by Ralph Vaughan Williams

by Giancomo Puccini


Maurya's daughters Nora and Cathleen receive word that a body that may be their brother Michael, Maurya's fifth son, has washed up on shore in Donegal, far to the north. The sixth and last son, Bartley, is planning to go to Galway fair to sell horses. Maurya is fearful of the sea winds and pleads with Bartley to stay, but Bartley insists on going and will ride "on the red mare with the grey pony behind him". Maurya predicts that by nightfall she will have no living sons, and her daughters chide her for sending Bartley off with an ill word. Maurya goes after Bartley to bless his voyage. Nora and Cathleen receive clothing from the drowned corpse that confirms it as Michael. Maurya returns home, claiming to have seen the ghost of Michael riding behind Bartley and begins lamenting the loss of the men in her family to the sea. Nora then sees villagers carrying a load, which turns out to be the corpse of Bartley, who has fallen off his horse into the sea and drowned. Maurya laments: "They are all gone now, and there isn't anything more the sea can do to me."


Buoso Donati has just died, surrounded by his relatives, who have heard that he has left all his money to the monks. They search for the will and Rinuccio, who finds it, refuses to hand it over till his Aunt Zita promises to let him marry Lauretta, daughter of Gianni Schicchi. He sends for Schicchi and when they have read the will and found their fears to be true, tells them that only Schicchi has the ingenuity to save them.

Although they resent Schicchi as an upstart, when he arrives with Lauretta they beg him to help them. Resenting their attitude, he only agrees when Lauretta appeals to him, since her happiness depends on it. Since no one outside the family knows that Buoso is dead, Schicchi disguises himself as Buoso, summons a lawyer and dictates a will. The relatives all have particular properties in mind and he leaves each one as requested, but reserves for himself the prize items of the house, a mule and the mill at Signa.

The furious relatives are powerless to stop him, as he reminds them that the penalty for falsifying a will is having the right hand chopped off and banishment from Florence.

He chases them away, except for Rinuccio, who remains with Lauretta. Schicchi addresses the audience, begging its indulgence for his sins since it has produced such a happy result.


  EARNEST, The Importance of Being
by Victor Davies/Eugene Benson

Based on Oscar Wilde's famous comedy, first performed in 1895.

The plot concerns two young men – John (Jack) Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, who woo two young ladies, Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew.

Jack, who lives in the country, has invented a younger brother Ernest, whose misadventures give Jack an excuse to escape to the pleasures of London. Algernon, living in the City, has invented an invalid friend "Bunbury" whose frequent illnesses allow Algernon to escape to the country in search of pleasure. Both young men use the name "Ernest" in their romantic pursuits. Gwendolen accepts Jack's proposal of marriage because she has always felt she was fated to marry someone called Ernest and Cecily accepts Algernon because she too had always determined that she would marry someone by the name of Ernest.

These affairs of the heart are further complicated when Gwendolen's mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell, interrogates Jack, her prospective son-in-law, only to discover that he was born, parentless,in a handbag! She refuses to consent to the marriage as she later refuses to allow Algernon, her nephew, to marry Cecily. The impasse is solved to great comic effect when Lady Bracknell interrogates Miss Prism, Cecily's governess, and discovers that Jack is, in fact, Algernon's long lost brother and her nephew. All ends well–as all operettas should.

by Giuseppe Verdi

Act 1

Violetta Valéry knows that she will die soon, exhausted by her restless life as a courtesan. At a party she is introduced to Alfredo Germont, who has been fascinated by her for a long time. Rumor has it that he has been enquiring after her health every day. The guests are amused by this seemingly naïve and emotional attitude, and they ask Alfredo to propose a toast. He celebrates true love, and Violetta responds in praise of free love (Ensemble: "Libiamo ne' lieti calici"). She is touched by his candid manner and honesty. Suddenly she feels faint, and the guests withdraw. Only Alfredo remains behind and declares his love (Duet: "Un dì felice"). There is no place for such feelings in her life, Violetta replies. But she gives him a camellia, asking him to return when the flower has faded. He realizes this means he will see her again the following day. Alone, Violetta is torn by conflicting emotions—she doesn't want to give up her way of life, but at the same time she feels that Alfredo has awakened her desire to be truly loved ("Ah, fors'è lui… Sempre libera").

Act 2

Violetta has chosen a life with Alfredo, and they enjoy their love in the country, far from society ("De' miei bollenti spiriti"). When Alfredo discovers that this is only possible because Violetta has been selling her property, he immediately leaves for Paris to procure money. Violetta has received an invitation to a masked ball, but she no longer cares for such distractions. In Alfredo's absence, his father, Giorgio Germont, pays her a visit. He demands that she separate from his son, as their relationship threatens his daughter's impending marriage (Duet: "Pura siccome un angelo"). But over the course of their conversation, Germont comes to realize that Violetta is not after his son's money—she is a woman who loves unselfishly. He appeals to Violetta's generosity of spirit and explains that, from a bourgeois point of view, her liaison with Alfredo has no future. Violetta's resistance dwindles and she finally agrees to leave Alfredo forever. Only after her death shall he learn the truth about why she returned to her old life. She accepts the invitation to the ball and writes a goodbye letter to her lover. Alfredo returns, and while he is reading the letter, his father appears to console him ("Di Provenza"). But all the memories of home and a happy family can't prevent the furious and jealous Alfredo from seeking revenge for Violetta's apparent betrayal.

At the masked ball, news has spread of Violetta and Alfredo's separation. There are grotesque dance entertainments, ridiculing the duped lover. Meanwhile, Violetta and her new lover, Baron Douphol, have arrived. Alfredo and the baron battle at the gaming table and Alfredo wins a fortune: lucky at cards, unlucky in love. When everybody has withdrawn, Alfredo confronts Violetta, who claims to be truly in love with the Baron. In his rage Alfredo calls the guests as witnesses and declares that he doesn't owe Violetta anything. He throws his winnings at her. Giorgio Germont, who has witnessed the scene, rebukes his son for his behavior. The baron challenges his rival to a duel.

Act 3

Violetta is dying. Her last remaining friend, Doctor Grenvil, knows that she has only a few more hours to live. Alfredo's father has written to Violetta, informing her that his son was not injured in the duel. Full of remorse, he has told him about Violetta's sacrifice. Alfredo wants to rejoin her as soon as possible. Violetta is afraid that he might be too late ("Addio, del passato"). The sound of rampant celebrations are heard from outside while Violetta is in mortal agony. But Alfredo does arrive and the reunion fills Violetta with a final euphoria (Duet: "Parigi, o cara"). Her energy and exuberant joy of life return. All sorrow and suffering seems to have left her—a final illusion, before death claims her.

Joseph Levesque as Don Jose and
Signa Love as Carmen
Margie Bernal (Salud) and Katherin Lewis (Grandmother) Xin Emily Ding (Elvira)

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