They Would Have Made the Greats Proud
Who would have guessed that Santa Monica College could deliver "An Evening of Opulent Elegance" in opera, one of the most beautiful but complicated arts inherited from our ancestors. The performance took place last Friday at the Edye Second Space at the SMC Performing Arts Center. The small studio was packed with extra seats as many were still outside in front of the box office hoping to still purchase tickets.
Those that were left empty handed sneaked in quietly to view the two-hour performance standing. Inside one could feel the warm atmosphere of a curious audience from 1 to 100 years old.
The show was divided by scenes as each group entered to present their quintets. The first scene was from "Carmen" by Bizet. In this scene Dancario and Remendado tell the girls of their plans to throw away the contraband they have smuggled through Gibraltar. They need the help of Mercedes Frasquita and Carmen as their natural gift for duplicity will almost ensure their success. Frasquita and Mercedes agree to go but Carmen refuses and to their amazement, she's in love.
Carmen was elegantly portrayed by the talented tall brunette Meera Rangachar wearing a red elegant dress. Her facial expressions matched Carmen's usual indifference when in agreement with her own opinions and life.
The next scene was from the opera "Cosi fan Tutte" translated "Thus do They All," by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Fernando and Gugliemo (two officers) are most certainly sure that their two fiancees Dorabella and Fiordiligi will be eternally faithful. But when Don Alfonso joins the discussion to bet that women can't be faithful as their fickleness won't allow it, the two officers accept the pretense to be called off to war and then return in disguise to attempt in seducing each other's lover.
The scene shifts to the women when Alfonso arrives to announce that their lovers have been called off to war. Don Alfonso was strongly portrayed by Julio Roberto Santizo. The "Don Giovanni" opera by W. A. Mozart, presented an interesting scene where Anna unawarely speaks to her attacker and while pleading for his help. Giovanni declares Elvira insane when she reveals to Anna the secret. Other scenes were performed from operas "Der Rosenkavalier" where Sophie and Octavian run to each other's arms, "Hansel and Gretel" about two children becoming lost in a forest. The opera "Arabella" portrayed an interesting scene where Arabella confesses that her only wish is to love.
The performance closed with the scenes from "Ballad of a Baby Doe," in which a beautiful women by the name of Baby Doe brings to a man all the beautiful things he has forgotten. "Suor Angelica" made for an everlasting impression on the audience as Angelica sees a vision where the Blessed Virgin appears with her child.
General Director of the SMC Opera Theatre Gail Gordon organized the performance in a professional manner. One could feel in the air the wonderful beginnings of the new theatre's promise under her direction. The audience left satisfied and confident that Santa Monica confidently offers world class opera in its own backyard. This evening's elegant costumes and mesmerizing voices are just the beginning in shaping what one day might become SMC's signature in the world of opera.