Three perfectly poignant pieces grace the University Recital Hall stage as Opera Workshop presents, An Evening of Chamber Opera, Feb. 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. nightly.
A 'retro' trip from the 1930s to the 1950s, the operatic samples on the program feature rarely performed works by composers Samuel Barber, Joseph Haydn and Gian Carlo Menotti.
The concert begins with Samuel Barber's, A Hand of Bridge, where four friends have met for their regular bridge night.
"The opera is the exact length of a game of bridge," says Dr. Sandra Stringer, Opera Workshop director. "We are exposed to the characters' thoughts and their complicated relationships. We've set the opera in the 1950s, which gives it an interesting look – a lot of fun to see."
Haydn's, The Diva (La Cantarina), is a comedic opera in two acts.
"The opera revolves around the music lesson of a vocal student whose affections are sought by two competing gentlemen, one of them being her music teacher," explains Stringer.
Written in the 18th century, Stringer and company have transformed the opera to capture a nostalgic mood with set and costumes inspired by the 1940s.
The evening concludes with Menotti's, The Old Maid and the Thief, an opera originally composed for the radio in 1939.
"We're staging this opera rather than performing it as would be for the radio, a rarity for any audience to experience," says Stringer.
A vagabond, in search of room and board, happens upon the home of an old maid and her housekeeper. Feeling sorry for the old gentleman, the young servant invites him in. Enter the nosy neighbour, who interprets the vagabond's visit as a scandal.
Delightfully comedic and full of hilarious hijinx, The Old Maid and the Thief is sure to leave audiences in stitches.
To reserve seats for this unique night of operatic entertainment, visit the University Box Office or call 403-329-2616. Tickets are priced at $15 regular admission, $10 for seniors/students.
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