The University of Mississippi Opera Theatre and Orchestra will present Mozart’s “La Finta Giardiniera” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday in the Meek Auditorium.
“La Finta Giardiniera” is a comedy and was first performed in 1775 when Mozart was only 18 years old. Throughout the story, characters become entangled in relationships of deception and unreciprocated love. All is in chaos until the characters find their true loves.
The story of “La Finta Giardiniera” follows Count Belfiore and the Marchesa Violante Onesti who were in love before Belfiore stabbed Violante out of anger. Once Violante recovers, she and her servant take on disguises and work in the mayor’s mansion. It is soon discovered that Violante’s ex-lover, Belfiore, is engaged to the mayor’s niece though he still longs to be with Violante.
The Ole Miss Opera’s production of Mozart’s famed opera will feature a unique twist that may compel skeptics to attend. The show will combine the Italian version, which is sung recitative, with the German Singspiel version, which is spoken dialogue. Translated by Nico Castel, the German dialogue will be performed in English.
“The mission of educational opera is to give our students the opportunity to sing in a foreign language and hone their dramatic skills in their native language,” said Julia Aubrey, director of opera theatre. “We hope making opera more accessible will encourage attendance by those who have never experienced this music theatre genre.”
Aubrey said that the preparation for “La Finta Giardiniera” would not have been successful without the collaborative efforts of her colleagues, such as musical director Amanda Johnston and conductor Selim Giray.
“We spent many hours scheduling rehearsals, training the students, and discussing how to integrate the music and drama to bring this music theatre work to its final form,” Aubrey said. “The students must learn to be a tight-knit ensemble in order to share the stage as these characters, as do the students playing in the pit orchestra.”
Preparation for the production began way back at the beginning of the semester on January 22. Students had to dedicate themselves to master the music in Italian and the English dialogue.
Many Ole Miss students are also excited to attend the showing of “La Finta Giardiniera.”
“I have never been to a live opera production, but I’m excited for what’s to come. I will be attending the show the first night it premieres, and I can’t wait to see what the show has to offer,” freshman Shamaria Singleton said.
With the performers including students such as junior Cody Morris as the mayor, sophomore Carley Wilemon as Arminda and graduate student Ethan Bennett as Nardo, Aubrey said attending the opera is a great way to support student musicians.
“[Students] will enjoy watching these off-kilter characters in a very funny story and they will be impressed by how capably these young musicians execute Mozart’s opera,” Aubrey said.