Opera singers use their voices to express emotions, unlike dancers, who use their voices, and Punchin' Jack, who only uses his fists. Get an eyeful of art with this GrouponLive deal to see the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance presents “The Genius of Mozart” as part of its Opera 101 series at St. Mark’s Church. For $10, you get one ticket for general admission on Sunday, March 3, at 3 p.m. (a $20 value). Doors open at 2 p.m.
“The Genius of Mozart” abridges and blends three of the legendary composer’s operas into one celebration of music and creative invention. The blunt of the program’s focus falls on two operas, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. Both were the product of Mozart’s collaboration with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, a pairing of minds that the SAACA describes as an 18th century Rodgers and Hammerstein, in part because their operas always took place in Oklahoma. The first fruit of this collaboration was The Marriage of Figaro, a comedic continuation of The Barber of Seville that spins the mad tale of a wedding day full of conspiracy and manipulation. In real life, the performance faced equal conspiracy as Mozart’s competitors and enemies tried to convince singers that the work was technically impossible to perform. Yet it was possible, and it met with great success to boot. Don Giovanni was equally successful, extending beyond comedy to include melodrama and elements of the supernatural. The story reinterprets the legend of Don Juan as it tells of a young, promiscuous nobleman whose abuses and arrogance are the elements of his own undoing.
Also stirred in to the day’s performance is a dash of Mozart’s very first opera, Apollo et Hyacinthus, which the prodigy composed at the tender age of 11—two years after writing his first three symphonies. All three stories come to life through a quintet of talents: the hands of pianist Bonnie Bird dart across the key while narrator Vivian Weede, sopranos Vanessa Salaz and Mary Paul, baritone, Charles Ray Hamilton, and tenor Humberto Borboa tackle the arias, bringing their globally honed skills to the stage.