Comic relief opera coming to university

Published 8:13 pm Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something very unique in the arts entertainment world is coming to Troy University Monday night and it’s a must-see for those who enjoy opera or think they might.

The Comic Intermezzo will present a concert at 6 p.m. Monday, March 30, in HAL Hall.

Admission is free.

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Michael Hix, coordinator of vocal/choral activities, Long School of Music, said the Intermezzo is traditionally a series of short operas that deliver comic relief during a “serious” opera.

“This opera, “The Gambling Husband,” by Orlandini hasn’t been performed since the 1700s,” Hix said. “The first performance since the 1700s will be this weekend at another venue and the audience in Troy will get to hear the second performance since the 1700s. “Il Mario giocatore e la moglie bacchettona” (The Gambling Husband) has the distinction of being the most performed opera of the entire 18th century.

“The work dates from 1715 and was first performed in Verona,” Hix said. “But it didn’t become extremely popular until the 1752 performances in Paris. In that year an Italian comedy troop managed to give a performance of some intermezzi and their popularity exceeded all expectations.”

Comic Intermezzo will be a delightful performance by two extremely talented opera singers and Hix said he is excited about bringing such high quality performers to Troy. “Most people who are familiar with opera know the standard repertoire, including Mozart, Verdi and Puccini. There is an abundance of fabulous opera from the past which doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. I think the performance by the Comic Intermezzo on Monday night will highlight one of these fascinating works.” Hix said Kathleen and Peter Van De Graaff have performed together and separately throughout the country and the world including concerts with the Israeli Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv, the Budapest Concert Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony.

In the United States, they have appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera, Lincoln Opera, Music of the Baroque, Milwaukee Opera, Houston Symphony, Rochester Opera, Utah Symphony, Washington/Idaho Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic and at many other venues around the country.

“Kathleen and Peter have traveled throughout Europe obtaining scores of early 18th century intermezzi,” Hix said. “They have subsequently gained notoriety as specialists in this area and performing throughout the United States, as well as on live broadcast and three North American premieres. Their recording of two chamber operas with their ensemble ‘The Comic Intermezzo’ was released in January 2007.”