Life + Arts

Classic opera debut amuses, stuns

The Moores Opera House brimmed with excitement Friday when the Moores School of Music kicked off its opera season with a production of the Rossini classic Il viaggio a Reims.

The scandal starts at The Golden Fleur-de-lis, a spa hotel in France, circa 1825. The hotel staff, under the strict direction of housekeeper Maddalena (vocal performance graduate Laura Riggs), frantically sweeps and airs out sheets in preparation for a group of international dignitaries in route to Reims for the coronation of King Charles X.

Amid the preparations for the imminent coronation, a messenger arrives with bad news: there are no horses available to transport the dignitaries to Reims.

Though upset at first, the hotel owner, Madame Cortese (vocal performance graduate Jennifer Noel), receives a letter from her husband, which says the king will return to Paris and that celebrations will commence upon his return.

Il viaggio a Reims is a grand production, with a large ensemble of 18 cast members, a 20-person chorus and a set that nearly fills the stage at the Moores Opera House.

One of the greatest things about the show is the ensemble’s comedic timing, particularly in the scene in which the young French officer Chevalier Belfiore (vocal performance graduate Paul Hopper) attempts to win the heart of Corinna (vocal performance graduate Jessica Jones). Belfiore discovers Corinna in the bathtub and massages her shoulders until she drops a bar of soap in the water. Belfiore rolls his sleeves and tries to find the soap, making sure to accidentally find her in the process.

A highlight of the show is when vocal performance graduate James Rodriguez, who belts out an impressive bass range as Don Profondo.

The Moores Opera House will open its curtains in January with W.A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Leo’scaron; Jan’aacute;?ek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

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