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Saturday, December 9, 2023


Moores Opera Center premieres ‘The Secret Marriage’

The Secret Marriage’s final performance will be on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. | Courtesy of Pin Lim/Moores Opera Center

The Moores Opera Center premiered the 18th century opera “The Secret Marriage” on Friday, Jan. 27.

The opera, which centers around an Italian businessman who has set an arranged marriage between his eldest daughter and an English count, is going to take a bright, comedic approach.

“We’re taking a whole sort of Alice and Wonderland meets the 18th century approach to it all,” said Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center. “It’s not terribly serious; [the audience] will get an appreciation for what other kinds of repertoire are out there that they may not know already.”

Graduate voice performance and plays student Virginia Hesse, who plays the role of younger sister Caroline, believes that the show’s appeal is timeless.

“The opera can be fun, and just because it was written several hundred years ago doesn’t mean it’s not applicable,” she said. “Sisters still get in fights.”

The opera was first performed in the 1790s for Emperor Leopold II, who so enjoyed it he demanded it to be performed again.

“It’s very tuneful and very energetic,” Ross said. “It was the most popular comic opera of its day, after the Mozart operas.”

With only six roles in the opera, the performances are split between 12 cast members. The characters include the two sisters, their father, their aunt, the count and the assistant.

Brianne Mathews, a second year master’s student in voice performance and pedagogy, plays the role of the oldest sister, Elisetta.

“Essentially, throughout the opera I am throwing temper tantrums and yelling at my sister and chasing the count around who doesn’t want me,” she said.

The opera will be sung in the original Italian, but will have English subtitles projected over the stage.

“Since it’s comedic I think you will laugh anyways, even if you do not know a single word,” Hesse said.

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