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Image by Olena Sergienko

Opera Under the Stars
 

June 24, 2023

Veteran's Memorial Amphitheater

With Guest Artists
Benjamin Dutcher and Sarah Brickeen

Program Order

Selections from Die Fledermaus

  • Oh no! I'm so upset!

  • Mein Herr Marquis

  • Csardas

  • Act 2 Finale

Selections from Les Miserables

  • Bring Him Home

  • In My Life

  • A Heart Full of Love

  • On My Own

Selections from La Bohème

  • Quando m'en vo'

  • Si, mi chiamano Mimi

  • O soave fanciulla

Intermission

Selections from Disney

  • A Whole New World

  • Out There

  • Show Yourself

  • Can You Feel the Love Tonight

Selections from West Side Story

  • I Feel Pretty

  • Something's Coming

  • Tonight, tonight

Selections from La Traviata

  • Un di, felice

  • Sempre libera

  • Libiamo

Program Notes

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Die Fledermaus – Johann Strauss

Known in its English version as The Bat, this operetta is full of exaggerations and over the top comedy.

We open our excerpt with the trio “O je o je, wie rürht mich dies” (Oh no, oh no, I’m devastated). Rosalinde has just learned that her husband, Eisenstein, will be sentenced to eight days in jail. She acts devastated to see him go, but actually she is quite excited. With Eisenstein in jail, her secret lover can come over! Eisenstein is sad about the jail part, but he has plans to sneak into a party first before he goes. So he’s not really all that upset either. Adele, their maid, is also quite excited as Rosalinde has given her the night off (so the secret lover can sneak in without being caught). Adele originally asked for the night off to visit her sick mother, but in reality, she is going to crash a fancy party in disguise with her cousin. Turns out, it’s the same party that Eisenstein plans to attend!

Now in Act 2, all three of our characters are at the same party! Both Adele and Rosalinde are in disguise. Adele is the first to almost get caught. She has stolen one of Rosalinde’s evening gowns to wear and Eisenstein recognizes it. But she laughs it off as a faux pas in her aria “Mein Herr Marquis!” (My dear Marquis!). Rosalinde is next to face suspicions. She has recognized Adele and watching her husband flirt with her maid causes her to almost drop her disguise. To cover, and prove she is the Hungarian woman she is pretending to be, she sings “Die Klänge meiner Heimat” (The sounds of my homeland), also known as the Csárdás. The party (and the act) end with Count Orlofsky, the host of this grand party, bringing everyone together in a lively toast to “His Majesty Champagne the first” which is our Act 2 Finale.

Les Misérables - Claude-Michel Schönberg

An adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, this is one of the most famous Broadway musicals of all time. It follows the life of Jean Valjean, a man imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, as he is released from prison on parole. He can’t find work on parole, so he changes his identity and strives to be an example of goodness for the community. When one of his employees is wrongly fired and dies of her resulting poverty, Valjean makes it his mission to adopt and raise her orphaned daughter, Cosette.

This whole musical is set against the backdrop of the beginning of the French Revolution. At the barricade preparing for the first surprise attack, Valjean sings “Bring Him Home” as he prays to God, asking Him to protect Marius, who has joined the fight, because he knows how much Marius and Cosette are in love.

​Marius and Cosette meet in the street one day and it is love at first sight. In the garden back at home Cosette sings “In My Life” reflecting on this brief meeting. Marius suddenly appears (he followed her home) and Cosette’s solo turns into a duet in “A Heart Full of Love”. Eponine, who is in love with Marius, laments her broken heart. Her sorrow continues in her song, “On My Own.”

 

La Bohème - Giacomo Puccini

Set in Paris in the 1830s, this is probably the most well-known Puccini opera. The opera opens by introducing the four young bachelors sharing a small apartment unit. There is Rodolfo the poet, Marcello the artist, Colline the philosopher, and Schaunard the musician.

​​We then head back to Act 2, with Musetta’s Waltz, officially titled “Quando me’n vo’” (When I go along). Marcello is out at the Café Momus with his friends when his ex-girlfriend, Musetta, walks in. Even though she is there with her date, the wealthy Alcindoro, and Marcello is pointedly trying to avoid her, Musetta is determined to win him back. So, in true Musetta fashion, she makes a scene to make him jealous, hopping up on the tables and singing her waltz about how all the men look at her when she goes out looking as fabulous as she does. Her plan works and the act finishes with her back in Marcello’s arms.

​Now back to Act 1. It is Christmas Eve, and the men decide to head out to the local Café Momus to celebrate the evening. Rodolfo, however, wants to stay behind to finish his writing, promising to join later. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. It is his beautiful neighbor, Mimì, asking for help to light her candle. On her way out, she realizes that she lost her key. As they both search for her key, both their candles blow out. Rodolfo finds her key in the darkness and slips it in his pocket. A beautiful sliver of moonlight shines in through his window as their hands touch for the first time. In a desire to keep the conversation going, Rodolfo sings an aria introducing himself to Mimì. He tells her that he is a poet, a man of many words. She replies with an aria of her own, “Si, mi chiamano Mimì”, (Yes, my name is Mimì.) Mimì talks about the simple joys in her life, like her embroidery work and the beautiful sunrises that stream through her window. Suddenly head over heels in love, they sing the famous duet “O soave fanciulla” (O, sweet girl) as they leave for Café Momus together, arm in arm.

 

West Side Story – Leonard Berstein

This is one of the most famous opera/musical theatre crossovers, and it is equally well known as a film. We start our excerpt with “Something’s Coming”, Tony’s first solo of the show. He has yet to meet Maria, but he can feel it in the air that something good is going to happen soon.

Perhaps the most famous scene is the love duet, “Tonight”. Tony had just met Maria and was struck by Cupid’s arrow. Later in the night, he finds the fire escape outside of Maria’s apartment and calls for her. As she appears in the window, they profess their love together. The duet ends with them agreeing to meet at the bridal shop the next day where Maria works.

Skipping forward into act 2, Maria is completely in love, and she sings “I Feel Pretty” to her friends. Expressing her blissful feelings, she is very excited for their wedding. However, she does not yet know that Tony had killed her brother.

 

 

La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Set in Paris, this opera opens with a lavish party scene in the beautiful home of the Baron to welcome back the famous courtesan, Violetta after her long illness. The guests ask the Baron to give a toast but he refuses, coercing the shy Alfredo into doing it instead. Alfredo begins "Libiamo" (Let's be free) where he toasts to true loveThis has become one of the most famous scenes to excerpt from the operatic cannon. We will feature this scene at the end to close our program tonight.


Not fully recovered from her illness, Violetta tries to be the life of the party but her continuing symptoms reappear as a coughing fit. She asks her guests to proceed on to the next room to dance while she herself stays back to rest. However, Alfredo stays behind, expressing his concerns about her health. As Alfredo declares his love for her, they sing the famous duet "Un dì, felice, eterea"; (One day, happy and ethereal). After the party, Violetta reflects on her life and wonders if she could be happy with Alfredo. However, she still decides that freedom is her way of life as she sings the famous scene and aria “Ah, forsè lui … Sempre libera” (Ah, Perhaps he is the one... Always free).

This opera ends with Violetta dying of her disease in the arms of Alfredo. A typical tragic love scene of a 19th Century romantic opera.

Thank you!!

We want to thank all of you for joining us this evening. We hope you had an enjoyable evening with us. Cheers!

 

​While this concert is free, we do take donations. It is with your support that we can continue our mission - to make opera accessible to everyone. If you would like to donate, you can place cash in the jars on the tables near the stage. We also accept payment via Vemno @overdressedduo. For a check donation or if you would like a receipt for your donation, please speak with one of our volunteers wearing the pink volunteer lanyards. We thank you for your support.

​Overdressed is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

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