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April 9, 1998


BALTIMORE - Hidden identities, unrequited love, chilling mystery and ghosts from the past all take the stage at the UMBC Opera performances Thursday-Saturday, April 23-25. Under the direction of Phillip Collister, the UMBC Opera presents short, fully-staged works, including a comedy, a thriller and several famous opera scenes, all designed to bring nationally known operatic pieces to adults, students and children in the community. Performances begin at 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall; tickets are $9 general admission; $7 students and seniors; free for high school students with ID.

The Face on the Barroom Floor (presented by arrangement with G. Schirmer)
Music by Henry Mollicone; Libretto by John S. Bowman
This mini-opera opens in Central City, Colorado as Isabelle, a young opera singer and her beau, Larry, meet at the Teller House Bar for a drink before an upcoming rehearsal. The two are struck both by the Old West atmosphere of the tavern, and by the face of a beautiful woman painted on the old, wooden floor. When Isabelle looks up, she is shocked to see that a former lover, Tom, is the bartender, but says nothing about her history with this man to her current flame. When Larry asks Tom about the significance of the face on the floor, the three characters are transported back to the late nineteenth century and to the Old West boom town Central City once was. Past love, passion and untimely death spin from the past into the present as the tale of the Face on the Barroom Floor unfolds.

The Old Maid and the Thief (presented by arrangement with Theodore Presser & Co.)
Music and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
This piece takes a turn from the first opera's chilling tone with a more comedic twist. The action begins on a rainy afternoon when a beggar stops at the house of Miss Todd (The Old Maid) who is having tea with a guest and her young housemaid. The three women are immediately intrigued by the handsome pauper and agree to give him food and a place to stay. Miss Todd and her young servant are soon enraptured with the man, and Miss Todd concocts a story to pass him off as a cousin staying with her during an illness. The Old Maid soon learns that a convict has recently escaped from prison and she immediately assumes the handsome beggar is the felon. Rather than admit to society friends that she fabricated the identity of her houseguest, she wraps herself in a flurry of lies and cover-ups and is finally reduced to stealing from church coffers and robbing a liquor store to acquiesce to the beggar's growing demands. This comedic circle of love, hidden identities and deception comes to a close as the beggar's true persona is revealed.

Selected Opera Scenes In addition to the two mini-operas, selected scenes by master opera composers will also be performed. Scenes from Mozart's The Magic Flute and the Marriage of Figaro will be on the program, as well as scenes from Kurt Weill's Street Scene and Masseutt's Manon. For more information, please call 410-455-2942 or visit Arts

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Posted by dwinds1 at April 9, 1998 12:00 AM