Tacoma Opera production of ‘The Merry Widow’ begins April 14

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Composed by Franz Lehár with libretto by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, “The Merry Widow” is based on an 1861 comedy play, “The Embassy Attaché” by Henri Meilhac. It premiered in Vienna at Theater an der Wien on Dec. 30, 1905.
The Tacoma Opera performances will take place at the Rialto Theater on Saturday, April 14 and Friday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m.
The show will be conducted by Bernard Kwiram and stage directed by Barry Johnson.
In “The Merry Widow,” Hanna Glawari has inherited a fortune from her late husband. She is to be the guest of honor at the Paris Embassy of her poverty-stricken principality of Pontevedro, where there is to be a ball to celebrate the Grand Duke’s birthday. Ambassador Mirko Zeta wants to ensure that Glawari’s fortunes stay in Pontevedro and hopes to marry her to another Ponteverdian, Count Danilo Danilovitsch. Intrigue and romance follow, all to the lilting rhythm of the waltz.

Tacoma Opera announces the productions for its 2018-19 season

Tacoma Opera will be marching boldly into its second half-century full steam ahead.
2018-19 will be the opera’s 51st season. The productions for the coming season have just been announced and are scheduled as follows:

Fall 2018, “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m.
Venue: Theater on the Square

“Lucia di Lammermoor,” Donizetti’s tragic masterpiece, is an archetype of 19th century romantic opera. In the foggy atmosphere of medieval Scotland, the pure and passionate love between Lucia and Edgardo emerges – a love like that of Romeo and Juliette, which was too beautiful to last and too dangerous for their families. After being torn from her true love, Lucia is forced to marry Arturo Bucklaw for political reasons. Betrayed, hurt, and stripped of her reason for living, she loses her mind in the famous “mad scene,” which is a supreme challenge for any soprano who dares to tackle the role and a much-anticipated delight for audiences. The scene is the climax of the opera – a bloody, graphic ritual wrapped in heavenly bel canto music. It’s a perfect opera for the Halloween season!

Winter 2019: “The Rape of Lucretia” by Benjamin Britten
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2 p.m.
Venue: Theater on the Square

First performed at Glyndbourne in England on July 12, 1946, “The Rape of Lucretia” is the first of several chamber operas Britten wrote during his distinguished career. According to Roman tradition, Lucretia, who died around 510 BC, was a noblewoman in ancient Rome whose rape by Sextus Tarquinius, an Etruscan king’s son, was the cause of a rebellion that overthrew the Roman monarchy and led to the transition of Roman government from a kingdom to a republic. Britten takes this ancient Roman tale and transforms it into a dramatic work of misguided hubris and great human suffering, narrated by two compassionate storytellers, male and female. The work is one of Britten’s most intimate and moving works and is a masterpiece of the chamber opera genre.

Spring 2019: “The Elixir of Love” by Gaetano Donizetti
Sunday, April 7, 2 p.m.
Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m.
Venue: Theater on the Square

At the other end of the spectrum from “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “L’Elisir d’amore” or “The Elixir of Love,” is one of the sunniest and sweetest comic operas ever written. It is the story of a simple country farm hand named Nemorino, who falls head over heels in love with the farm owner’s rich and haughty daughter, Adina. He is so desperately in love that he gives up everything he owns to buy a mysterious “elixir of love” from a traveling salesman, not knowing it is really just a bottle of country red wine. After a number of unexpected comic twists and turns, true love wins out and Adina finally admits she loves Nemorino. The music from this opera is possibly the most lyrical and sweetly beautiful of all bel canto operas and Nemorino’s aria, “Una furtiva lagrima (A Furtive Tear),” in act two is one of the best known and beloved opera arias of all time. “The Elixir of Love” is a perfect opera for spring and a lovely way to end a highly dramatic season.
For information, visit www.tacomaopera.com.

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