Today's opera on our journey of 20th and 21st century opera discoveries is Gallantry by Douglas Moore composed in 1958! This work is a parody of a soap-opera complete with comercial interruptions. I think this could be a great piece to film and perform live as if it is an episode of a longer drama. In fact, Gallantry was adapted by Moore for television and was broadcast by CBS on August 30, 1962.
Side note: if any composers & librettists out there want to team up with me to create an entire sung soap-opera series made for television, I'm in!
This comic opera is 30 minutes long and is extremely fun to work on. I directed this opera for Marble City Opera in 2016 and we performed the piece on a double-bill at the Arts Emporium in Knoxville. Arts Knoxville said about the performance, "Kudos for an accomplishment that reminded the audience what theater is all about.!"
The first step to directing and producing a successful comedy is hiring and casting singers who are funny! (You'd think this was a no brainer, but...) My cast was hysterical. Jacquie Brecheen played the soprano lead Lola, a nurse who is having an affair with the Doctor, played by baritone, Austin Kness. Unfortunately, for Lola her finance ends up being the patient on the table creating a wonderful love triangle that ensues to wonderful antics. Donald, the patient and finance, played by tenor, Ryan Ford, has no idea what is going on and sings an aria declaring his love. Soprano, April Hill sang the role of the announcer, who interrupts at just the right moment to bring the audience important commercials, including selling soap endorsed by the doctor who also makes an appearance in the commercial.
Pictured in Photo from left to right: Ryan Ford, Jacquie Brecheen, Austin Kness, & April Hill
This cast was brilliant to work with on and off stage. They are fantastic singing actors and actresses with a great sense of comedic timing, and were able to bring my vision of physical comedy to life in this production. I speak for all of us when I say we had a fantastic time putting this opera together. Hope you will continue to read my blog each Monday at Noon.
Rehearsal photo: Ryan Ford, Jacquie Brecheen, and Austin Kness being completely serious!