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ARTS & CULTURE

Text and photos courtesy of Opera in the Ozarks

Opera in the Ozarks Welcomes Top Singers From Across America

2024 Summer Season kicks off this month

Opera in the Ozarks, the summer music festival and prominent opera training program based in Eureka Springs, kicks off its 2024 Summer Season this month.

 

The 2024 season, “Enchanted Evenings,” begins June 21 and continues through July 19 at Opera in the Ozarks’ mountainside venue, Inspiration Point, overlooking Beaver Lake, five miles west of Eureka Springs on Highway 62.

 

“We have assembled a company of 37 wonderful singers who will convene on our mountain this summer, and the always-wonderful orchestra will be at full strength with 25 instrumentalists, ready to thrill you with their beautiful music making,” said Nancy Preis, Opera in the Ozarks general director. “Together, they will perform 22 fully staged and costumed opera productions, including three Sunday matinees.”

Now in its 73rd season, this year’s “Enchanted Evenings” repertoire includes three exceptional operas: Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata, Robert Ward’s The Crucible, and a double bill featuring Vittorio Giannini’s Beauty and the Beast and Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, plus additional special events at locations throughout Northwest Arkansas.

 

“Each of the featured operas this season explore the concept of enchantment,” Preis said. “La traviata is about the enchantment of love; The Crucible is all about folks being accused of witchcraft, a form of enchantment with an ugly twist; and in the double bill, L’enfant et les sortilѐges is literally about a child and his enchanted toys and other household items, while Beauty and the Beast is the classic story of love’s transformative powers — another form of enchantment.”

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2023 Orpheus In the Underworld

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2023 Elixir of Love

La traviata is arguably Giuseppe Verdi’s most popular opera, and 170 years after its premiere, it remains one of the most performed operas in the world. La traviata is often translated as “The Fallen Woman,” which reflects Violetta’s life as a courtesan who finds her first love with Alfredo, a country boy with little experience with Parisian society.

 

The Crucible was written in 1961 and is based on the Arthur Miller play of the same name. The play was conceived around the time of the McCarthy congressional hearings, in which allegations of Communist leanings were enough to destroy people’s careers. The play is set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, and revolves around accusations of witchcraft and how someone’s life can be destroyed by rumors. For this production, set in the late 17th century, Opera in the Ozarks follows the Robert Ward/Bernard Stambler libretto.

L’enfant et les sortilèges and Beauty and the Beast are both one-act operas that are rarely performed but certainly deserve more stage time. Ravel’s brilliant score is accompanied by a libretto written by the French author Colette, who originally wrote the story for a fairy ballet. And this is not Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Vittorio Giannini wrote this opera in 1938 as a radio drama, and his lush harmonic content and soaring melodies beautifully capture the drama and whimsy of the fairytale. “We will be taking a more contemporary approach to these two stories, using projections and creative costumes to create a magical setting,” Preis said. “These two operas are ideal for families and for introducing opera to new listeners.”

 

The three mainstage productions will be staged on a rotating basis throughout the season, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.

The mainstage schedule:

 

La traviata – June 21, 27, 29 and July 2, 7, 10, 13, 19

The Crucible – June 22, 26, 30 and July 5, 8, 12, 17

 

Beauty and the Beast & L’enfant et les sortilèges – June 25, 28 and July 1, 6, 9, 14, 18

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Beyond the 22 mainstage performances, there will also be more than a dozen performances of a traveling outreach production at locations throughout Northwest Arkansas, including area libraries, schools, retirement centers and more. The traveling opera this summer will be Little Red’s Most Unusual Day by John Davies, the story of Little Red Riding Hood set to music by Offenbach and Rossini. Featuring Opera in the Ozarks’ Studio Artists, all performances of Little Red are free.

 

In addition, audiences will enjoy the Chamber Music Concert on July 15 at Inspiration Point and two Broadway Cabarets. One cabaret will be July 11 at Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville at 7 p.m. and will include hors d’oeuvres, and the other will be July 16 at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs at 6 p.m. and will include dinner. Both cabaret venues will have cash bars. These cabaret performances will feature a variety of popular Broadway songs, performed by members of the Opera in the Ozarks company.

2023 Orpheus In the Underworld

Tickets for the 2024 season are on sale now. Single tickets to mainstage opera performances range from $25 to $30 depending on seat selection, with special pricing available for children and students under 18. Tickets for the Fayetteville cabaret performance are $60. Tickets for the dinner-inclusive Eureka Springs cabaret performance are $75. Tickets for the Chamber Music Concert are $20, with special pricing available for children and students.

 

New this year, full-season tickets are also available, offering patrons the chance to attend all mainstage opera performances plus the chamber music concert at discounted rates. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the box office at (479) 253-8595.

For more information, visit www.opera.org.

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