By Rachel Popa
Family and friends gathered in Roosevelt University’s historic Ganz Hall on Saturday, March 19 for a unique performance of four operas in one concert.
The stage was set with props that depicted a train car, the dim spotlights illuminating the stage as the animated crowd waited for the performance to start.
The performers of the first opera, “Sunday Excursion,” took to the stage with eager applause a few minutes after 7:30 p.m.
“Sunday Excursion” sets a scene that many commuters are familiar with: two pairs of friends are stuck on a train after a botched trip into the city, eager to return home.
Over the course of the opera, Alice (Helen Knudsen) and Veronica (Alice Beals), bicker back and forth over whether or not they should engage with Hillary (Nicholas Metzger) and Marvin (Blake Lambert-Haak), two men that are sitting across the aisle.
The two pairs develop crushes on each other, creating tension. Then, a “candy butcher” named Tim (Jonathon Weller) makes his rounds through the car, providing some much needed comic relief to the situation. Eventually, the pairs decide to get a drink of water, causing them to finally run into each other and meet.
“Sunday Excursion” ends with the couples coming to the conclusion that they are glad that they went to the city after all.
The next opera, “He Who Says Yes,” whisked the audience away to a village in the shadow of a mountain where its inhabitants are plagued by an epidemic. A teacher (Jonathan Weller) agrees to take a boy (Jeremy Cairns) up the mountain to search for medicine to cure his mother’s (Regina Turek) sickness.
When climbing the mountain, the boy falls ill himself, and the other students must decide whether or not to throw the boy from the mountain in order to preserve the general welfare of the rest of the group. By the end of the opera, the students must decide whether they should follow tradition, or do the right thing.
In “A Hand of Bridge,” the third opera of the night, four friends aimlessly play cards as they wallow in their inner thoughts. David (Jonathon Weller), laments about his dead-end job. Geraldine (Rachel Jaicks), David’s wife, is worried about her dying mother. Bill (Nicholas Metzger), wonders whether his wife Sally (Ashley Lugo) knows about his affair. As the card game comes to a close, so do the inhibitions of the card players.
The last opera, “Captain Lovelock,” featured a cast of memorable characters, including Terentia (Gabrielle Robles), a wealthy and elderly widow looking for a new husband. Her two daughters, Leonara (Dana Brown) and Laurentia (Marissa Howard) plot against their mother’s wish, employing the help of Kirsten (Ally Perko), the local matchmaker.
“Captain Lovelock” ended the evening on a high note, the performers taking their bows to thunderous applause.