Festival is top notch, don’t miss out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Give yourself and your family a treat. Go hear and experience the production of “La Bohéme,” one of the world’s most popular operas, at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center.

I was recently part of the cast of the Natchez Festival of Music’s “Man of La Mancha.”

My role as Captain of the Guard of the Inquisition was a non-speaking role of few lines; yet it gave me the great experience of being involved in what many felt was one of the finest productions ever staged by the 20-year-old festival.

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Being under the exciting new leadership of Artistic Director George Hogan and in the company of a cast brim full of talent was a thrilling treat for this senior citizen.

At 52 years older than the youngest singer, and 30 years older than the next most senior cast member, I was put through my paces.

The rigorous rehearsals coupled with Mr. Hogan’s vast knowledge of the book and music (he was Natchez’s first Don Quixote 20 years ago) made for a learning feast.

Getting to know and admire the talents of all the cast members as well as the brilliant technical support of lighting, stage management and musical back-up, gave me a whole new perspective of life in the theater.

As a theater enthusiast who attended many productions in some of the largest cultural hubs in the country when residing in the Northeast, I would like to say — congratulations Natchez for having created this musical feast!

What a treasure the Natchez Festival of Music is for our small, unique Southern city! Be sure to treat yourself on Saturday.

Al Walker is a grateful participant in the Natchez Festival of Music.