November 26, 2014  

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Southern Miss School of Music to Present Musical Dramas Feb. 28, March 1

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Love, jealousy, betrayal and murder are just a few of the themes that will be on full display when The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music presents the short operas “Cavalleria Rusticana”and “Il Tabarro” Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium.

These fully staged productions feature singers of the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company and the Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Jay Dean. Unlike most singular performances, both of these operas will be staged on the same evening each night.

“These are exiting productions with truly exceptional singers,” said Dean.

“Cavalleria Rusticana” is Mascagni’s operatic claim to fame. Considered to be the first verismo opera, it contains the trademark gritty and dark version of reality. The tale is one of love betrayed and a jealousy that leads to a duel and death (in true operatic fashion). The opera is equally famous for the instrumental intermezzo customarily played between this one-act production’s two scenes.

“Il Tabarro’s” tightly focused plot centers on Michele, the owner of a barge moored on the Seine and his younger wife, Giorgetta, who no longer enjoys their nomadic river life and has taken up with a man her own age, Luigi. As is typical of the grim verismo style, the outcome of this love triangle is unpleasant. According to the plot summary, “every man carries a cloak, hiding sometimes a great joy, sometimes a terrible sorrow.”

However, the opera is not all grim. In the characters Frugola, Talpa, Tinca and the Song-vendor, the audience will find delightful comedy, as well as poignant sweetness in the music of two lovers.

“Last year’s production completely sold out,” said Jennifer Hart, marketing director for the symphony. “We know how off-putting the thought of opera can be to many, but we do everything we can to make it very accessible to our audiences.”

The Italian lyrics are made clear with projected translations above the stage. Directed by Rob Mulholland, the action is sure to be clever and well-paced.

The shows begin at 7:30 pm. both evenings. Tickets are free for college students with ID, $10 for children and $20/18/16 for adults. Tickets can be purchased through www.southernmisstickets.com

For more details, contact the Southern Miss Symphony Orchestra office at 601.266.4001 or email symphony@usm.edu