OperaBend still playing in Madras
OperaBend is still set to perform "The Elixir of Love" at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Madras Performing Arts Center.
PAC director Shannan Ahern said admission will be limited to 250 people in compliance with Gov. Kate Brown's Thursday announcement that all gatherings in the state be limited to 250 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
"Right now everything's moving forward as scheduled," Ahern said, adding that she understands the situation is fluid.
She said the PAC is also recognizing that the Centers for Disease Control has said older adults are at increased risk and are being encouraged to avoid crowds.
Tickets are $20 for adults and would usually be $5 for students, though there is a grant from the Bean Foundation for students to get in for free. Student tickets can be picked up at the PAC before the show or at the door.
General admission tickets can be purchased at the Opera Bend website, www.operabend.org/events, or at the door.
Unlike many operas, including some that the group has performed in Madras in the past, the show is a comedy, not a tragedy.
It's more lighthearted and family-friendly.
"It's really a very tuneful opera. Every tune is the kind of tune you could go home humming or tapping your foot to," said Stein, who is also co-founder of OperaBend.
He said that they are adding quite a bit more comedy to the show than what is already there, as well, putting their own take on the well-known opera.
Though the show is in Italian, supertitles will be projected above the stage in English.
With that in mind, Stein said that the company generally recommends that audience members not sit in the first five or six rows if they can help it so they can better see the supertitles.
This is the fourth year the opera company has brought a performance to Madras, and Stein said that something really special about the show is the ability to bring a full 20-piece orchestra, conducted by Michael Gesme, with them. The same grant from the Bean Foundation that pays for student tickets is allowing the musicians to come too.
It's not every day an opera comes to Madras, let alone an orchestra, and Stein said that the musicians are top members of the Central Oregon Symphony.
All together, Stein said there are about 15 cast members in the show, which revolves around several main characters, one of which is a poor peasant who falls in love with a wealthy female landowner. When he hears her read the story of Tristan and Isolde, he works up the courage to profess his love, and she blows him off.
Having heard the story she read, which involved a love potion, he sets off in search of one but ends up being scammed by a "medicine man" selling cheap wine disguised as a cure-all. And the story continues as things begin to unfold, seemingly as a result of the "love potion," and his love interest agrees to marry another man.
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