Opera Seria

The Barns at Wolf Trap

July 15, 2016       July 17, 2016       July 20, 2016       July 23, 2016 


Caverna: Talin Nalbandian (Studio Artist)
Befana: Jeanne Ireland (Studio Artist)
Bragherona: Tommy Glass (Studio Artist)
Repetiteur: David Hanlon
Young Indian Prince: Mohammed Badawi
Opera House Staff & Performers: 2016 Wolf Trap Opera Studio


Conductor: Eric Melear
Director: Matthew Ozawa
Scenic Designer: Charlie Corcoran
Costume Designer: Sally Dolembo
Lighting Designer: Robert H. Grimes
Wig & Makeup Designer: Anne Nesmith
Choreographer: Justin Greer
Chorusmaster: David Hanlon


Musical Preparation: David Hanlon, Dan K. Kurland, Christopher Turbessi
Italian Coach: Franca Gorraz
Assistant Director: Mo Zhou
Production Stage Manager: Michael Janney
Assistant Stage Manager: Evelyn Rossow
Supertitles: Kirill Kuzmin


ACT 1 – We meet the players and the creative team: The librettist Delirio and composer Sospiro flatter one another mercilessly on the morning of the premiere of their new opera L’Oranzebe, but the impresario Fallito is critical of their work. The prima donna Stonatrilla makes a grand entrance, and she schools the young soprano Porporina on the difference between their stations. Relationships emerge: Porporina is beloved by the composer Sospiro, and the lead tenor Ritornello has eyes only for the hyper-sensitive seconda donna Smorfiosa. The dancing master Passagallo prevails upon the impresario to hire additional dancers. As the act ends, the singers inspect and criticize their costumes and their parts.


ACT 2 – Rehearsals are underway, and both Ritornello and Porporina receive new arias to learn. The final rehearsal begins with Act Two. It includes Ritornello’s monologue (with lyrics errors), Smorfiosa’s vengeance aria (with nonsensical repetition), Ritornello and Stonatrilla’s duet, Porporina’s simile aria (featuring the dolphin and tuna), Stonatrilla’s seemingly endless accompanied recitative and aria, and Ritornello’s new tempest aria. Then the dancers arrive, the singers gossip viciously about a particular ballerina, and a fight ensues.


ACT 3 – The curtain rises on the premiere performance of L’Oranzebe, during which the captured princess Saebe (Smorfiosa) begs the victorious general Nasercano (Ritornello) to take her life, and the princess Rossanara (Stonatrilla) is stung with jealousy. Hissing and booing break out in the audience. The performers flee, and the curtain falls. Passagallo pacifies the audience with the promise that his dancers will perform instead. Backstage, the creative team bickers. In the dressing rooms, the divas and their mothers gossip. Sospiro astounds all with scandalous news about Fallito, and all join in a solemn oath of eternal hatred for opera impresarios!


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