The Cast of SIUE's Rita

Marc Shapman, Richard Ladd, Kyrstan Langer, Daniel Wertz, and John Gross

Last Friday and Saturday the SIUE Opera Theatre presented Gaetano Donizetti’s Rita. This short comedy set in eighteenth century Turin was written in 1841 and first performed in 1860 after the death of it’s creator. This production of Rita was directed by Marc Schapman with musical accompaniment by Pianist John Gross.

Written as a one act opera comique (an opera with spoken text between aria’s) the story is short but ripe with humor, conflict, and delightful melodrama.

The opera takes place entirely within a small inn owned by Rita (Kyrstan Langer), the character for whom the production is named. Rita maintains a domineering role in her marriage with her subservient husband Beppe (Daniel Werts) threatening him with violence should he fail to meet her expectations. Rita’s desire to keep Beppe submissive is fueled by her experience with her first husband Gasparo (Richard Ladd) who threatened to beat her should she not fulfill her wifely duties. The plot thickens when Gasparo, previously believed to have died at sea, shows up at Rita’s inn hoping to obtain a copy of Rita’s death certificate. Beppe sees the return of Gasparo as his opportunity to be free of Rita’s tyranny and the drama unfolds around the two men attempting to pawn Rita off on each other.

“We have the right cast for this show,” director Marc Shapman explained as to the decision to perform Rita. The cast provided the perfect opportunity to perform the piece in the original Italian, a feat not normally attempted at the collegiate level. It was also a chance to kick off the opera season with a comical piece, and to perform a full production rather than a selection of scenes as is often the case.

This year’s opera season will continue with Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” December 10th and 12th at St. Boniface Catholic Church. With more information available at: http://www.siue.edu/artsandsciences/music/opera/

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Music

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site