2014-2015 Opera Series

Friday, May 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini

by Giacomo Puccini

Puccini’s beloved La Bohème relates the loves and trials of a group of impoverished artists in mid-19thcentury Paris. It deeply expresses human experiences scene after scene periodically clothed in rapturously beautiful music. The opera focuses on a love relationship between Rodolfo, a poet, and Mimi, his seamstress neighbor. Rodolfo shares his humble attic room with Marcello, a painter, and two other friends, Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who live nearby. Also included are Musetta, Marcello’s sometime lover, and her current beau who is the wealthy and elderly Alcinidoro. The first act depicts a frigid apartment scene followed by Rodolfo’s first encounter with Mimi in the adjacent hallway. In Act II the scene changes to a Christmas Eve celebration at the lively Café Momus with large on-stage groups of revelers. In the final act when Mimi is ill and dying the ensemble reaches an emotional and musical height. Giacomo Puccini composed La Bohème in 1896 followed in 1900 by Tosca andMadama Butterfly in 1904. Operas such as these headline the offerings of opera houses worldwide. Puccini was a master dramatist musician that wedded sublime sound to his operas instinctively… and audiences continuously respond. (Sung in Italian with English subtitles projected above the stage.)

Saturday , March 28, 2015 at 7:30 PM


by Gioacchino Rossini

Rossini’s famous two-act comic opera, The Barber of Seville, has proved a masterpiece of inventive scenes instantly moving from one mood to another using catchy melodies and exploding rhythms. Set in 18thcentury Seville, Spain, the opera is based on a comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, the famous French dramatist of comedies. He featured a barber named Figaro who wants to help Count Almavivo. The Count is in love with Rosina, Dr. Bartolo’s ward. However Dr. Bartolo wants to wed her himself. The story unfolds in many hilarious scenes that include secret letters, disguises and stealthy tricks, with many aided by the ever-present Figaro. It concludes with the happiest of endings! Composer Gioacchino Rossini wrote his first opera at 20 years of age in 1812. Many operas followed in the comedy style, called opera buffo, before he composed in 1816 “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” (The Barber of Seville) in Italian, one of the world’s favorite operas. (Sung in Italian with English subtitles projected above the stage.)

Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.


by Richard Strauss

Der Rosenkavalier, set in 18th-century Vienna, is an opera that has both poignant romance and lighthearted comedy with Richard Strauss’s instrumental sound matching closely what is happening on the stage. Waltz tunes can be subtly detected as the music surges forward and adds background to the beautiful aging Marschallin relinquishing her young lover Octavian to his newly-found young Sophie. In this three-act opera the Marschallin’s cousin Baron Ochs, who is an amorous old fool and elderly suitor of Sophie, plays the chief comic role that is hilariously ongoing throughout the story. The opera’s German composer, Richard Strauss, made his reputation with his orchestral music and conducting before turning to opera in 1894. Two startling tragic operas, Salome (1905) and Electra (1909) preceded his turning to composing with Der Rosenkavalier in 1911. (Sung in German with English subtitles projected above the stage.)