Two April Programs at Oswego Opera: One For Families & Children, One For Mozart Fans

A program for families with children and a concert of music from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s four greatest operas bookend the week of April 10-18, 2010, as Oswego Opera Theatre adds two new offerings to its annual musical productions.

Opera’TUNE’ities – Opera for Fun for Kids and Their Families will be presented at 2:30pm on Saturday April 10 in the Gym at Frederick Leighton Elementary School, Oswego. Two short operas for children fill the 75-minute bill, beginning with “Never Tickle a Mule,” a story of the building of the Erie Canal. The second opera is the ever-popular “The Three Little Pigs,” in an adaptation using music from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operas to tell the story.

On Sunday, April 18, 2010, Oswego Opera returns to Mozart’s operas with the concert “Mozart’s Leading Ladies and Gentlemen,” surveying popular arias and ensembles from the composer’s greatest works, “The Magic Flute,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Così fan tutte,” and “Don Giovanni.” Six Oswego Opera Theatre singing artists will bring this music to life at the First United Methodist Church, 7111 Route 104 West in Oswego, just off the SUNY Oswego campus.

The idea for Opera”TUNE’ities comes from Artistic Director Mack Richardson’s long association as a conductor and manager with symphony orchestras and their education and outreach programs. While many symphony and opera companies bring special programming to schools in their communities, Oswego Opera has not been known for this important community programming. “I feel also that it is especially effective if children can be entertained and educated by classical music in the company of their parents, grandparents, siblings and other relatives,” says Richardson. In addition, school outreach programs can also miss home school associations and other private school venues. The “family program,” an age-appropriate experience with opera, in a relaxed atmosphere, not too lengthy, and at friendly prices, provides this opportunity.

The Leighton Elementary School gym, arranged in close cooperation with the Oswego City School administration, is a terrific location for the production because the school itself or a similar location is already familiar to the target audience of young children. All of the performers have years of experience not only as professional singers but also as singers with a mission to perform for and interact with children.

The Oswego Opera Theatre Board of Directors approved this addition to the Company’s programming at Richardson’s recommendation, and the programming of school outreach and family productions will become an annual feature along with Oswego Opera’s mainstage productions, such as Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love” in October 2010. “Never Tickle a Mule” will be featured for educators at the Oswego and Madison-Oneida BOCES Arts-in-Education 2010 Showcase on May 21, 2010 at Roxbury Road Middle School in North Syracuse.

Performers in Opera’TUNE’ities will be Elisabeth Kisselstein, Jean Loftus, Robert Allen, Jimi James and composer-writer John Davies, with pianist Rebecca Horning accompanying. Music for “Never Tickle a Mule” was written by Carl Johengen, and features the Marvelous Musical McCully Family – Dinty, Elizabeth, Charley and Rachel Ann – a mythical family who worked on the building of the Erie Canal. “The Three Little Pigs” features Miss Despina Pig, her rowdy brothers Cherubino and Don Giovanni, and of course the famous Wolfgang Bigbad.

Ticket prices are Adults $7, Children $3, with Family of Four packages at $15 and $12 with additional adults at $3 and additional kids at $1. All public, private, home school and college educators may buy tickets for $5.

“Mozart’s Leading Ladies and Gentlemen” on April 18 is in the more intimate setting of the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church. Various scenes and other arias, duets, trios (and even a sextet) from these operatic masterpieces will be sung by sopranos Kathleen Magee Querec, Angela Libertella Calabrese and Elisabeth Kisselstein, tenor Eric Rieger, and bass-baritones Jimi James and David O’Donnell. Our sopranos all sang major roles in Oswego Opera Theatre’s Fall 2009 production of “Opera Love Stories.” The men are new to our programming, but hardly newcomers to the opera stage. Mr. Rieger will be singing Lindoro/Count Almaviva in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in Brussels, Belgium right after this Oswego concert. Mr. James is well-known to Central New York audiences and has just sung Alfio in Mascagni’s “Cavalleria rusticana” and Tonio/Taddeo in Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” in Baltimore. Mr. O’Donnell is a a well-seasoned performer finishing his graduate work at Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Rebecca Horning accompanies at the piano.

Tickets for Mozart’s Leading Ladies and Gentlemen are Adult $10 and Student/Child $5. All public, private, home school and college educators may purchase tickets for $7, and Family Packages are available at $25 and $20 with additional adults at $7 and additional students/children at $3. Seating is very limited, and early orders are recommended.

Tickets for both programs may be ordered by mail at Oswego Opera Theatre, PO Box 3039, Oswego 13126, or by email at [email protected] Tickets will also be available at the door. For further information, go to or call 315-638-1085.