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October 13, 2011

Opera Lancaster puts antebellum spin on Mozart's 'Cosi fan tutte'

What with the canceled seasons by Opera Vivente and Chesapeake Chamber Opera, Baltimore fans of the genre may be feeling a little worried. But the art form is far from dead in Charm City, and, as always, there are also operatic attractions within easy reach beyond the immediate vicinity.

There's one option you may not have known about -- well, I sure didn't -- and it's a reasonable drive to the north. Opera Lancaster opens its 60th anniversary season this week (that it has been around six decades makes me feel even worse that I overlooked its existence).

The company has chosen Mozart's wonderfully comedy of the sexes, "Cosi fan tutte," and has given it an intriguing twist. Director Anne Mason has re-located the opera to ...

New Orleans in 1860. The piece will be performed in English and with new character names, but the plot about men testing the fidelity of their girlfriends -- Southern belles, in this case -- remains the same.

The cast includes Luke Grooms, a tenor who performed with the old Baltimore Opera in "The Bartered Bride" and on the national tour of "Phantom of the Opera" that played the Hippodrome last year. The conductor is Simon Andrews.

Opera Lancaster's performances of "Cosi fan tutte", held in the High Fine Arts Center at Lancaster Mennonite High School, are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:16 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Opera

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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