"USF’s Opera Workshop presents its Fall 2012 performances on November 2nd and 4th. This semester’s program features three excerpts from major works of the operatic literature.
The program begins with the entire first act of Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro “Le Nozze di Figaro”. Arguably oneof the most significant operatic works of all time, it is set in the home of Count Almaviva. His servant Figaro is set to marry his bride to be, Susanna. The Count Is determined to thwart the intended marriage in order to obtain Susanna for himself. His accomplices in the matter are many including the buffo basso Dr. Bartolo and Marcellina who would have Figaro for her husband if the Count can successfully arrange it. The young adolescent boy Cherubino (scored by Mozart for a female mezzo-soprano) is hopelessly infatuated with the Count’s wife and becomes entrapped in Susanna’s chamber where he will eventually be discovered by Don Basilio the music teacher. The act concludes with Figaro informing Cherubino of the glories of war as he is shipped off to join the ranks of the military. This scene will be performed in the original Italian.
Jules Massenet’s setting of the story of Cinderella “Cendrillon” comprises the second excerpt of the program. Performed in English, this scene opens with Cinderella returning home from the Ball and lamenting the loss of one glass slipper in her haste to return. She recants the frightful journey home from the ball and calls out for the aid of her Godmother. She is interrupted by the return of her stepmother and stepsisters who are in hot pursuit of Cinderella’s father Pandolfe. They are locked in a heated argument about whom the Prince was showing more attention and affection. The battle ends when Pandolfe chases them from the room at sword point. He consoles his daughter and the two end the
scene in a beautiful duet together.
The program concludes with Gian-Carlo Menotti’s holiday favorite “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Performed in the original English, this one act opera tells the story of the three wise men that are journeying to see the Christ child. On their way, they happen upon the home of Amahl a young crippled boy that lives with his mother in a small shack. Amahl is a dreamer and he tries unsuccessfully to convince his mother that he has seen a magnificent star in the night sky. We learn of their struggles and destitute state while Amahl consoles his tired and hungry mother with promises of good fortune. The two sleep until awakened by the three kings. The Shepherds arrive with gifts to offer for the Kings’ journey. While the Kings rest for the night in the small home, the mother becomes overwhelmed with temptation upon seeing the gold that the kings are taking as tribute on their journey. She is caught attempting to steal and Amahl must convince the kings of his mother’s sincerity and innocence. As the opera concludes, Amahl offers his crutch as a gift of true sacrifice for the kings to take. He rises and walks healed of his affliction and all rejoice in the miracle and the significance it bears. Amahl departs with the kings to take his tribute to the Christ child himself."