Worth a Look

Operas offer tales of love, revenge, adultery and more

West Bay Opera: 'The Elixir of Love'

Just in time for Valentine's Day, West Bay Opera will present "The Elixir of Love" ("L'elisir d'amore") by Gaetano Donizetti, a charming story of a country bumpkin who falls for the beautiful (and inaccessible) landowner. He wins her over with the help of an Italian-style snake-oil salesman.

The opera is sung in Italian the most romantic of Romance languages with English titles from a new translation prepared specifically for this production by general director and conductor José Luis Moscovich.

First presented by West Bay Opera in 1967, it's been reprised three times: in 1974, 1981 and 1992. This year's cast includes up-and-coming Venezuelan soprano Maria Fernanda Brea, making her company debut as Adina, tenor Chester Pidduck as Nemorino, baritone Igor Vieira as Dr. Dulcamara, Krassen Karagiozov as Belcore and Molly Mahoney as Giannetta.

The opera, with stage sets and projections recreating the Italian countryside setting, opens Friday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. and continues on Sunday, Feb. 16, (followed by a post-performance discussion with cast and directors onstage) and Feb. 23 at 2 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. Performances are at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $40 to $75. Go to wbopera.org or call 650-424-9999.

Lamplighters: "Die Fledermaus"

A tale of revenge and adultery, with touches of mistaken identity, love and levity, "Die Fledermaus" ("The Bat Bites Back") by Johann Strauss is another nod to Valentine's weekend.

Lamplighters Music Theatre presents a lively tale of a couple, her besotted lover, a pert parlor maid and a wily doctor, in scenes ranging from an over-the-top ball to a night in jail on charges of disorderly conduct.

The Lamplighters troupe, based in San Francisco, is perhaps best known for its Gilbert and Sullivan productions, as well as its lavish costumes and sets and comic acting. This production features a new translation to English by David Scott Marley.

The opera will be presented Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $53, $48 adults, $43 seniors, $25, $20 students/educations/children (12 and under). Go to mvcpa.com or call 650-903-6000.

World premiere: 'Oxford Companions'

Continuing in the romantic spirit is the world premiere of Giancarlo Aquilanti's three-act opera, "Oxford Companions," a story about young people in the wake of World War II torn between family, justice and love.

Featured performers include Christine Abraham, soprano; Buffy Baggott, mezzo soprano; Michael Desnoyers, tenor; Eugene Brancoveanu and Daniel Cilli, baritones; William O'Neill, bass; and voice students from Stanford's Department of Music.

With a libretto by Neil Van Leeuwen and directed by Rush Rehm, the opera features the Stanford Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Jindong Cai. The production is co-sponsored by Stanford Live, the Department of Music and ASSU.

"Oxford Companions" will be performed on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University. Tickets are $20 general, $15 seniors, $10 students, free to Stanford students. Go to tickets.stanford.edu or call 725-2787.

Interactive opera at Stanford

"Death and the Powers," a sci-fi family drama, will be streamed live from Dallas' Winspear Opera House to Stanford's Bing Concert Hall on Sunday, Feb. 16, at noon.

In addition to viewing the opera by MIT Media LAB's Tod Machover, with libretto by poet Robert Pinsky, audience members will experience live, enhanced streaming (via HD cameras placed throughout the set) and interactive moments flashed to their mobile devices.

Named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for its score and innovative technology, the opera tells the story of a powerful businessman who nearing death downloads his consciousness into his environment, creating a living version of his mind and spirit.

Admission is free. Downloading the Powers Live app prior to arrival is recommended. Go to http://live.stanford.edu/ or call 650-724-2464 (BING).

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


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