Last week my first opera came to an end. The show was overall, very successful. The floor was sold out two out of the three nights and everyone sounded great. The opera was 'Maria Stuarda' a bel canto opera by Gaetano Donizetti. It originally premiered in Milan in 1835. Maria Stuarda is an opera about Queen Elizabeth of England and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. This opera depicts a fictional meeting between the two as well as a fictional love triangle. The first act ends with Mary being arrested and the second and final act ends with Mary's public execution. It's basically a 'diva opera' with both of the leads being soprano-y roles creating lots of opportunity for drama. I wasn't a principal character in this opera however. I was simply in the chorus but the chorus was on stage quite a bit, which was exciting as well. Another great thing about this opera was the costumes. They were full, Elizabethan era style complete with bum rolls, corsets, ruffles and giant dresses.
This show was also uniquely cast in that the role of Elizibetta was played by different singers on different days. For two nights a soprano grad student had the lead and for one matinee a mezzo-soprano doctoral student played Elizibetta. It was really interesting hearing the differences in vocal techniques and overall tone of each of the singers however, both were amazing in the role, each bringing something different to the table. Here are a couple links to articles about the show.