Jordan Jenkins
Jordan Jenkins

The world premiere of The Blind Date, a short opera about an awkward first date at an Italian  restaurant for a couple who met through an online dating service, will be one of the highlights of the ninth annual OperaFest being held at  Roosevelt University on Oct. 29 and 30.

Staged annually in historic spaces in the University’s landmark Auditorium Building, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, OperaFest is a rare opportunity to hear some of the region’s most promising young singing actors performing a rich variety of repertoire.

This year’s festival will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30. The festival is free and open to the public. The program includes: Mozart’s The Impresario; Haydn’s The Songstress; Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball;  Dominick Argento’s Miss Manners on Music, and the world premiere of The Blind Date by Roosevelt graduate music composition student Jordan Jenkins. For information, visit or call 312-341-2352.

Jenkins’ The Blind Date was competitively selected by opera and composition faculty in Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) through a unique initiative called OperaLab to be this year’s festival world premiere.

Jenkins worked in close collaboration with both opera and composition faculty, and four student singers, to create the 14-minute piece that includes the couple’s awkward getting-to-know-you conversation, as well as observations about that conversation by the eavesdropping  waitress and bartender.

“This is not your average opera. It’s challenging because musically, it’s quite contemporary, but the piece is also very accessible, and I think anyone who’s been on a blind date should be able to relate to it,” said Rebekah Lampman, a second-year Master’s student in Voice Performance who sings the role of Grace, the Boston business woman on the blind date.

“It’s humorous, it’s silly and there are movie music moments in this opera,” added Sarah Phillips (BM, ’11), also a second-year Master’s student in Voice Performance who sings the part of the bartender who pokes fun at the couple.  “It’s a high quality piece that’s easy to identify with,” she added, “and I’m amazed that one of our students wrote this.”

Jenkins, a native of Eagan, Minn., highly praises the unique learning experience that annually connects a Roosevelt music composition student with opera students and CCPA faculty members who work collaboratively to write and stage an opera.

“This has been a rare opportunity to experience what it’s like to write, fine-tune and premiere a piece, and it’s definitely helped to prepare me for the real world as a composer,” said Jenkins.  The Blind Date is his first opera. Jenkins also has composed for an ensemble at his alma mater, Apple Valley High School, and for a string quartet at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. He will graduate from Roosevelt in 2017.

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