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Opera in the Ozarks’ 2014 season begins Friday, June 20 and runs through Friday, July 18. The four-week summer season features 24 performances with a repertoire of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, a comedy that centers around the question of fidelity; Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi (double bill), which contribute to Puccini’s operatic answer to Dante’s Divine Comedy; and Sondheim’s Into the Woods, an irreverent fantasy based on well-known fairy tale characters.
This season includes 20 performance dates at Opera in the Ozarks’ own mountainside venue – Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony, on Highway 62 West in Eureka Springs. This newly air-conditioned, outdoor venue uniquely lends itself to an intimate look at each of the acclaimed operas of the 2014 repertoire. Additionally, four performances will be held at Arend Arts Center in Bentonville on June 29 and July 6, 11 and 13. The Sunday, July 13 performance will feature Opera in the Ozarks alumna and Metropolitan Opera star Latonia Moore.
Opera of the Ozarks held auditions across the country during the past year and selected a group of talented singers and musicians who are eager to hone their skills as they pursue their operatic and musical careers. For more information and a complete list of season performances, visit www.opera.org. Tickets ($20, $25 and $27) may be purchased online at opera.org or by phone at (479) 253-8595.
16311 Hwy. 62 West / Eureka Springs, AR 72632
Showtime: 7:30 p.m.
June 20 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Opening Night)
June 21 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
June 24 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
June 25 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte
June 26 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
June 27 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
June 28 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte
June 30 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
July 1 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte
July 2 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
July 3 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
July 5 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
July 7 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte
July 8 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
July 9 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
July 14 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
July 16 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte
July 17 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
July 18 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods
1901 S.E. J Street / Bentonville, AR 72712
June 29 – Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi 4 p.m.
July 6 – Sondheim’s Into the Woods 4 p.m.
July 11 – Mozart’s Così fan tutte 7:30 p.m.
July 13 – Special Gala Concert Honoring Jim Swiggart and Featuring Latonia Moore 4 p.m.
In an attempt to convince the star-crossed lovers Guglielmo and Ferrando that women are inherently unfaithful, the older and more jaded Don Alfonso makes a wager that they’ll be able to prove their lovers’ infidelity within the day. Through an elaborate scheme, their lovers’ faithfulness is tested. The comedic Così fan tutte (All Women Are Like That) ends with the charade, but only after the lovers’ true colors are revealed.
Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi (Double Bill)
Suor Angelica (or “Sister Angelica”) and Gianni Schicchi (pronounced “Johnny Skeekee”) are two of the three one-act operas featured in Puccini’s Il Trittico (The Triptych). Written as an operatic answer to Dante’s Divine Comedy, Il Trittico features the tales of three separate lives, each headed toward heaven, hell or purgatory. Opera in the Ozarks has chosen to produce Suor Angelica (heaven) and Gianni Schicchi (hell), as the operas have a brilliant contrast.
Suor Angelica is a tale of loss and repentance. After bearing an illegitimate child in late-17th century Italy, Angelica is sent to a convent by her family. Seven years later, Sister Angelica receives the news that her child has died. Devastated, she sings the lament, “Senza mamma” (“Without mamma”), mixes poison, and resolves to kill herself. After drinking the poison, Sister Angelica realizes that her suicide is a mortal sin, and therefore she will not go to heaven. As she dies, Sister Angelica prays for forgiveness, and in her last moments, has a vision of the Virgin Mary bringing her lost child to her.
Gianni Schicchi is lighter emotionally. It tells the story of a greedy family trying to gain control of the estate of their dying relative, Buoso Donati, in mid-13th century Florence. The family turns to Gianni Schicchi, a cunning con artist, to help secure the inheritance. But Schicchi has plans of his own: he turns the con around on the family, keeping Buoso’s riches for himself. Gianni Schicchi was Puccini’s only comic opera and features the popular aria “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh my dear daddy”) sung by Schicchi’s daughter Lauretta.
An ambivalent Cinderella? A bloodthirsty Little Red Riding Hood? A Prince Charming with a roving eye? They’re all among the interesting characters in James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s fractured fairy tale, Into the Woods. When a baker and his wife learn they’ve been cursed with childlessness by the witch next door, they embark on a quest for the special objects required to break the spell – a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, a slipper as bright as gold. They swindle, lie and steal from Cinderella (with the slipper as pure as gold), Little Red Riding Hood (with a cape as red as blood), Rapunzel (with hair as yellow as corn), and Jack (the one who climbed the beanstalk and with the cow as white as milk). Everyone’s wish is granted at the end of Act I, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt him or her in Act II. A Giant (a female giant, that is) steps down from the heavens and straight upon some beloved characters. She takes a few lives before the survivors realize that they have to work together in order to succeed. Thus, what begins as a lively irreverent fantasy becomes a moving lesson about community responsibility and the stories we tell our children.
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