Opera season in Eureka Springs runs June 20th – July 18th. See love tested in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Visit heaven and hell with Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi and be introduced to the fractured fairy tales of Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
2014 REPERTOIRE BRIEF SYNOPSES:
Mozart’s Così fan tutte
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 (Women Are Like That) ends with the charade revealed, but only after the lovers have answered the question of women’s fidelity.
Puccini’s Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi
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”). Writing a trio of short operas had always been an aspiration for Puccini, but his publisher, Ricordi, was against the idea. Near the end of Puccini’s career, he collaborated with librettist Giuseppe Adami to create Il Trittico. Written as an operatic answer to Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Il Trittico features the tales of three separate lives, each headed either 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.
Lapine and Sondheim’s Into the Woods
An ambivalent Cinderella? A bloodthirsty Little Red Ridinghood? 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 — a cow as white as milk, a cape as read as blood, hair as yellow as corn, a slipper as pure as gold — required to break the spell … swindling, lying to and stealing from Cinderella (with the slipper as pure as gold), Little Red Ridinghood (with a cape as read 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. It 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.