The Western Connecticut State University Opera Ensemble will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “The Gondoliers” in four performances on March 24 through 26 at the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center.
Evening performances will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26. All performances will be in the MainStage Theatre at the VPAC on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. General admission will be $25, with a ticket price of $15 for seniors and students with valid ID. Reservations may be made online here.
Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup, director of the WCSU production, observed that “The Gondoliers,” also known as “The King of Barataria,” has enjoyed international popularity and theatrical success since its 1889 premiere for a 554-performance run at the Savoy Theatre in London. Composed by Arthur Sullivan with libretto by W.S. Gilbert, “‘The Gondoliers’ is Gilbert and Sullivan’s last great work and one of their most beloved,” Astrup said. “WCSU Opera is thrilled to present this wonderful comic operetta filled with great tunes reminiscent of the classic Italian operas.”
“The Gondoliers” recounts the story of the succession to the throne of the fictional kingdom of Barataria, which unfolds in Gilbert’s libretto with the hilarious farce of mistaken identities, confusion of class distinctions, tangled webs of amorous conflict and ultimately rewarded quests for true love. Astrup said the opera’s riotous satire of social and political mores in 19th century Europe still holds relevance for contemporary America.
“In these times, we can all use this funny and light-hearted operetta with glorious tunes to lift our moods and bring us together,” Astrup said. “In keeping with Gilbert and Sullivan tradition, we have taken the liberty of poking fun at some of our own social and political institutions today where we can take advantage of the opportunities to improvise in the score. In this way, each production becomes personal and unique. We hope the audience will pick up on some of the fun, although it is surprising how much of the original libretto would still apply to our circumstances today.”
The roles of the future royal couple of Barataria will be performed by Matthew Johnson, of Trumbull, as Luiz; and by Arianna Carlo, of Brookfield, and Olivia Conforti, of Naugatuck, as Casilda. The gondoliers whose improbable ascendancy to the throne descends into farce will be played by Sergio Mandujano, of Trumbull, as Marco; and Matthew Feinberg, of Cheshire, as Giuseppe. The gondoliers’ new brides will be performed by Nicole Salamon, of Greenwich, and Amy Cerbie, of Meriden, as Tessa; and Katherine Marsh, of Clinton, and Taylor Doyle, of Southbury, as Gianetta.
The role of Grand Inquisitor Don Alhambra will be performed by Dan Satter, of Trumbull. Edwin Rodriguez, of New Haven, will bring hilarity to his role as the Duke of Plaza-Toro; his wife, the Duchess of Plaza-Toro, will be performed by Kaitlyn Carruthers, of Fairfield, and Leanna O’Brien, of Barkhamsted.
Associate Professor of Music Dr. Fernando Jimenez will be the orchestra conductor for the WCSU production.