Campus opera offers dapper rendition of ‘Ameilia Goes to the Ball’

by Sarah Tanori , Staff Writer

When one thinks opera, it might be bring up Marie Antoinette-esque outfits and a medley sang in foreign languages. San Diego State’s Lyric Opera Theatre challenged that notion by bringing a comedic one-act showing of “Amelia Goes to the Ball” during the weekend of Nov. 14 through Nov. 16.

The opera is set in 1938, based around the eccentric, young Italian socialite Amelia (played by Rachel Rothman and Jillian Rose Jackson) and her unwavering need to attend the first ball of the season. However, her chance of attending the ball is threatened when her husband (played by Nicholas Newton and Aiden Munoz-Wentt) discovers Amelia has a secret lover.

Although the first act was slightly short, the second put a lovely touch on the night. In the second act titled “Hollywood Nightclub,” iconic Hollywood actors appeared and a variety of popular oldies songs were performed to give the ambiance of a 1940s club.

The storyline was a bit of a cliché, but the delivery of the story was what distinguished it apart from the typical Cinderella-type narrative. For one, the music from the orchestra pit shifted from tiptoe quiet to powerhouse sound, and it sets the foundation for the actions of the characters on stage. The music can be compared to ones set to the cat-and-mouse chase scenes of the old “Looney Tunes” cartoons— sporadic, a bit anxiety-ridden and entertaining.

This exhilarate energy from the orchestra was then matched by the actor’s performances on stage. That’s what brought so much life to this opera: The characters were quirky and hilarious; the actors didn’t hold back on the weird. Operas sometimes come with a track record of being conservative or hard to follow. However, “Amelia Goes To The Ball” took an otherwise average story and turned it into something memorable through unconventional style choices displayed on stage by the actors.

“Amelia Goes to the Ball” was engaging and not overbearing; the actors commanded the stage in all their quirkiness and the music managed to parallel the storyline impeccably. Overall, it was the type of show that gives opera a reputable name among the younger crowds.


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