Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts
By Henry C. Mayer

Kentucky Opera's 1997 Season

Another season of beautiful music is almost here. This year the Kentucky Opera will offer not one, not two but three all-time favorites. Each one is worth seeing and hearing; each was written by a master universally acclaimed for his rare talent.

Of course, almost all operas were first written in prose or verse, so familiarity with the story lines greatly improves the experience. With the use of English in either subtitles or the basic text, there is no reason for not enjoying what one bears and/or sees.

The season's opener, ''La Traviata" or "The Strayed One" was first a novel. Then it was a play written one of the great story-tellers of all time, Alexander Dumas. It isn't clear if the opera's composer, Verdi, read the novel or saw the play first, but in either case, he saw in it great possibilities for good theater.

Its chief characters, Alfredo and Violetta sing wistful, sad melodies that will tug at the heartstrings of the audience. With all that, there are touches of nobility of character that are unforgettable.

Mozart's "The Magic Flute" is entirely different. The handsome and brave Prince Tamino and the humble bird-catcher, Papageno win out in a gripping struggle for good, by rescuing the beautiful princess Pamina. Thirteen changes of scene adds to the enjoyment of this story. Those who like to hear music that taxes the talents of the human voice will enjoy the arias stung by Pamina's mother, The Queen of the Night. Mozart has no peers in expressing the variety and realism of human emotion.

This season's third work will be Puccini's "Tosca." Two star-crossed lovers are caught in a web spun by the evil chief of the Roman Police, the confident and crafty Baron Scarpia. The story takes place in the early years of Napoleon's rise to power. Once again, Timothy Noble returns to the local stage to double as Stage Manager and Scarpia. Tosca will be acted by Elizabeth Holleque. This role is a challenge to a soprano's voice and acting talent.

Pay special attention to the aria, "Vissi d'arte," when Tosca recognizes the trap Scarpia has set for her. It is music like this which made Puccini's artistry unforgettable.

Wolfgang BigBad and the Three Little Pigs to Appear in Schools Around the State

School Children in fifteen Counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, including schools in Boyd, Bullitt, Fayette, Greenup, Hardin, Jefferson, Logan, Nelson, Oldham, Owsley, Trimble, Wolfe,(yes Wolfe), and Woodford Counties in Kentucky – and also Floyd and Harrison Counties in Indiana, will be the audience for the Kentucky Opera's production of the Three Little Pigs.

With the cooperation of the Humana Foundation and Winn Dixie, Kentucky Opera will bring John Davies' tantalizing and entertaining 45-minute mini-opera these school children. Taking advantage of Davies' talented pen and Mozart's genius, the Opera will present a fresh version of the ancient story that was a hit at the Kentucky State Fair.

The story opens just after the Mother Pig has decided that, as newly graduated elementary school students, Despina, Don Giovanni, and Cherubino are old enough to build their own homes.

The siblings bicker over the proper construction of their houses. When Despina says that the library will have all the answers, her brothers snicker and build their houses of sticks and straw. She goes on to the library.

When her brothers follow, whom do they meet in front of the library but Wolfgang BigBad. They invite him to dinner but all he does is what comes naturally to a wolf. Badly shaken, the brothers barely find refuge in Despina's brick house with Wolfgang in hot pursuit. The conclusion of the story is a surprise, not to be revealed here.

The Kentucky Opera continues to take bookings for this event. Interested schools can contact Amy Brooks Hoffmann at 502 561-7942 or 800-690-9236.

Kentucky Opera's 1997 Season

Another season of beautiful music is almost here. This year the Kentucky Opera will offer not one, not two but three all-time favorites. Each one is worth seeing and hearing; each was written by a master universally acclaimed for his rare talent.

Of course, almost all operas were first written in prose or verse, so familiarity with the story lines greatly improves the experience. With the use of English in either subtitles or the basic text, there is no reason for not enjoying what one bears and/or sees.

The season's opener, ''La Traviata" or "The Strayed One" was first a novel. Then it was a play written one of the great story-tellers of all time, Alexander Dumas. It isn't clear if the opera's composer, Verdi, read the novel or saw the play first, but in either case, he saw in it great possibilities for good theater.

Its chief characters, Alfredo and Violetta sing wistful, sad melodies that will tug at the heartstrings of the audience. With all that, there are touches of nobility of character that are unforgettable.

Mozart's "The Magic Flute" is entirely different. The handsome and brave Prince Tamino and the humble bird-catcher, Papageno win out in a gripping struggle for good, by rescuing the beautiful princess Pamina. Thirteen changes of scene adds to the enjoyment of this story. Those who like to hear music that taxes the talents of the human voice will enjoy the arias stung by Pamina's mother, The Queen of the Night. Mozart has no peers in expressing the variety and realism of human emotion.

This season's third work will be Puccini's "Tosca." Two star-crossed lovers are caught in a web spun by the evil chief of the Roman Police, the confident and crafty Baron Scarpia. The story takes place in the early years of Napoleon's rise to power. Once again, Timothy Noble returns to the local stage to double as Stage Manager and Scarpia. Tosca will be acted by Elizabeth Holleque. This role is a challenge to a soprano's voice and acting talent.

Pay special attention to the aria, "Vissi d'arte," when Tosca recognizes the trap Scarpia has set for her. It is music like this which made Puccini's artistry unforgettable.

Louisville Ballet Sets Date for 1997 Nutcracker Ball

The 12th annual Nutcracker Ball, sponsored by the Louisville Ballet, will be held on Saturday, November 22, 1997, at Churchill Downs Sports Spectrum.

Donna Vissing is the chairperson of 1997 Nutcracker Ball planning committee and Kath Caryu of LaPeche will cater the event, which serves as a primary fund-raiser for the Ballet.

For more information about the 1997 Nutcracker Ball, contact Peggy Welsh Mudd or Amy Wagner at (502) 583-3150.