Eastman Opera Theatre brings Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music to the Kilbourn Hall stage for four performances beginning Thursday, Nov. 1. The musical, which won six Tony Awards and ran for 601 performances on Broadway, includes Sondheim’s most famous song, “Send in the Clowns.” Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, through Saturday, Nov. 3, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.
A Little Night Music is based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night. Set in turn-of-the century Sweden, the plot revolves around a lawyer in an unconsummated marriage with his teen-age wife. He rekindles an affair with an old flame, who herself is having an affair with a married military officer. Complicating matters is the attorney’s son, who’s in love with his stepmother. The play culminates in a weekend at a country estate where, despite an attempted suicide and a duel, love triumphs.
Eastman Opera Theatre’s presentation of A Little Night Music retains the time period and location of the work in its production, emphasizing the outdoor setting in which much of the action takes place.
“There’s a mysterious and magical feeling outside when the sun doesn’t set during Sweden’s summers, and we’re working to re-create that feeling in this production,” explained Steven Daigle, associate professor of opera and stage director of Eastman Opera Theatre. “Nature plays a very important role in framing the action of the musical.”
Birch trees, prominent in the Swedish countryside and symbolically associated with both life and midsummer, are featured in the pastoral set design. The stage is extended over one side of the orchestra pit and reaches back across the seats, creating an island in the front center of the theater hall that draws the audience into the action.
Virtually all of the music in the show is written in 3/4 waltz time or a variant. The score makes heavy demands on performers, with extensive use of counterpoint, and includes such songs as “The Glamorous Life,” “Every Day a Little Death,” “Liaison,” and “A Weekend in the Country.” A Little Night Music features two alternating casts of Eastman voice students accompanied by the acclaimed Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Benton Hess, Distinguished Professor of Voice and music director of Eastman Opera Theatre.
Tickets to A Little Night Music are $20, $15, and $10, with discounts available for University of Rochester ID holders. They are available in advance at the Rochester Philharmonic Box Office, 108 East Ave.; by phone, 585-454-2100; and online at esm.rochester.edu/concerts.
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November 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 p.m.
November 4 at 2 p.m.
Eastman Opera Theatre presents A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Tickets: $20, $15, $10 (discount with UR ID), can be purchased at the Rochester Philharmonic Box Office, 108 East Ave.; by phone (585) 454-2100; or online at esm.rochester.edu/concerts.
Information number: (585) 274-1110