WEATHER »
<em>La serva padrona</em>

David Bazemore

La serva padrona


Trouble in Tahiti and La serva padrona at the Lobero

One-act Operas Explore Promise, Pitfalls of Matrimony on Friday, April 8


Love and marriage, as one musical-theater composer noted, go together like a horse and carriage. While the idea of getting hitched can be exhilarating, the actual journey is often bumpy. Opera Santa Barbara presented both sides of this coin last weekend in the Lobero Theatre in a satisfying evening of one-acts. Giovanni Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, which dates from 1733, is a bubbly comedy about a maid who schemes to get her bachelor employer to propose to her. Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, which premiered in 1952, shows us a day in the life of an unhappy marriage.

While both scores are marvelously inventive (Bernstein’s is part opera, part jazz, and part Broadway), they make for an unlikely pairing. But this particular arranged marriage worked splendidly, thanks to the stylish and energetic conducting of Mark Morash, the enormous talent of six young professional singers (all resident artists at the San Francisco Opera’s renowned Adler Fellowship Program), and the cleverness of stage director Lawrence Edelson and set and costume designer Martin T. Lopez. Edelson moved the baroque opera ahead in time two-plus centuries, so that it, too, was set in the 1950s; the lord of the manor became a Hugh Hefner-like figure in blazing pink pajamas. This continuity gave the evening a genuine arc (manipulation to marriage to misery), culminating in a surprisingly powerful ending. It also allowed Lopez to create some wonderful, Technicolor-bright scenery, dominated by large silhouettes (of Playboy centerfolds in the Pergolesi, suburban homes in the Bernstein). Maya Lahyani, poignant as the lost, miserable wife in Tahiti, was the standout member of a strong cast.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Gas Company Asks Consumers to Conserve

Cold spell could stress natural gas heating infrastructure.

Highway 101 to Close Wednesday and Thursday

Removal of bridge supports at Olive Mill Road to divert traffic through Montecito.

Santa Barbara Surfer Chris Brown Dies

Body found just east of Hendry’s Beach.

Damaged Bridge Repairs Delayed

March, June, and July given as possible completion dates by Caltrans for six bridges along the 192 ...

Natural History Museum Begins Vertebrate Preservation Project

The project will move 45,000 specimens into bug-proof conservation boxes.