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Image by Olena Sergienko

Opera Under the Stars

July 31st, 2023

Water Works Pavilion

With Guest Artists
Justin Staebell and Justin Anthony Spenner

Program Order

Brindisi- From La Traviata

Selections from Tosca

  • Te Deum

  • Vissi d'arte

  • E lucevan le stelle

Selections from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

  • Little Known Facts

  • My New Philosophy

  • Supper Time

  • Happiness

Aria off!

  • Votre toast

  • Glitter and Be Gay

  • Nessun dorma


Selections from Phantom of the Opera

  • Phantom of the Opera

  • All I ask of you

Selections from Pagliacci

  • Si, può

  • Stridono lassù

  • Nedda! Silvio!

  • Vesti la giubba

Selections from Carousel

  • If I loved you

  • Highest Judge of All

  • Never Walk Alone

Program Notes

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Brindisi- La Traviata

From Act 1 of Verdi’s La Traviata. Alfredo is asked to make a toast at a big party. Shyly, he begins to make a toast to true love. Violetta, the object of his affection, playfully joins his toast but raises her glass to free love instead.


Tosca – Giacomo Puccini

Set in Italy during a time of great political discord, Tosca opens with Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, hiding in the chapel on his sister’s estate. There he shares with his old friend, Cavaradossi, that he is being pursued by the Chief of Police, Scarpia. 

Act 1 introduces us to these three men, plus Tosca, the singer at the church and Cavaradossi’s love. The scene culminates with the Te Deum. Scarpia has arrived at the church to arrest Angelotti and managed to make Tosca jealous, insinuating that Cavaradossi is having an affair with the owner of the estate. Tosca, in a rage, stalks off to confront Cavaradossi and Scarpia sneakily follows, knowing Tosca will lead him directly to the men he is trying to arrest.

Act 2 begins with Scarpia hearing the news that Angelotti has escaped, but Cavaradossi has been arrested for questioning. Scarpia calls Tosca to his room, letting her see the captured Cavaradossi being taken away for questioning and torture. Scarpia offers Tosca a deal. If she gives herself to him, Scarpia will release Cavaradossi. Tosca is revolted but hears the execution drums outside. She sings Vissi d’arte (I lived for art), asking God how he can let terrible things happen to good people. Tosca relents but as Scarpia moves in to kiss her, she stabs him. Once she is sure he is dead, she runs out to rescue Cavaradossi.

Act 3 opens with Cavaradossi awaiting his execution. He requests to be allowed to write a letter to Tosca and is overwhelmed by emotion while writing is, E lucevan le stelle (And the stars shone). Tosca suddenly rushes in with an escape plan. Since our music ends here, I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say it is one of the most dramatic in the opera cannon. 


You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – Clark Gesner and Andrew Lippa

A musical based on our favorite Peanut’s gang! Originally written in 1967 and revised in 1999, this musical contains vignettes based on the Peanuts characters and their interactions in the comic strip.

Little Known Facts: Lucy is teaching Linus about nature, or her understanding of nature that is. Charlie Brown tries to correct her to no avail.

My New Philosophy: Sally is cross about receiving a D on her latest homework assignment. She whispers under her breath, “Oh yeah? That’s what you think!”. Schroeder overhears and askes her why she said that. Sally launches into an explanation of her philosophies and develops a few new ones during the song! Schroeder attempts to explain to Sally that her philosophies aren’t really philosophies, but Sally ignores him.

Suppertime: It is evening and Charlie Brown finally brings a hungry Snoopy his dinner.

Happiness: Charlie Brown expresses what makes him happy. Touched by his love of life, his friends start to express what makes them happy as well.


Aria Off

Votre Toast- Carmen: Escamillo the bull fighter enters the pub and a makes a scene with his bull fighting bravado. The crowd loves him and the ladies, including Carmen, are interested.

Glitter and be Gay – Candide: War has torn Cunegonde away from her previous life. She is now a kept woman. She laments what her life has become, but also…the jewels are so bad!

Nessun dorma - Turandot:  The Calaf has correctly answered the riddles required to marry Princess Turandot. She is still not interested so he gives her a challenge: If she can guess his name by dawn she gets to execute him, if she does not guess correctly, she must marry him. Calaf reflects on his love for the cold princess as he awaits the first light of dawn. 


The Phantom of the Opera - Andrew Lloyd Webber

Set in the Paris Opera House in 1881, Phantom tells a story of secrecy and intrigue loosely based on historical events.

The cast of a new production is rehearsing in the theater. Carlotta, the resident soprano prima donna is performing her aria when the heavy backdrop mysteriously falls, crashing to the ground. Rumors fly that an elusive Phantom is behind the incident and Carlotta refuses to continue performing. The new owners, Firmin and André, decide that a chorus girl named Christine Daaé would be capable of taking Carlotta’s place and move her into the lead role.

While performing the main character’s aria “Think of Me”, one of the opera’s benefactor’s, Raoul, recognizes Christine as one of his childhood friends. He visits her dressing room and asks her to dinner. As Raoul departs, the jealous Phantom reveals himself for the first time. He draws Christine through her dressing room mirror into the sewers beneath the opera house singing “The Phantom of the Opera”.

Christine escapes with Raoul to the rooftop and tells him about her encounter with the Phantom. Raoul is skeptical but promises to love and protect her in the duet, “All I Ask of You”. The Phantom, who overheard their conversation, is heartbroken and swears revenge on them both. In the auditorium, the chandelier crashes onto the stage during the curtain call.


Pagliacci – Ruggero Leoncavallo

Pagliacci is a short opera using stock characters from Italian comedia dell’arte. The story centers around a troupe of traveling performers and their interactions behind the scenes.

We are introduced to the story by Tonio, dressed as his character, Taddeo. He addresses the audience singing Si può?, (Can you?), reminding us that actors also have feelings and that this show is about real people.

Canio, who plays the clown (Pagliacci) in the play, is married to Nedda. He is a jealous husband and warns the others in the troupe that though he may play the foolish husband on stage, in real life he will not tolerate other men making advances on Nedda.

Nedda, who is present for this conversation, is startled by his intensity. Though he kissed her sweetly before he left, she is shaken and knows he is dangerous. She sings Stridono lassù, (The birds chirp from above), dreaming of being free from the rigors of circus life and flying free like the birds.


Nedda has found herself in quite the love triangle. She has attracted the attention of Tonio, who she rebuffs. He does not take the rejection well and hides in the bushes to spy on Nedda. It’s a smart plan because Nedda does have a lover outside of Canio. Silvio enters and tries to coax Nedda to elope with him after tonight’s show in the duet, Nedda! Silvio! Tonio, hears this all and in his anger, reports her to Canio so he can catch Nedda and Silvio together. Canio almost catches Silvio but is blocked by Beppe, who insists that it is time to get ready for the show. As Silvio escapes, Nedda calls out after him “I will always be yours!” A heartbroken Canio is left alone to put on his costume and play the clown on stage Vesti la giubba (Put on the costume).

The play begins. Nedda, playing the role of Colombina waits for her lover Arlecchino, played by none other than Silvio. They plan to give Colombina’s husband, Pagliacci, a sleeping potion so they can run away together. In the play, Taddeo breaks in and catches them together. As Arelcchino runs away, Columbina calls after him "I will always be yours!”. Hearing this, Canio loses it. Hearing the same phrase Nedda used earlier triggers him into a rage. He breaks character and demands to know the lover’s name. Nedda attempts to keep the play going but it is no use, Canio is too angry. Canio grabs a knife and goes after Nedda. Canio stabs Nedda as Silvio tries to rush into help and Tonio holds the others back, preventing them from helping. It is very clear now that this is no longer a play. Nedda dies and Canio turns the knife on himself uttering the famous final line of this show, “The comedy is finished”.

Carousel – Rodgers and Hammerstein

Julie and Billy meet at the town carousel after work. Billy put his arm around Julie on the carousel ride, mocks his boss for reprimanding him and is fired. Julie too chooses to stay out late with Billy and is consequently fired from her millwork job. Left alone together, Julie and Billy sing If I Loved You, discussing what their life would be like If they were in love, though neither fully confesses their feelings.

Julie and Billy get married but the unemployment puts a strain on their relationship. Billy is under the negative influence of his criminal friend, Jigger, who tries to convince him to join them in a robbery. Billy refuses this time. Julie arrives and tells Billy that she is pregnant. 

Now feeling that he must protect his child, Billy accepts Jigger’s robbery job. The robbery goes south and Billy ends up dead. Julie arrives on the scene just in time to hear his last words. Julie’s friends arrive and give her the strength to keep going despite her despair (You’ll Never Walk Alone).  We will end our program with this song.

Billy’s spirit is taken up to the Starkeeper, a heavenly official (The Highest Judge of All). The Starkeeper tells Billy that he did ok in life but was not good enough to get into heaven. He has a second chance. As long as someone is alive who remembers him, he can return for a day and try to do good to redeem himself. Act two is Billy’s journey back to earth with his wife and now teenage daughter as he tries to write the wrongs he created in his time on earth.

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 Venmo @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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