Image by Olena Sergienko

Opera Under the Stars
 

July 23, 2022

Pershing Park

With Guest Artists
Benjamin Dutcher and Justin Anthony Spenner

Program Order

O Sole Mio

Selections from The Magic Flute 

  • Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja

  • Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön

  • Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen 

Selections from Les Misérables 

  • I Dreamed a Dream

  • Stars

  • Master of the House

  • Bring Him Home

Selections from La Bohème

  • O Mimì, tu più non torni

  • Si, mi chiamano Mimì

  • O soave fanciulla

Intermission

Selections from West Side Story

  • Something's Coming

  • Tonight, Tonight

  • I Feel Pretty

Comedy Music Theater Duets

  • The Song That Goes Like This

  • Agony 

  • Suddenly Seymour

Selections from Carmen

  • Habanera

  • Votre Toast

Selections from Disney

  • I See the Light

  • Be Prepared

  • A Whole New World

Brindisi

Program Notes

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Die Zauberflöte- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Set in a magical mythical land, the opera opens with the three ladies of the Queen of the Night saving Prince Tamino from a serpent. Prince Tamino is knocked unconscious during the rescue and doesn't see the ladies save him. As he wakes, Papageno the bird catcher walks past singing “Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja”; (I am the birdcatcher) describing his life as a birdcatcher and how sad he is being single. Seeing the dead serpent near Prince Tamino, Papageno claims that it is he who killed the serpent. At this moment, the three ladies reappear and punish Papageno for his lie. They give Tamino a portrait of the queen’s daughter, Pamina, who he instantly falls in love with (because...opera.). He sings the aria "Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön"; (This image is enchantingly beautiful), declaring his undying love he feels toward Pamina from this picture alone. The Queen of the Night appears in a crack of thunder and commands him to rescue Pamina from the evil Sarastro. In order to accomplish this mission, the three ladies give Tamino a magic flute. Papageno, the bird catcher is assigned to accompany him on the journey and is given a set of magic silver bells. Lastly, the ladies appoint three spirits to guide our heroes on their journey.

During his journey, Tamino learns that it is the Queen who is the evil one, not Sarastro. Meanwhile, the Queen visits her daughter Pamina, and gives her a dagger commanding her to kill Sarastro with it. This is probably the most well-known scene in this opera, featuring the aria "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen", (Hell’s revenge boils in my heart) also known as the Queen of the Night’s aria. Torn about what to do, Pamina is confronted by Sarastro who convinces her that vengeance is not wise.

 

Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg

An adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, this is one of the most famous Broadway musicals. Fantine, a single mother, works at a factory to support herself and her daughter, Cosette. As she sings “I Dreamed a Dream”, she reminisces on her dreams and about Cosette’s father who abandoned them both. In a state of desperation for money, she sells all her remaining possessions including her hair and must resort to prostitution. Javert, a police inspector is about to arrest Fantine when Valjean walks past and demands that Javert release her.

We are introduced to the Thenardiers, the innkeepers who have been "caring" for Cosette during Fantine's struggles. M Thenardier sings “Master of the House” describing the shady way he operates his inn.  Valjean finds Cosette and pays the innkeepers a large sum of money to allow him to adopt Cosette. Years later, Cosette bumps into Marius, a young student and revolutionary and they both fall in love. Javert on the other hand comes close to capturing Valjean but fails again. He sings “Stars” as he makes a vow that he will find Valjean and will capture him one day, upholding his rigid morality based in lawfulness.

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.

 

 

La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini

Set in Paris in the 1830s, this is probably the most well-known Puccini opera. The opera opens with 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. It is Christmas Eve, and they decided to head out to the local Café Momus to celebrate the evening. Rodolfo however wanted to stay behind to finish his writing, and he promised he will join them later. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. It was the 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 blew out. Rodolfo found her key in the darkness and slipped it in his pockets. A beautiful sliver of moonlight shines in through his window as their hands touched for the first time. Rodolfo introduces himself first, explaining that he is an artist and a poet. Mimì then replies with the aria “Si, mi chiamano Mimì(Yes, they call me Mimì) as she tells him of her life alone embroidering flowers. Happily in love, they sing the famous duet “O soave fanciulla(O, sweet girl) as they leave for Café Momus together, arm in arm. This is perhaps the most famous love at first sight scene when their hands touched for the first time in the moonlight.

Jumping to Act 4 (though this appears first in our set list), Marcello and Rodolfo have found themselves both single. They sing “O Mimì, tu più non torni(O Mimì, you no longer return) as they try unsuccessfully to work while lamenting about their sweethearts, Musetta and Mimì, who were their artistic muses.

 

West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein

This is one of the most famous opera/musical theatre crossover, 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 Bernardo.

 

Comedy Music Theater Duets

"The Song That Goes Like This" from Monty Python’s Spamalot, is a spoof on the classic music theater love duet. Like everything in this show it is completely absurd and over the top.

In "Agony" from Sondheim’s Into the Woods¸ the two handsome princes lament the physical obstacles that keep them from their respective beloveds.

"Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors, is a show about an alien plant that eats people. In this duet, the two unsuspecting shop keepers finally confess their feelings for each other.

 

Carmen, Georges Bizét

This opera opens in Seville, Spain outside a cigarette factory. When the factory bell rings to indicate a break time for the factory girls, the townsmen gathered outside the factory to catch a glimpse of the girls, particularly Carmen. As Carmen sings the famous Habanera, she manages to catch everyone’s attention except a corporal by the name of Don José. She is determined to grab his attention. So, she threw a flower at him before returning to work.

Skipping forward two months later into Act 2, Carmen is singing and dancing with her friends at Lillas Pastia’s inn. A crowd appears praising the bullfighter Escamillo. He takes an immediate liking to Carmen and boasts of his prowess as a fighter in “Votre toast(Your toast).  The crowd (including Carmen’s friends) enthusiastically sing along, but Carmen holds back as she is waiting for Don Jose.

 

La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi

Now we have come to the closing number of the night, and we ask you to raise your drinks and toast with us to the Brindisi! From the opera La Traviata, this is the most frequently programmed music in operatic concerts. Alfredo the tenor was asked to toast by the crowd. So, he raised his glass and toast to true love. Violetta the soprano then responds to him and toast to free love. If you are familiar with the tune, we ask that you join in and hum along with us!

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

If you enjoyed this concert, we have other Opera Under the Stars coming up this season. Check out our website for more information! The concept will be the same, but we will be featuring different guest artists at different Minneapolis parks.

 

While this concert is free, we do take donations and tips. It is with your support that we can continue on our mission - to make opera accessible to everyone. We thank you for your support.

Overdressed is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

 

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