UVA Student Reinterprets Le Devin du Village

Written by Mary Shea Valliant/C-ville Weekly:

In the months before graduation, many students in UVA’s fourth-year class embrace “senior spring” by soaking up sun on the Lawn, checking items off the list of “118 things to do before you graduate” or hanging out with friends instead of attending class. But Wesley Diener, who’s graduating from the music department’s distinguished major program, won’t have any of those luxuries until after April 21, when he presents and performs in his second capstone project—Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s opera Le Devin du village.

Diener’s love of music and performance began when he was 8 years old, and evolved into his current specialty as a baritone. “I’m an opera performer, but I’ve become passionate about directing in the past few years,” Diener says. “Opera is a perfect marriage of music and theater, and being involved in the production lets you choose what the product is going to be.”

Though Le Devin is the first opera Diener will direct, he’s no stranger to the director’s chair. Last year he shepherded a musical and a play performed at UVA’s Helms Theatre, and last summer Diener worked on the directing team for Charlottesville Opera’s performance of Oklahoma!.

“It’s always a learning game, and each thing I’ve done has been so different,” he says. “It’s exciting. Since I’ve started directing, it’s informed me as an actor.”

Diener hopes to take Le Devin’s timeless yet old sensibilities and imbue reinvented humor and contemporary qualities into his interpretation of the piece—to “breathe new life into it” and “bring it into today.”

The rest of the article, written by Mary Shea Valliant, can be found here

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McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu