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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


‘The Inspector’ comes to the Moores Opera House

The production is part of the Comic Opera Festival at the Moores School of Music. | Ajani Stewart/ The Cougar

The students from the Moores School of Music are performing for the first time the American composer John Musto’s opera The Inspector, which opens at the Moores Opera House on Thursday.

First premiered worldwide at Wolf Trap Opera in 2011, The Inspector is a comedic take on Nikolai Gogol’s Russian play The Government Inspector.

The Inspector is set in a 1930s Sicilian town, whose corrupt government receives a visit from the titular inspector travelling incognito from Rome.

The characters attempt to cover up their faults to impress the inspector while hoping for a place of power within his regime. However, the town comes to find that the inspector they are entertaining is not the actual inspector.

“It’s really more of a farcical satire,” said Buck Ross, the director of the Moores Opera Center, said.

The cast of characters in the opera include the corrupt mayor, his wife Sarelda and others that act with immoral behavior.

Voice performance and pedagogy masters students, Andrew Gilstrap and Christine Scanlan, play the mayor and his wife, Sarelda.

“We’re sort of the head honchos,” Gilstrap said. “Just totally corrupt, not a moral bone in our bodies, and the rest of the cast from the town are kind of the same way.”

The Inspector also consists of arias and ensembles that are fun jazz-like tunes.

“I think the one [aria] in this opera that people will walk away remembering is Sarelda’s aria,” Scanlan said. “Which is a very sudden rant about shoes and hats and gowns and all the things she is going to receive once she gets the power in Rome she’s hoping for.”

Ross said The Moores School of Music has had the opera on their short list ever since one of his ex-students was in the first premiere five years ago.

“It’s a good show for us to do because it has a lot of roles in it,” he said. “It’s a piece that no one in Houston has ever seen before, which is obviously a good thing, and it’s very, very funny.”

The opera will be sung in the original English with the text projected over the stage.

“It’s a good piece to come to if you’ve never seen an opera before,” Ross said. “You don’t need to know a thing about opera to enjoy it.”

The show is a great introductory opera that is similar to musical theater, Gilstrap said.

“This is the one I’m recommending all my friends to that know nothing about music to come and see,” Scanlan said. “It’s going to feel like music theater. It’s going to feel like a play. It’s going to be so funny.”

The Inspector will run on January 26, 28 and 29 at 7:30 pm. Purchase tickets here.

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