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Opera Scenes Synopses

In the late 1800s, mill-worker Carrie Pepperidge is telling anyone and everyone about her fiancé, fisherman Enoch Snow. Mr. Snow arrives and the two fantasize about their happy future together.

In Ceylon, the time of year has come for a Brahman priestess to bless the 
pearl harvest. Having left the village a year earlier, Nadir has returned. He meets with Zurga, the newly-elected village leader and his one-time closest friend. The two recount their friendship and their eventual falling out over a rivalry for a beautiful priestess. They renew their friendship and vow never to be rivals again.

Hoffmann arrives with his supernatural muse, Nicklausse. Nicklausse mocks Hoffmann for his choice in women, the most recent having been a life-size automaton. Nicklausse urges Hoffmann to place his faith in art, his only true and faithful love.

Gabriel Eisenstein has been found guilty of a minor traffic violation and has been sentenced to spend the night in jail. He will not, however, be going to jail but rather will be going to a party to make time with a bevy of beautiful women. His wife, Rosalinda, believing that he is going to prison is distraught and confused by Eisenstein’s cheerful demeanor as well as his insistence that he must wear full tails and white tie in prison. Meanwhile, their maid, Adele, has also received an invitation to the party and is trying to get the night off. A tearful farewell ensues.

Beautiful young Manon is living with her lover, Des Grieux in Paris. She has been told that Des Grieux’s father is planning to kidnap Des Grieux and bring him home, leaving Manon to become a courtesan living with a wealthy older man. Sure of his father’s support, Des Grieux leaves to mail a letter to his father which explains his love for Manon. Manon, wracked with guilt, bids farewell to the little table that has served as dinner table, desk, and center of their apartment. Des Grieux returns and tells Manon of a beautiful dream he has had of their future together.

Gaylord Ravenal, a gambler and drifter is walking along the Mississippi River bank when he happens to meet Magnolia Wilkes, the daughter of a popular river show boat owner. They chat and make-believe they are performers in a show boat production who have just met and fallen instantly in love.

Popular poet Werther is returning from a country dance with Charlotte, the daughter of a local minister. The two are deeply attracted to each other. Charlotte speaks to Werther of her mother’s recent death and of her responsibility for her five siblings. Werther confesses his love for Charlotte but is interrupted by her father calling to her saying that her fiancé, Albert, has returned from a business trip. Charlotte explains that she promised her mother on her deathbed that she would marry Albert. She leaves Werther stunned and heartbroken.

Norina, a beautiful young widow, has just received a message from her lover, Ernesto. He complains that his best friend, Dr. Malatesta, has conspired with Ernesto’s aged, wealthy uncle, Don Pasquale to find a young wife, leaving Ernesto out in the cold without a penny. Therefore, Ernesto feels that he cannot in good conscience marry Norina. Enter the aforementioned Dr. Malatesta. He explains that he has set an elaborate plot to trick Don Pasquale into a false marriage to a shy young woman who, after marriage will turn into a shrew, thus demonstrating to Pasquale that marriage to someone much younger is not the best idea and to be content with Ernesto as an heir. He plans for Norina (who has never met Don Pasquale) to portray the role of the shrew. Norina readily adapts to her new character and they are off!

In the Midwest during the Great Depression, Martin, an itinerant farm worker and Laurie, the farm owner’s granddaughter, have fallen in love. Martin is leaving the following morning and has come to say goodbye to Laurie. Laurie begs him to take her with him but Martin says no. The uncertain migrant life is no life for her. Laurie is persistent and Martin, despite his misgivings, relents. People begin to enter and Laurie, afraid of being caught with Martin retreats. From a distance, Martin begins to sing a song about the promise of their future. As he sings, other farm workers and family members join in.

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