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USC Thornton Opera

Opera Scenes Synopses

February 3, 2023 | 7:00pm

Opera Scenes | Bios

Die Zauberflöte

Act I No. 5 Quintetto


Tamino, inspired by the Queen of the Night and her three ladies to ‘rescue’ Pamina from Sarastro, comes across a muffled Papageno (muffled for claiming to have killed the serpent when it was the three ladies). Tamino is too powerless to help Papageno, but the three ladies return and give Papageno the ability to speak again. They give the Prince a magic flute for his quest. Papageno excuses himself but the three ladies tell him he must join Tamino as his helper. For his protection they give him bells . Tamino and Papageno head off, but wonder how to get to the castle. The three ladies say that three boys will be their guides. Everyone says farewell as Tamino and Papageno set off on their adventure.


Don Giovanni

Act INo. 9 Quartet


Don Ottavio and Donna Anna enter, plotting vengeance on the still unknown murderer of Donna Anna's father. Donna Anna, unaware that she is speaking to the attacker, pleads for Don Giovanni's help. Don Giovanni, relieved that he is unrecognized, readily promises it, and asks who has disturbed her peace. Before she can answer, Donna Elvira returns and tells Donna Anna and Don Ottavio that Don Giovanni is a false-hearted seducer. Don Giovanni tries to convince Don Ottavio and Donna Anna that Donna Elvira is insane.


The Rape of Lucretia

Act I “Tarquinius does not dare…” and “the spinning scene.”


After a night of drinking at the military camp outside Rome, Only Collatinus can boast of his faithful wife, Lucretia, who is the only Roman wife remaining who has not “betrayed her husband”. Prince Tarquinius sets out by horse to test her chastity. Driven by desire, riding towards Rome.


In Collatinus’ house Lucretia is sewing while her old nurse Bianca and young maid Lucia sit spinning. Lucretia is anxious while her beloved Collatinus is away and longs for his return. Night falls and the women prepare for bed, singing of what is demanded of women until Lucretia hears a knock at the door.


Don Giovanni

Act I No. 13 Finale


Zerlina has not been firm in repelling Don Giovanni’s advances.  She has barely calmed her fiancé Masetto’s suspicions when they are aroused again with the arrival of Giovanni. The lovers hide, but Giovanni finds her.


Don Giovanni attempts to continue the seduction, until he stumbles upon Masetto's hiding place. Confused but quickly recovering, Don Giovanni reproaches Masetto for leaving Zerlina alone, and returns her temporarily to him. Don Giovanni then leads both offstage to his ballroom.


Three masked guests – the disguised Don Ottavio, Donna Anna, and Donna Elvira – enter the garden. From a balcony, Leporello invites them to his master's party. They accept the invitation and Leporello leaves the balcony. Alone, Don Ottavio and Donna Anna pray for protection, and Donna Elvira for vengeance (Trio: "Protegga il giusto cielo" – "May the just heavens protect us").


As the merriment proceeds, Leporello distracts Masetto by dancing with him, while Don Giovanni leads Zerlina offstage to a private room and tries to assault her. When Zerlina screams for help, Don Giovanni drags Leporello onstage from the room, accuses Leporello of assaulting Zerlina himself, and threatens to kill him. The others are not fooled. Don Ottavio threatens Don Giovanni, and the three guests unmask and declare that they know all. But despite being denounced and menaced from all sides, Don Giovanni remains calm and escapes – for the moment.



Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Act II Temporale, Recitativo, No. 16 Terzetto


Count Almaviva and Rosina are in love, but Rosina is held by her ward (who intends to marry her for her fortune). Thinking that Almaviva (disguised as Lindoro) has betrayed her, Rosina has revealed her and the Count’s escape plans and agreed to marry her ward, Bartolo. In the midst of a thunderstorm, Figaro (helping the count for money and bragging rights) and a still-disguised Count Almaviva use a ladder to reach Rosina’s balcony and whisk her away. The Count is confronted by an angry Rosina, but he calms her fears by revealing his identity. Figaro urges haste, as the two lovebirds sing to each other. People are coming and the ladder has been taken so they attempt to escape through the window.


Le nozze di Figaro

Act I, trio


The page, Cherubino, hides from the Count and overhears Count Almaviva’s attempted seduction of Susanna, begging her to meet him in the garden later. Don Basilio's arrival forces the count into hiding as well, which, in turn, forces Cherubino to move from his hiding place. The indiscreet Basilio talks of the Count's love for Susanna and of Cherubino's love for the countess. The count then emerges from hiding, Ordering that Cheribino should be cast out. Basilio tries to backpedal to no avail as Susanna begins to faint at the scandal. She tells the men to leave, but the Count tells them that he has caught Cherubino before and while demonstrating his story, uncovers Cherubino yet again in a compromising hiding spot.

Silent Woman

(Die Schweigsame Frau)

Act I Letzte Scene


The Captain Sir John Morosus has just thrown the opera troupe out of his house and disinherited his nephew, Henry. The scene opens on the insulted troupe in a huff and Aminta consoling her beloved Henry.  The barber reveals to the troupe how rich Morosus is ("sixty, seventy thousand pounds"). Aminta says that she will not come between Henry and his inheritance and offers to leave Henry. Henry tells Aminta that he cannot live without her even if it means losing his inheritance. The troupe rallies around Henry until The barber cuts off the music and starts to leave to go find a silent wife for Morosus as instructed until  the barber has an idea. What if the opera troupe acts out a drama in which the ladies of the troupe have the roles of the prospective brides and they enact a sham marriage? The Bride will then become very noisy and they will act out the divorce. Henry likes the idea: his uncle has insulted the troupe, so they will show him their abilities "and who is the fool shall be fooled". The scene ends with a glorious celebration of the wonderful plan.

Opera Scenes | Bios

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