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Two Operas Presented April 8-9

BOONE – Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music will present an Opera Workshop Production April 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall.

The workshop will feature performances of Samuel Barber’s “A Hand of Bridge” and Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amelia al Ballo” (Amelia Goes to the Ball). Tickets are $6 for students and $8 for nonstudents, and are available in advance from the Farthing Auditorium box office.

” A Hand of Bridge” and “Amelia al Ballo” are directed by Dr. Joseph L. Amaya, with piano accompaniment by Melony Dodson-Maness and Elizabeth Hill.

Given its brevity, Barber’s “A Hand of Bridge” is a cleverly written, comedic opera about four friends gathered for their evening bridge game. Throughout the game, each character stands up to reveal their most inner thoughts.

The opera begins with Laura Heldt (soprano) playing the role of Sally, whose character thinks mostly about which new hat she wants to buy. Sally’s husband, Bill, played by Frankie Lancaster (tenor), wonders whether Sally has caught on to his affair with his new lover, Cymbeline.

Ashley Hollar (alto) and Anna Eschbach (soprano) have been double-cast to play the role of Geraldine, the opera’s quasi-serious figure. Geraldine’s character is ignored by both her husband David, played by Alan Peterson (bass) and Bill, her former lover. Her character struggle to cope with her mother’s illness, while her husband, David, admits to being bitter about his dead-end job, and daydreams about what his life would be like if he were as rich as his boss.

Mennotti’s one-act opera “Amelia al Ballo” premiered in 1937 and led him to worldwide success. His opera begins its story in Amelia’s apartment in Milan. Erika Wuerzner (soprano) and Rachel Hall (soprano), double-cast for the part of Amelia, is there with her friend, played by Rachel Sawyer (soprano). They are preparing frantically for the grand ball to be given that night.

Amelia is ready to leave when her husband, played by Brian Dubois (baritone), bursts in with a compromising letter that he has found. He accuses Amelia of cheating on their marriage. Amelia agrees to tell him the truth, but only if he promises to take her to the ball after all. Jealous quarrels, gun waving, and the hiding of lovers ensue, but does Amelia get to go to the ball?

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