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One Act Opera


Rimrock Opera presents two one-act operas, The Telephone, by Gian Carlo Menotti, and Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. Both shows are sung in English.

The semi-staged twin bill, produced and directed by Douglas Nagel, plays Saturday, July 17, at the Babcock Theater, at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, July 18, 3:00 PM, at Shiloh United Methodist Church, 1810 Shiloh Road. Tickets are $20, available at the door of both venues. For more information, phone 406-671-2214.

The Telephone
Billings Gazette Photo by David Grubs
The Telephone
. featuring Billings native, William Mouat, Jacquelyn Marie Weitz and Sandi Rabas, is a comic opera based on the story of Ben, who wants to marry Lucy. He tries in vain to propose, but because she is endlessly on the telephone, he is rarely able to capture her attention.

Trouble in Tahiti photograph by David Grubs
Billings Gazette Photo by David Grubs
Trouble in Tahiti
stars Michelle Berger, also a Billings native, with William Mouat, Chris Sheppard, Janie Rife, Nate Liptac and Sandi Rabas. This is a work of great wit, straddling the line between opera and Broadway--a singing and dancing tour de force for Ms. Berger. Bernstein speaks straight to our hearts in this one-act masterpiece with music that is lively, jazzy, and uniquely American.
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Singing, acting superb in one-act opera festival

Review By SHARIE PYKE For The Outpost

Rimrock Opera triumphed yet again last weekend with Summer Festival 2010, a pair of one-act operas, “Trouble in Tahiti” by Leonard Bernstein and “The Telephone” by Gian Carlo Menotti. The cast excelled with both virtuoso vocals and superb acting.

“Trouble In Tahiti” opens with an obviously unhappy couple, Sam played by William Mouat, and Dinah, played by Michelle Berger, frozen at the breakfast table. While they ignored each other, Janey Rife, soprano, Nathan Liptak, tenor, and Joshua Head, baritone, sang and danced a jazzy, light commentary on the marital standoff.

Michelle Berger showed off her virtuosity in the solo “There Is a Garden,” a sad recap of Dinah’s initial encounter with Sam when they were both 17. Ms. Berger sang every note and acted every word to perfection. Lovely!
Meanwhile, Sam goes to the office where he transforms into a business tycoon, gives a friend a large loan, and flirts with his secretary.

Is he having an affair? Maybe. Is Dinah? Maybe. Or is that young man really her memory of Sam as he was 20 years ago? In the present, the couple meet by chance in the city, on their way to lunch, supposedly. Sam is really off to a rendezvous and Dinah goes alone to a movie, “Trouble in Tahiti,” which her cynical self sees as trite nonsense.
Director Nagel’s staging and direction of Ms. Berger’s second aria was superb, one laugh after another. And the audience needed that comic relief.

For a short piece, just 45 minutes, “Tahiti” addresses several heavy relationship issues: boredom, infidelity, loneliness, lack of communication and the death of romantic love.
But composer/writer Bernstein ends on a hopeful note. Having trashed the movie “Trouble in Tahiti,” Dinah nevertheless agrees to see it a second time with Sam. “It’s time to go back and take your hand,” the two sing together. Bravo, Brava to Mouat and Berger for a performance of depth and insight, a total thought-provoking story in less than an hour.

Menotti’s “The Telephone,” is the perfect foil to “Tahiti”: light and gently comic, with just the right amount of tension. Jaquelyn Marie Weitz played Lucy, a young lady in love with the telephone.

William Mouat sang Ben, her frustrated would-be fiancé, who has left himself only an hour to pop the question before he has to catch a train. But every time Ben gets to the point, the phone rings, and Lucy, a true addict, is compelled to answer it. Finally, a frustrated Ben leaves for the station as Lucy talks on.

“He left me alone with my telephone,” Lucy laments in surprise when she finally hangs up. The solution: Ben proposes over the phone, and Lucy says yes. Voila! A happy ending.

Ms. Weitz was a perfect Lucy, her hair dressed in a modified ’40s roll, a swingy, knee length polka-dot dress and shoes. Her soprano was light and lilting, perfect for the vapid chatter of the darling but clueless Lucy. I found her engaging to both watch and listen to.

Baritone William Mouat as Ben was her complement in every way, deep, stable and solid. That marriage will make it, I thought.

Sandi Rabas on keyboard, Amy Logan on clarinet and flute, and Jaspers Heins on percussion, provided a great accompaniment.

The Rimrock Opera just keeps getting better. Don’t miss their next great performance, “The Merry Widow,” this Sept. 25-26 at the Alberta Bair Theater.


Rimrock Opera stages summer one-act festival
Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2010 6:03 pm
Rimrock Opera Summer Festival presents two one-act operas, “,” by Gian Carlo Menotti, and Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti,” on Saturday at the Babcock Theater starting at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at Shiloh United Methodist Church, 1810 Shiloh Road, at 3 p.m.

Both shows are sung in English. Tickets to the semi-staged twin bill, produced and directed by Douglas Nagel, are $20 and are available at the door at each venue.
“The Telephone’’ features Billings natives William Mouat, Jacquelyn Marie Weitz and Sandi Rabas. It is a comic opera based on the story of Ben, who wants to marry Lucy. He tries in vain to propose, but because she is endlessly on the telephone, he is rarely able to capture her attention.

“Trouble in Tahiti” stars Michelle Berger, also a Billings native, with Mouat, Chris Sheppard, Janie Rife, Nate Liptac and Sandi Rabas. This is a work of great wit, straddling the line between opera and Broadway, a singing and dancing tour de force for Berger. Bernstein speaks straight to our hearts in this one-act masterpiece with music that is lively, jazzy, and uniquely American.


 

 

 

 

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