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Mendocino Chamber Opera

Sunday, November 6, 2005 at 3:00pm
at the Gualala Arts Center

$18 admission

Comic Opera The Mendocino Chamber Opera, under the direction of Richard Goodman, will present a comic opera double bill in the Gualala Arts Center auditorium, performed with piano accompaniment by Jack Leung.

Two short operas, sung in English, and fully staged, are "The Bear - Extravaganza in One Act" by William Walton, and "Doctor Miracle - an Operetta" in one act by Georges Bizet, composed in 1857.

Comic Opera "The Bear" is a hilarious one act opera by the beloved English composer, William Walton. The book, by the English playwright and poet Paul Dehn, is a direct adaptation for comic opera of Chekhov's famous play "The Bear." Other composers have set this play to opera but Walton's is the best known, the most often performed, and the most accessibly melodic and enjoyable.

"The Bear" has a cast of three: "Popova," a youngish widow, played by Susan Makovkin; "Luka," her man servant, played by Jary Stavely; and "Smirnov," a landowner, played by Richard Goodman. Smirnov is trying to collect money owed to him by Popova's deceased husband. He behaves very crudely toward the widow, that is - like a bear. The plot progresses from hostility towards a duel, compounded by budding sexual attraction.

Comic Opera The plot of "Doctor Miracle" revolves about mistaken identity, thwarted love, and disguise, somewhat in the fashion of "The Barber of Seville", but here, in a very French gesture, the main event is the presentation of an omelet. "Laurette," sung by Claire Barca, wants to marry a young soldier, "Silvio," played by Robert Goleman. "The Mayor," her father, sung by Dan Fowler, objects vociferously. Her mother, "Veronique," sung by Betsy Taylor, is caught between them. Dressed up as a cook, Silvio manages to insinuate himself into the house, but soon gets himself fired. He leaves a message behind. The omelet to be served up magnificently at dinner, was not only unappetizing but actually poisoned; only the expert ministrations of Doctor Miracle will save the family.

Mendocino Chamber Opera appears through the sponsorship of the Gualala Arts LocalEyes series. Admission is $18 and tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance though Gualala Arts office at (707) 884-1138. The Gualala Arts Center is located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA.