ROCHESTER, NY — The Turk in Italy, an infrequently performed but always enjoyable comic opera by the influential Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini, opens Eastman Opera Theatre’s 2002-2003 season. Performances will be at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, October 31-November 2, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 3, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.) at the Eastman School of Music.
Set in a small town square in 1815 Naples, Italy, overlooking Mt. Vesuvius, the opera, in effect, is a show-within-a-show. The story revolves around a poet (based in this production on the real librettist of the opera, Felice Romani) in search of inspiration for his next opera. He comes across — and is inspired by — a group of gypsies, a flirtatious woman (Fiorilla) and her husband (Don Geronio), and a Turkish prince (Selim) who has come to find an Italian wife for his harem. A series of romantic upheavals and mistaken identities ensues, all ending happily.
“This is true ‘bel canto’ opera,” said Steven Daigle, director of Eastman Opera Theatre. “It features beautiful singing that is very demanding vocally.”
The production features two alternating casts of Eastman voice students and a large chorus, all of whom will sing in English (translation provided by Andrew Porter). They’ll be accompanied by the Eastman Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Benton Hess, music director of Eastman Opera Theatre.
Reserved tickets for the opera are $20, $13.50, and $8, with discounts for University of Rochester students, faculty, and staff. They are available in person at Ticket Express (100 East Ave.), by phone at 232-1900, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets also may be purchased at the Kilbourn Hall box office one hour before the start of each performance.
At 7 p.m., Thursday, October 31, the Friends of Eastman Opera will sponsor an opening night pre-concert chat, presented by Benton Hess, at Max at Eastman Place (25 Gibbs St.). The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested and may be made by calling 274-1048.