Roméo et Juliette – Opera

ACT I: At a masked ball at the Capulet palace, Juliette’s (soprano) arrival is eagerly awaited by her cousin Tybalt (tenor) and her suitor Paris. Capulet presents his daughter, the revelers exclaim at her beauty, and Juliette rhapsodizes on her joy. The host leads his guests off just as Roméo (tenor), a Montague, and his friends, all masked, steal into the ballroom intent on provoking a fight. Roméo has dreamed the night before, and Mercutio (baritone), one of his companions, launches into a song about Queen Mab, the mistress of dreams. Suddenly Roméo sees Juliette at a distance. As she waltzes around the room, singing of the freedom of youth, Roméo shyly approaches her, asking if his hand may touch hers. Tybalt returns just as Juliette tells her name to Roméo, who masks himself and rushes off. Tybalt identifies the intruder as Montague’s son, but Capulet restrains him, ordering the party to continue.

ACT II Later that night, Roméo hides until Mercutio and other friends stop calling for him. Then he apostrophizes Juliette as the sun, the purest, brightest star. The girl steps forth on her balcony to lament her attraction for an enemy, and Roméo comes forward. The two ecstatically pledge their love but are interrupted by some Capulets searching for a Montague page. Then Roméo and Juliette tenderly bid each other good night.
At Friar Laurence’s (bass) cell, Roméo appears at daybreak, followed by Juliette and her nurse, Gertrude. The priest agrees to marry the young lovers in the hope that their union will end the feud between their families.

Outside Capulet’s house, Roméo’s page, Stéphano, sings a mocking song, which provokes a fight with Gregorio and other Capulet retainers. Mercutio protects Stéphano and is challenged by Tybalt, who insults Roméo when he tries to make peace. Mercutio duels Tybalt to defend the Montague honor and is slain, whereupon Roméo kills Tybalt. The Duke of Verona stops the bloodshed, banishing Roméo from the city.

ACT III At dawn in Juliette’s bedroom, the lovers exchange words of adoration before Roméo reluctantly leaves for exile. Capulet and Friar Laurence greet Juliette with news that she is to wed Paris that very day, but the priest gives her a sleeping potion that will make her appear dead. He promises that she will wake with Roméo beside her. Juliette drinks the potion, and when Capulet and the others arrive to lead her to the church, she collapses.

In a gloomy tomb, Roméo soliloquizes on his beloved Juliette, whom he believes dead. In despair he takes poison, only to see Juliette awaken. They hail a new life, but Roméo soon falters. He bids farewell to the frantic girl, who grasps his dagger and stabs herself. The lovers die praying for God’s forgiveness.

Don Giovanni – Opera

ACT I: Seville, 1600s. At night, outside the Commendatore’s palace, Leporello grumbles about his duties as servant to Don Giovanni, a dissolute nobleman. Soon the masked Don appears, pursued by Donna Anna, the Commendatore’s daughter, whom he has tried to seduce. When the Commendatore himself answers Anna’s cries, he is killed in a duel by Giovanni, who escapes. Anna now returns with her fiancé, Don Ottavio. Finding her father dead, she makes Ottavio swear vengeance on the assassin.

At dawn, Giovanni flirts with a high-strung traveler outside a tavern. She turns out to be Donna Elvira, a woman he once seduced in Burgos, who is on his trail. Giovanni escapes while Leporello distracts Elvira by reciting his master’s long catalog of conquests. Peasants arrive, celebrating the nuptials of their friends Zerlina and Masetto; when Giovanni joins in, he pursues the bride, angering the groom, who is removed by Leporello. Alone with Zerlina, the Don applies his charm, but Elvira interrupts and protectively whisks the girl away. When Elvira returns to denounce him as a seducer, Giovanni is stymied further while greeting Anna, now in mourning, and Ottavio. Declaring Elvira mad, he leads her off. Anna, having recognized his voice, realizes Giovanni was her attacker.

Dressing for the wedding feast he has planned for the peasants, Giovanni exuberantly downs champagne.

Outside the palace, Zerlina begs Masetto to forgive her apparent infidelity. Masetto hides when the Don appears, emerging from the shadows as Giovanni corners Zerlina. The three enter the palace together. Elvira, Anna and Ottavio arrive in dominoes and masks and are invited to the feast by Leporello.

During the festivities, Leporello entices Masetto into the dance as Giovanni draws Zerlina out of the room. When the girl’s cries for help put him on the spot, Giovanni tries to blame Leporello. But no one is convinced; Elvira, Anna and Ottavio unmask and confront Giovanni, who barely escapes Ottavio’s drawn sword.

ACT II: Under Elvira’s balcony, Leporello exchanges cloaks with Giovanni to woo the lady in his master’s stead. Leporello leads Elvira off, leaving the Don free to serenade Elvira’s maid. When Masetto passes with a band of armed peasants bent on punishing Giovanni, the disguised rake gives them false directions, then beats up Masetto. Zerlina arrives and tenderly consoles her betrothed.

In a passageway, Elvira and Leporello are surprised by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto, who, mistaking servant for master, threaten Leporello. Frightened, he unmasks and escapes. When Anna departs, Ottavio affirms his confidence in their love. Elvira, frustrated at her second betrayal by the Don, voices her rage.

Leporello catches up with his master in a cemetery, where a voice warns Giovanni of his doom. This is the statue of the Commendatore, which the Don proposes Leporello invite to dinner. When the servant reluctantly stammers an invitation, the statue accepts.

In her home, Anna, still in mourning, puts off Ottavio’s offer of marriage until her father is avenged.

Leporello is serving Giovanni’s dinner when Elvira rushes in, begging the Don, whom she still loves, to reform. But he waves her out contemptuously. At the door, her screams announce the Commendatore’s statue. Giovanni boldly refuses warnings to repent, even in the face of death. Flames engulf his house, and the sinner is dragged to hell.

Among the castle ruins, the others plan their future and recite the moral: such is the fate of a wrongdoer.

La Cenerentola (Cinderella) – Opera

ACT I: Late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. In the run-down mansion of Don Magnifico, Baron of Montefiascone, his two daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, try on finery while Cenerentola (Cinderella), his stepdaughter, whose given name is Angelina and who serves as the family maid, sings a forlorn ditty about a king who found a wife among the common folk. When a beggar appears, the stepsisters want to send him away, but Cenerentola offers him bread and coffee. While he stands by the door, several courtiers arrive to announce that Prince Ramiro will soon pay a visit: he is looking for the most beautiful girl in the land to be his bride. The sisters order Cenerentola to fetch them more jewels. Magnifico, awakened by the commotion, comes to investigate, scolding the girls for interrupting his dream of a donkey that sprouted wings. When he learns of the prince’s visit, he exhorts the girls to save the family fortunes by capturing the young man’s fancy. All retire to their rooms, and Prince Ramiro – disguised as his own valet – arrives alone, so as to see the women of the household without their knowing who he is. Cenerentola is startled by the handsome stranger, and each admires the other. Asked who she is, Cenerentola gives a flustered explanation about her mother’s death and her own servile position, then excuses herself to respond to her stepsisters’ call. When Magnifico enters, Ramiro says the prince will be along shortly. Magnifico fetches Clorinda and Tisbe, and they greet Dandini – the prince’s valet, disguised as the prince himself – playing his role to the hilt as he searches for the fairest in the realm. The sisters fawn over Dandini, who invites them to a ball. Don Magnifico also prepares to leave, arguing with Cenerentola, who does not want to be left behind. Ramiro notes how badly Cenerentola is treated. His tutor, Alidoro, still dressed as the beggar who came earlier, reads from a census list and asks for the third daughter of the household. Magnifico denies she is still alive. Once Dandini has left with Magnifico, Alidoro tells Cenerentola she is to accompany him to the ball. Casting off his rags, he identifies himself as a member of the court and assures the girl that heaven will reward her purity of heart.

Dandini, still posing as the prince, escorts the two sisters into the royal country house and offers Magnifico a tour of the wine cellar, hoping to get him drunk. Dandini disentangles himself from the sisters and says he will see them later.

In a drawing room of the palace, Magnifico is hailed as the prince’s new wine counselor. No one, he decrees, shall mix a drop of water with any wine for the next fifteen years. Looking forward to the feast, he and his attendants leave. Dandini reports to the prince with his negative opinion of the two sisters. This confuses Ramiro, who has heard Alidoro speak well of one of Magnifico’s daughters. Clorinda and Tisbe rejoin Dandini; when he offers Ramiro as an escort for one of them, they turn their noses up at a mere groom. Alidoro announces the arrival of an unknown, veiled lady. Ramiro recognizes something in her voice. When she lifts her veil, he and Dandini, as well as the sisters, sense something familiar about her appearance. Their confusion is shared by Magnifico, who comes to announce supper and notices the newcomer’s resemblance to Cenerentola. All feel they are in a dream but on the verge of being awakened by some rude shock.

ACT II: In a room of the palace, Magnifico stews over this new threat to his daughters’ eligibility, telling them not to forget his importance when either of them ascends the throne. He leaves with the girls, whereupon Ramiro wanders in, smitten with the newly arrived guest because of her resemblance to the girl he met that morning. He conceals himself as Dandini arrives with the magnificently attired Cenerentola, courting her. She politely declines, saying she is in love with someone else – his groom. At this the delighted Ramiro steps forth. To test his sincerity, she gives him one of a pair of matching bracelets, saying that if he really cares for her, he will find her. After she leaves, Ramiro, with Alidoro’s encouragement, calls his men together, so that the search can begin.

Once again the prince’s valet, Dandini, faces Magnifico, who still believes he is the prince and insists he decide which daughter to marry. Dandini confesses he is a valet. When Magnifico turns indignant, Dandini orders him out of the palace.

At Magnifico’s house, Cenerentola once more in rags, tends the fire and sings her ballad. Magnifico and the sisters return, all in a vile mood, and order Cenerentola to prepare supper. She obeys, as a thunderstorm rages. Dandini appears at the door, saying the prince’s carriage has overturned outside. Cenerentola, bringing a chair for the prince, realizes he is Ramiro; he in turn recognizes her bracelet. Confusion reigns as Magnifico and his daughters smart from their defeat; angered by such meanness, Ramiro threatens them, but Cenerentola asks him to show mercy. Her family still against her, Cenerentola leaves with the prince, while Alidoro gives thanks to heaven for this happy outcome.

In the throne room of Ramiro’s palace, Magnifico curries favor with the newly created princess, but she asks only to be acknowledged at last as his daughter. Secure in her happiness, she asks the prince to forgive Magnifico and the two stepsisters; born to misfortune, she has seen her fortunes change. Chastened, her father and stepsisters embrace her as she declares that her days of sitting by the fire are over.

The Barber of Seville – Opera

ACT I. Seville, 1800s. At night, Count Almaviva brings a band of musicians to serenade Rosina, ward of Dr. Bartolo, who keeps the girl confined in his house. When Rosina fails to answer his song, the count pays the players, and they leave. At the sound of Figaro’s voice, Almaviva steps away as the barber bounds in, boasting of his busy life as the neighborhood factotum. Figaro, though currently in Bartolo’s employ, encounters Almaviva and promises to help him win Rosina – for a suitable reward. No sooner has Bartolo left the house to arrange his own marriage with Rosina than Almaviva launches into a second serenade, calling himself “Lindoro,” a poor creature who can offer only love. Figaro suggests Almaviva disguise himself as a drunken soldier billeted to Bartolo’s house.

Alone in the house, Rosina muses on the voice that has touched her heart and resolves to outwit Bartolo. Figaro joins her, but they leave on hearing footsteps. Bartolo enters with the music master, Don Basilio, who tells him Almaviva is a rival for Rosina’s hand and advises slandering the nobleman’s reputation. Bartolo agrees, but Figaro overhears them. Warning Rosina that Bartolo plans to marry her himself the very next day, the barber promises to deliver a note she has written to “Lindoro.” Rosina, alone with Bartolo, undergoes an interrogation, then listens to his boast that he is far too clever to be tricked. Berta, the housekeeper, answers violent knocking at the door, returning with Almaviva disguised as a drunken soldier in search of lodging. While arguing with Bartolo, Almaviva manages to slip a love letter to Rosina. But when Bartolo demands to see the letter, the girl substitutes a laundry list. Figaro dashes in to warn that their hubbub has attracted a crowd. Police arrive to silence the disturbance. As an officer is about to arrest him, Almaviva whispers his identity and is released. Rosina, Berta, Bartolo and Basilio are stupefied by everything that is happening.

ACT II. Bartolo receives a young music teacher, “Don Alonso” (again Almaviva in disguise), who claims to be a substitute for the ailing Basilio. Rosina enters, recognizes her suitor and begins her singing lesson as Bartolo dozes in his chair. Figaro arrives to shave the doctor and manages to steal the key to the balcony window. Basilio now comes in, looking the picture of health; bribed by Almaviva, he feigns illness and departs. Figaro shaves Bartolo while Almaviva and Rosina plan their elopement that night. They are overheard by the doctor, who drives Figaro and Almaviva from the house and Rosina to her room, then sends again for Basilio. Berta, unnerved by all the confusion, complains she is going mad. Bartolo dispatches Basilio for a notary, then tricks Rosina into believing “Lindoro” is really a flunky of Almaviva. After a thunderstorm, Almaviva arrives with Figaro and climbs through a balcony window to abduct Rosina. At first the girl rebuffs “Lindoro,” but when he explains that he and Almaviva are one and the same, she falls into his arms. Figaro urges haste, but before they can leave, their ladder is taken away. Basilio enters with the notary. Though summoned to wed Rosina and Bartolo, the official marries her instead to Almaviva, who bribes Basilio. Rushing in too late, Bartolo finds the lovers already wed. When Almaviva allows him to keep Rosina’s dowry, the old man accepts the situation.


Die Fledermaus Opera

ACT I. Vienna, 1890s. Through the windows of the Eisenstein home floats the serenade of Alfred, a tenor still in love with his old flame Rosalinde, now the wife of Gabriel von Eisenstein. Adele, a chambermaid, saunters in reading an invitation to a masked ball; Rosalinde, bedeviled by a headache and believing she has heard Alfred’s voice, enters but finds only Adele. The maid asks for the evening off to visit a “sick aunt,” a plea her mistress dismisses. Alfred steps into the room and begins to woo Rosalinde, who resists his verbal blandishments but melts on hearing his high A. The suitor leaves as Eisenstein and his lawyer, Blind, arrive from a session in court: Eisenstein has been sentenced to a fortnight in jail for a civil offense. No sooner does he dismiss the incompetent advocate than his friend Falke comes to invite Eisenstein to a masquerade, suggesting he bring along his repeater stop-watch, which charms all the ladies, so he can accumulate pleasant memories to sustain him during his confinement in jail. Rosalinde joins Adele in a bittersweet farewell to Eisenstein before he goes off to prison, got up, to his wife’s surprise, in full evening dress. Sending Adele to her “aunt,” Rosalinde receives the ardent Alfred. Their tête-à-tête is interrupted by the warden Frank, who mistakes Alfred for the man he has come to arrest. Rosalinde persuades Alfred to save her name by posing as her husband, and Frank carts him off to jail.

Alfred (Harold Meers) seduces Rosalinde (Anna Vikre)

ACT II. In an antechamber at the palace of Prince Orlofsky, the nobleman’s guests, Adele and her cousin Ida among them, await the arrival of their host. Orlofsky enters, quite bored — even with Falke’s promise of a comedy of errors. The prince proclaims his guests free to do anything that suits their fancy — “Chacun à son gout.” Adele, dressed in one of Rosalinde’s most elegant gowns, laughs off Eisenstein’s suggestion that she resembles his wife’s chambermaid. Frank enters, and Rosalinde, also invited by Falke, arrives disguised as a temperamental Hungarian countess; she is soon wooed by her own reeling husband, whose pocket watch she steals to hold as proof of his philandering. Rosalinde agrees to sing a song about her “native” land, a spirited czardas, after which the guests move on to a magnificent dining area to toast the joys of wine, good fellowship and love. Champagne flows, and the guests dance wildly until dawn. When the clock strikes six, Eisenstein staggers off to keep his appointment at the jail.

ACT III. Moments later at the prison, Frosch, a drunken jailer, tries to keep order among the inmates, who are unable to sleep because of Alfred’s singing. Frank arrives, still giddy with champagne, followed shortly by Ida and Adele, who, thinking him a theatrical agent, believes he might further her stage aspirations. Frank, hearing someone at the door, hides the girls in a cell and then admits Eisenstein, who has come to begin his sentence. The new prisoner is surprised to learn his cell is already occupied by a man who claims to be Eisenstein and who was found supping with Rosalinde; to obtain an explanation from the impostor, Eisenstein snatches a legal robe and wig from his astonished lawyer. No sooner is he disguised than Rosalinde hurries in to secure Alfred’s release and press divorce charges against her errant husband. With her would-be paramour, she confides her flirtation to the “lawyer.” Enraged, Eisenstein removes his disguise and accuses his wife of promiscuity, at which Rosalinde whips forth the watch she took from him at the ball. Orlofsky and his guests arrive to celebrate the reconciliation of Rosalinde and Eisenstein, singing a final toast as Eisenstein is taken away.


Carmen Opera

ACT I. Corporal Moralès and the soldiers while away the time watching the passers-by, among whom is Micaëla, a peasant girl from Navarre. She asks Moralès if he knows Don José, and is told that he is a corporal in another platoon expected shortly to relieve the present guard. Avoiding their invitation to step inside the guardroom, Micaëla escapes. A trumpet call heralds the approach not only of the relief guard but also of a gang of street urchins imitating their drill. As the guards are changed, Moralès tells José that a girl is looking for him. Zuniga, the lieutenant in command of the new guard, questions Corporal José about the tobacco factory. A stranger in Seville, Zuniga is apprehensive of the dangerous atmosphere of the locale.

The factory bell rings and the men of Seville gather round the female workers as they return after their lunch break. The gypsy Carmen is awaited with anticipation. When the men gather round her, she tells them love obeys no known laws (Habañera: “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle”). Only one man pays no attention to her – Don José. Carmen throws a flower at him. The women go back into the factory and the crowd disperses.

Micaëla returns, bringing news of José’s mother. She has sent Micaëla, who lives with her, to give him a letter (“Parle-moi de ma mère”). José feels that his mother is protecting him from afar. When he starts to read her letter, Micaëla runs off in embarrassment since it suggests that he marry her. At the moment that he decides to obey, a fight is heard from within the factory. The girls stream out with sharply conflicting accounts of what has occurred, but it is certain that Carmen and one of her fellow workers quarreled and that the other girl was wounded. Carmen, led out by José, refuses to answer any of Zuniga’s questions. José is ordered to tie her up and take her to prison. Carmen entices him to go dancing at Lillas Pastia’s tavern outside the walls of Seville (Séguedille: “Près des remparts de Séville”). Mesmerized, José agrees to help her escape. He unties the rope and, as they leave for prison, Carmen slips away. Don José is arrested.

ACT II. Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès entertain Zuniga and other officers (“Les tringles des sistres tintaient”). Zuniga tells Carmen that José has been released this very day. A torchlight procession in honor of the bullfighter Escamillo is heard, and the officers invite him in. He describes the excitements of his profession, in particular the amorous rewards that follow a successful bullfight (Toreador’s Song: “Votre toast”). Escamillo then propositions Carmen, but she replies that she is engaged for the moment. He says he will wait. Carmen refuses to leave with Zuniga, who threatens to return later.

When the company has departed, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado enter. They have business in hand for which their regular female accomplices are essential (“Nous avons en tête une affaire”). Frasquita and Mercédès are game, but Carmen refuses to leave Seville: she is in love. Her friends are incredulous. José’s song is heard in the distance. (“Dragon d’Alcala”). The smugglers withdraw. Carmen tells José that she has been dancing for his officers. When he reacts jealously, she agrees to entertain him alone (Finale: “Je vais danser en votre honneur”). Bugles are heard sounding the retreat. José says that he must return to barracks. Stupefied, Carmen mocks him, but he answers by producing the flower she threw and telling her how its faded scent sustained his love during the long weeks in prison (Flower Song: “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée”). But she replies that he doesn’t love her; if he did he would desert and join her in a life of freedom in the mountains. When, torn with doubts, he finally refuses, she dismisses him contemptuously. As he leaves, Zuniga bursts in. In jealous rage José attacks him. The smugglers return, separate them, and put Zuniga under temporary constraint (“Bel officier”). José now has no choice but to desert and join the smugglers.

ACT III. The gang enters with contraband and pauses for a brief rest while Dancaïre and Remendado go on a reconnaissance mission. Carmen and José quarrel, and José gazes regretfully down to the valley where his mother is living. Carmen advises him to join her. The women turn the cards to tell their fortunes: Frasquita and Mercédès foresee rich and gallant lovers, but Carmen’s cards spell death, for her and for José. She accepts the prophecy (Card Song: “En vain pour éviter les réponses amères”). Remendado and Dancaïre return announcing that customs officers are guarding the pass: Carmen, Frasquita, and Mercédès know how to deal with them (“Quant au douanier”). All depart. Micaëla appears, led by a mountaineer. She says that she fears nothing so much as meeting the woman who has turned the man she once loved into a criminal (“Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante”). But she hurries away in fear when a shot rings out. It is José firing at an intruder, who turns out to be Escamillo, transporting bulls to Seville (“Je suis Escamillo”). When he refers to the soldier whom Carmen once loved, José reveals himself and they fight. Carmen and the smugglers return and separate them. Escamillo invites everyone, especially Carmen, to be his guests at the next bullfight in Seville. José is at the end of his tether. Micaëla is discovered, and she begs José to go with her to his mother but he furiously refuses (“Dût-il m’en couter la vie”). Micaëla then reveals that his mother is dying. José promises Carmen that they will meet again. As José and Micaëla leave, Escamillo is heard singing in the distance.

ACT IV Among the excited crowd cheering the bullfighters are Frasquita and Mercédès. Carmen enters on Escamillo’s arm (“Si tu m’aimes”). Frasquita and Mercédès warn Carmen that José has been seen in the crowd. She says that she is not afraid. José enters. He implores her to forget the past and start a new life with him. She tells him calmly that everything between them is over. She will never give in: she was born free and free she will die. While the crowd is heard cheering Escamillo, José tries to prevent Carmen from joining her new lover. Carmen finally loses her temper, takes from her finger the ring that José once gave her, and throws it at his feet. José stabs her, and then confesses to the murder of the woman he loved

Aida Opera

ACT I. In ancient Egypt, near the royal palace at Memphis, Radamès learns from the high priest, Ramfis, that Ethiopia soon may bring war to the Nile valley. The young officer hopes he will be chosen as commander of the army, envisioning triumph so he can free his beloved Aida, Ethiopian slave of the proud Princess Amneris. Amneris, who herself loves Radamès, jealously senses his feelings for Aida when the three meet. A procession led by the King arrives to confirm that the Ethiopians are advancing on Thebes. He appoints the jubilant Radamès as Egyptian commander, at which shouts of victory fill the air. Left alone, Aida is torn between her love for Radamès and for her native land: though now a slave, she is in fact the daughter of Amonasro, king of Ethiopia. She prays to the gods for mercy.

In the temple, as priestesses chant the praises of Ptah, priests consecrate Radamès’ sword in a sacred ritual.

ACT II. Ethiopia has been defeated. Amneris, entertained by slaves, prepares for Radamès’ triumphal entry into Thebes. When Aida approaches, the princess dismisses her other attendants and tries to learn Aida’s private thoughts, first pretending Radamès is dead, then saying he is still alive. Certain from Aida’s reactions — horror, followed by joy — that her slave loves Radamès, Amneris leaves for the festivities. Aida reiterates her prayers.

At the city gates, victory is celebrated in parade and dance, a ceremony observed by the King and Amneris. Radamès is borne in and crowned with a victor’s wreath. Captured Ethiopians follow, among them Amonasro, Aida’s father, who signals her not to betray his identity as king. Impressed by Amonasro’s eloquent plea, Radamès asks as his reward that the priests’ death sentence on the prisoners be overruled and that they be freed. The King grants this, as well as Amneris’ hand, but keeps Amonasro in custody.

ACT III. On a moonlit bank of the Nile, Amneris is led by Ramfis to a temple of Isis for a wedding vigil. Nearby, waiting for Radamès, Aida is overcome with nostalgia for her homeland. Amonasro, who suddenly appears, preys on these feelings, forcing his daughter to agree to ask Radamès where the Egyptian army plans to enter Ethiopia. This she does when Radamès appears, ardent with dreams of their future life together. Just as he reveals the military secret, Amonasro steps out of hiding, and Ramfis and Amneris come forth from the temple. While Aida escapes with her father, Radamès surrenders to the priests as a traitor.

ACT IV. In a temple of judgment, awaiting trial, Radamès is unmoved by Amneris’ offer to save him if he will renounce Aida and marry her. When he is led away, Amneris’ pride dissolves, her love for Radamès revealed by her agony in hearing him condemned to death. Enraged, the princess curses the judges. Buried alive in a crypt, Radamès is joined by Aida, who has hidden there to share his fate. The lovers bid farewell to earth as Amneris, above the tomb, prays for peace.

Così fan tutte

Act I
It is the end of the 19th century, and the elderly cynic Don Alfonso discusses women with two young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo. The gallants insist their sweet-hearts are paragons of virtue and accept Alfonso’s bet that he can prove the ladies fickle if they do as he says for twenty-four hours.

The sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella revel in their love for Guglielmo and Ferrando, respectively, showing pictures they carry in their lockets. Alfonso comes in with sad news: the young men have been called to their regiment. When the young officers appear, the five make elaborate farewells. Alfonso, alone, delivers one last jeer at women’s inconstancy.

The maid, Despina, offers the sisters advice about forgetting old lovers with the help of new ones, but her mistresses resent her capricious approach to love. Dorabella, in fact, is outraged. When they leave, Alfonso comes to bribe Despina to introduce two foreign friends of his to the ladies. The sisters, returning, are scandalized to see the strangers, whom they do not recognize as their lovers, heavily disguised as aesthetes. The newcomers declare their admiration for the ladies, but both repulse them and Fiordiligi likens her fidelity to a rock. The men are thrilled, but Alfonso warns the bet isn’t won yet. As Ferrando blissfully reiterates his passion for Dorabella, Despina suggests a plan to Alfonso to win the ladies’ sympathy.

Alone in their garden, the sisters lament the absence of their lovers. Suddenly the suitors stagger in, pretending to have poisoned themselves in despair over their rejection. Alfonso and Despina run for a doctor while the ladies begin to waver: pity for the strangers will be their undoing. Despina returns and disguised as a doctor, uses a powerful magnet to draw out the poison. She urges the sisters to nurse the patients as they recover. The men revive, but their increased ardor alarms the women, who angrily refuse their demands for a kiss.

Act II
Attending her mistresses, Despina lectures them on their stubbornness and describes how to handle men. Dorabella is persuaded there could be no harm in a little flirtation, and surprisingly, Fiordiligi agrees. They decide who will pair off with whom.

The young men have arranged a serenade in the garden. Seeing their wager through, Guglielmo ardently pursues Dorabella while Ferrando woos Fiordiligi, who admits he has touched her heart, hoping her absent lover will forgive her. When the men compare notes, Guglielmo is glad to see Fiordiligi standing fast – or so he thinks – but Ferrando is dismayed that Dorabella has given in to Guglielmo, who comments on the waywardness of the fair sex. Left alone, Ferrando expresses his love for Dorabella, though he feels betrayed.

Fiordiligi rebukes Dorabella for being fickle, although she admits that in her heart she has succumbed to the stranger. Despina coaxes her to find a way, saying love is a thief and people get robbed every day. Alone, Fiordiligi decides to drag her sister off to join their sweethearts at the front, but Ferrando, pursuing the wager, threatens suicide, and Fiordiligi gives in. Now Guglielmo is furious, but Alfonso counsels forgiveness: that’s the way women are, he claims.
A double wedding is arranged between the sisters and their new lovers. Alfonso brings in the notary – Despina in another disguise. Just as the ladies have signed the marriage contract, familiar martial strains outside herald the return of the former lovers’ regiment. In panic the sisters push their intended husbands from the room and go more or less to pieces when the men reappear without their aesthete disguises. Ferrando and Guglielmo storm at the ladies when the marriage contract is discovered. But Alfonso explains the deception, reasoning that true happiness lies not in romantic illusions but in accepting things as they are. Agreeing a trick can work both ways, the lovers reconcile.

Staff Biographies

Staff Biographies

All staff may be contacted directly by calling (916) 737-1000 or by email.

Timm Rolek, Artistic Director  & Conductor of Sacramento Opera, and Artistic Director of Lake Tahoe Music Festival.
He made his debut with the Nevada Opera in May 1999 conducting Faust.
Rolek began his conducting career at the age of 22 conducting the American premier of Ernst Krenek’s Das Geheime Koenigreich while still a music composition student at the University of Minnesota.
After further study with Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Neville Marriner, Klaus Tennstedt, and James Levine, he joined the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Opera. After many years of guest conducting, he held the position of Music Director of the Heartland Symphony (MN) from 1993-1998, for whom he composed a work to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
Rolek has conducted opera productions with many American companies, including the Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, Chatauqua Opera, and Opera Delaware in repertoire ranging from Johann Strauss to Puccini, Sondheim to Musgrave. His symphonic guest conducting includes the Prague Chamber Orchestra, Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Glacier Symphonies, and his performances have earned reviews such as “Music under the baton of Timm Rolek was beautifully, sensibly balanced…”, “A knockout opening-night performance”, “…led his players through a highly polished reading.”

Rolek’s recordings include Jerre Tanner’s The Kona Coffee Cantata and Joseph Fennimore’s Eventide (both on the Albany/Troy label), which was recorded following it’s successful Ravinnia Festival debut under Rolek’s direction.

In addition to his duties on the podium, Maestro Rolek is very active with other endeavors. Rolek organized a national relief effort on behalf of the musicians in his Grand Forks Symphony who suffered losses in the flood of 1997. Rolek has participated in the Pierre Boulez/IRCAM composers and conductors workshop at Carnegie Hall, and has also served on a Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest grant panel for Opera America. He has also worked in radio and television, appearing as an arts commentator on the two-time Emmy Award-winning program Arts on 2, produced by Twin Cities Public Television KTCA-2, and has produced a 9-part series for Northern Lights Public Radio called Music In Our Century.

An avid sailor, Rolek went into the water in August 2001 for the annual “Swim With the Sharks” event, swimming the mile-and-a-half from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco Aquatic Park in just under an hour.

Rod Gideons, Executive Director.

Mr. Gideons comes to us from Tacoma Opera, Washington where he was Executive Director. At Tacoma Opera he helped to increase individual donations impressively as well as government and foundation grants. He implemented a Young Artists program and expanded education programs to include 33 touring performances. He also started an extensive community lecture series in local libraries which made opera more accessible to many people throughout the Tacoma area.

For 14 years prior to joining Tacoma Opera in 1999, Mr. Gideons was with the Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts (formerly Arkansas Opera Theatre) in Little Rock, Arkansas. He served there as Associate Artistic Director, Principal Grant-writer and Director of Education and Outreach. At various times he also acted as Production Manager and Tour Road Manager, giving him an unusual depth of experience. His performance career included extensive work in both theater and opera. Prior to entering arts management full-time, Rod worked with InterFirst Bank Corporation of Dallas, Texas. He attended North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, majoring in theater and vocal performance.



Jennifer Lin, Director of Marketing & Audience Development

Jennifer is responsible for marketing, public relations, and audience development activities. She has over ten years of experience working for arts and non-profit organizations. Jennifer has previously held curatorial, development, artist residency, editorial and administrative positions at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS), the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While working in Washington, DC, Jennifer managed an emerging artists piano series at the Kennedy Center, assisted with many artist residencies such as Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Project, helped with the programming and production of nearly 80 classical, jazz, and international music and dance performances a year throughout the DC region, organized arts administration seminars in Philadelphia, La Jolla, and DC, and coordinated grant giving programs for individuals and arts organizations. Jennifer has written and edited for several publications including WPAS’ Insights, exhibition catalogues on artists Donald Lipski, Jana Sterbak, and Mariko Mori, and program notes at the Kennedy Center. Jennifer received her BA in English and Music: Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MA in Arts Management from the American University in Washington, DC. She currently studies ballet at the Deane Dance Center, the Sacramento Ballet, and The Ballet Studio in Sacramento.