The Pioneer

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The Pioneer

The Pioneer

“Aldegunda”: Prairie State College’s First Full-Scale Opera Performance

Singer Depicts Surviving Cancer

On Monday, April 8, 2024, at 7:30 PM CDT, Prairie State College hosted an opera performance. This was the first time this college has ever hosted a full-scale opera act. The opera was created and led by Hungarian-American opera singer and librettist Viktoria Vizin, whose purpose was to portray the struggle of someone who goes through cancer. She was inspired by events she witnessed in her own life, in which her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Alongside a pianist and composer, Peter Zombola, who was also from Hungary, dancer Sydney Botz and singer Paula Natalie Mustea, and choreographer Lin Batseva Kahn, the opera was conducted in the Prairie State College Barnes & Noble Auditorium in a dark setting, with only lights on the stage focused on the performers. 

The opera singer and actress started the performance sitting on the floor with her knees up, head facing down and her arms over her knees, with the two supporting actresses on either side of her – one dressed in black while the other was dressed in white. Vizin herself; also dressed in white, represented a cancer patient. The young lady dressed in black – Sydney Botz – represented the cancer growing and spreading, while the other, Paula Natalie Mustea represented the patient’s body as it tries to fight off the cancer. 

Through her bodily movements, dancer Botz depicted the cancer trying to continuously attack Vizin, while she tried to fight back. She would follow the singer when she tried to get away. The opera singer was singing throughout most of the show, fluctuating between highs and lows as she went through feelings of despair, anger, sadness, anxiety, and weakness. Mustea accompanied Vizin and stood by her the whole time. At times when the cancer patient fell down in weakness, Mustea would try to pick her up. Both of them being dressed in white was another sign that showed she was on her side. 


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Vizin was the main singer for the show. She initially planned on performing solo, with just Zombola playing the piano. However, the singer got in contact with the two supporting actresses only a week before the planned event date. Choreographer Kahn put together the routine and they were able to swiftly learn the movements. However, both Mustea and Botz improvised some of their work on stage. Vizin told Mustea to “support her voice”, as a back-up singer would. Her higher, soprano voice supported Vizin’s mezzo range as they both sang their tunes showcasing their pain. 

Following the show, the cast remained on the stage to explain the performance, and to answer any questions the audience had. The opera singer talked about having witnessed her husband go 

through heartbreak and how it affected her family and her negatively. She expressed her intense feelings of sorrow and anxiety, sleepless nights and busy schedule as she took care of their children. Many people in the audience related to the meaning portrayed behind the act, and shared their experiences with cancer. One elderly woman shared her experience with breast cancer and how she was able to battle through it with the support and love of her husband. The night ended with the audience exchanging well wishes with the performers, and congratulating and thanking them.

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