RNCM Opera Scenes: Friday 24 June

Der Rosenkavalier
Music by Richard Strauss
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal  

Cherie Tse Marianne
Sarah Prestwidge Sophie
Priscilla Fong Octavian
Brennan Alleyne, Charlie Barker, David Bicarregui, Jay Broadhurst Kristen Gregory, Patrick Parlaj, Chorus

Elizabeth Vergara Conductor
Garth Bardsley Director
Sheldon Miller Repetiteur
Thomas Schulze Language Coach

As Mozart found his ideal librettist in Lorenzo da Ponte, so did Strauss with his collaboration with Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Over a period of 26 years, they produced seven operas including Arabella, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, and of course, Der Rosenkavalier. Strauss considered Der Rosenkavalier to have fulfilled his aim to write ‘a Mozart opera’.  It was composed during 1909, following the success of their first collaboration, Elektra.

The opera is a charming and sumptuous comedy set in Vienna during the reign of Maria Theresa. Its plot is no more realistic perhaps than an operetta of Lehar or the other Strauss and yet, its sublime music transcends the silliness of the narrative making it one of the most successful and most performed works in the operatic repertoire.

The Marschallin, Princess von Werdenberg, Maria Theresa has been having an affair with the teenage nobleman, Octavian. She is, throughout the opera, aware that this relationship cannot last as, sooner or later, the boy will find someone more beautiful and, more importantly, of his own age (younger). This indeed happens when Octavian presents a silver rose to Sophie, daughter of Baron von Faninal, as a marriage proposal on behalf of the repulsive Baron Ochs von Lerchenau. The two young people fall in love and eventually, after the removal of the Baron, are able to share their lives together. However, not before Maria Theresa has allowed Octavian to forsake her for the younger woman.

Third Year Students (BMus 3)

Miguel Sepulveda Conductor
Jonathan Cocker Director
Jacob Swindells Repetiteur 

Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto based on L’isola di Alcina by Riccardo Broschi

The people find themselves in a place of peace, the centre of pleasure.

The Pilgrim’s Progress
Music and Libretto by Ralph Vaughan Williams

James Connolly Pilgrim
Hope Rodenhurst Shining One
Billie McCaffery Shining One
Iona Kaye Shining One
Tom Wilks Interpreter

Pilgrim stumbles into the scene and hears voices.  He is trying to find meaning in his life and believes that the Shining Ones (whose voices he has heard) can help him.  The Interpreter arrives and promises him glorious things.  The chorus echo the words of the Interpreter and Pilgrim feels that salvation is at hand.

Le Docteur Miracle
Music by Alexandre Charles Lecocq
Libretto by Léon Battu and Ludovic Halévy

Verity Williams Laurette
Daniel Nardone Pasquin

Pasquin, the new servant employed by the Podestà, has prepared an omelette so disgusting that the Podestà has had to go for a walk, leaving his daughter, Laurette, in the charge of the servant.  Laurette is bad tempered because her father has forbidden her to see her lover, Silvio.  Pasquin removes his disguise and reveals himself to be Silvio.

La Serva Padrona
Music by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Libretto by Gennaro Federico

Rajnard Hraščanec Uberto
Jade Carty Serpina

The servant, Serpina, is very sure of her charms and sets about seducing her employer, Uberto, into marriage.  Uberto finds himself weakening under the onslaught.

Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Libretto originally prepared by Joseph Sonnleithner, from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly

Boya Wang Marzelline
Thomas Coyle Jaquino

Jaquino has been in love with Marzelline for a long time and has plucked up the courage to ask her to marry him.  Marzelline has, however, fallen in love with Fidelio who has come to work at the prison.  She will not marry Jaquino despite his entreaties and is quite short with him.  What she doesn’t know is that Fidelio is actually a young woman in disguise, come to the prison to search for her incarcerated husband.

Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto adapted from Carlo Sigismondo Capece’s L’Orlando after Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso

Amelia Snoxell Angelica
Edwina Lau Dorinda
Abigail Carys Medoro

Dorinda, a shepherdess, in love with Medoro, sees him in a passionate embrace with Angelica.  She is distraught to learn that they are actually married. Dorinda refuses to be consoled when they tell her that she will surely find love one day herself.  In fact, she does not want to be consoled.

Cosi fan tutte
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte

Michaela Wagner Fiordiligi
Ornella Berthelon Dorabella

Despina has persuaded the sisters that there would be no harm in a flirtation with the ‘Albanians’.  After some reflection, Dorabella admits to an interest in the brown haired visitor, while Fiordiligi has a preference for the fair one. They wonder how the flirtation will progress.

The Saint of Bleecker Street
Music and Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti

Ellen Riley Carmela
Alice Yeoman Annina
Billie McCaffrey Assunta

Carmela had always promised to become a nun with her friend Annina and is, instead, to be married.  Annina is devoutly religious and is viewed by many as a saint, partly due to the stigmata which have appeared on her hands.  Carmela feels guilty about letting her friend, and God, down, but Annina is magnanimous and congratulates her.  Another neighbor, Assunta arrives and lets Carmela know that marriage is hard work and unrewarding.  Annina tells how she was visited in the night by the Archangel Gabriel.

Music by Emmanuel Chabrier
Libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo

Phoebe Palmer Laoula
Lleucu Brookes Aloës
Rajnard Hraščanec Hérisson
Rowan Gillard Tapioca

Hérisson de Porc-Epic, an ambassador, and his wife, Aloès, arrive, accompanied by his secretary, Tapioca, and Laoula, the daughter of the king. They are traveling incognito as shop assistants, and the princess is being passed off as Hérisson’s wife. They have come to the country of King Ouf with the intention of marrying Laoula to him.  She is unaware of this.

Ascanio in Alba
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Giuseppe Parini

The chorus calls upon Venus.  Such is her power that the heavens are made glorious by her presence and her gentle rule means that the people no longer desire liberty.