the nation’s fifth-largest NATS region in the country by membership. Dr. Frank Ragsdale, a member of the OCU voice faculty, is conference organizer. For details, contact For a full listing of conference activities, visit .