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Dona Ana Lyric Opera to close 12th season with two one-act operas

The Dona Ana Lyric Opera (DALO) will close its 12th season with two one-act operas, "The Old Maid and the Thief" and "Gianni Schicchi," on Feb. 27 and March 1 at 8 p.m. and March 3 at 3 p.m. The performances will be held in the Music Center Recital Hall on the New Mexico State University campus and tickets are $8, $12 and $15.



David Rocha, Thea Cordova and Jon Linford in costume and ready for their performances in "Gianni Schicchi." (NMSU photo)Bree Del Campo, James Gier and Juliet Trail will perform in Menotti's "The Old Maid and the Thief." (NMSU photo)

"The Old Maid and the Thief" had its premiere on NBC's "Toscanini Hour" in 1939. Its composer, Giancarlo Menotti, best known for "Amahl and the Night Visitors," was commissioned by NBC to write "Old Maid" for radio.

"Old Maid" is the story of a strait-laced spinster, Miss Todd, sung by Bree Del Campo, and her flirtatious maid, Laetitia, sung by Mary Haddad. The two women are visited by a harmless vagabond, Bob, sung by James Gier, who is looking for a handout. The two women are smitten by Bob, but their busybody neighbor, Miss Pinkerton, sung by Juliet Trail, informs them that a dangerous criminal who resembles Bob is on the loose, creating complications and leading to a surprising conclusion.

"Old Maid" is directed by DALO veteran Richard Rundell, who has staged the production as a radio broadcast. The music director is Shanelle Jernigan, David Edwards is the NBC radio announcer and Jim Ficklin is responsible for sound effects.


"Gianni Schicchi," composed by Giacomo Puccini, is set in medieval Florence and tells the story of a group of quarrelsome relatives sung by Elena Armijo, Isaac Quiroga, Kathy Hollingsworth, Ashley Foster, Cesar Camarena, Robert Chumbley, Daniel Bell and Ana Maria Riggle. Their wealthy cousin, Buoso Donati, has just died and upon reading his will they find he has left everything to a monastery.

However, young Rinuccio, sung by David Rocha, suggests that the will can be defeated with the help of Gianni Schicchi, sung by DALO artistic director Jon Linford. Schicchi poses as a near-death Buoso Donati to have the will re-written before two witnesses sung by Michael Ledezma and James Talavera.

"Gianni Schicchi" is full of soaring melodies and comic writing. The director of this production is New Mexico State graduate Megan McQueen and the music director is Las Cruces Symphony conductor Lonnie Klein.

Serving both productions are coach and accompanyist Shanelle Jernigan, set designer Bob Diven, costume director Jolene Ficklin, stage manager Rebecca Zabinsky and technical director Gerald Kottman.

Both operas are fast-paced and less than one hour long. New Mexico State and area high school students can attend the Feb. 27 performance for a discounted ticket price of $5. For more information call (505) 646-1993.

First photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/old_maid_1.jpg.
CUTLINE: David Rocha, Thea Cordova and Jon Linford in costume and ready for their performances in "Gianni Schicchi." (NMSU photo)

Second photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/old_maid_2.jpg.
CUTLINE: Bree Del Campo, James Gier and Juliet Trail will perform in Menotti's "The Old Maid and the Thief." (NMSU photo)

Sarah Wheeler
Feb. 21, 2002