Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Opera Theatre will present “L’amico Fritz,” Pietro Mascagni’s whimsical tale of 19th century romance, Feb. 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.
“I have wanted to bring this particular opera to UGA ever since I arrived here,” said Frederick Burchinal, the Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor in the Arts and Opera Theatre director. “I had the opportunity to perform it with the San Francisco Opera in 1976 and fell in love with it. Now, we have the students in place to bring it to life.”
The opera tells the tale of a wealthy landowner who bets that he will never marry, wagering his entire vineyard to his best friend. When Suzel, the daughter of Fritz’s tenant, arrives on the scene, things become much more complicated for the bachelor. The “Cherry Duet,” sung between Fritz and Suzel in Act 2, has become a staple of operatic duet repertoire.
“It’s a rare gem—a beautifully written opera about an unlikely couple who end up finding love,” said Burchinal. “‘L’amico Fritz’ is full of melodies so enchanting that they touch listeners as much as performers.”
UGA’s production will feature Brett Pardue as the career bachelor Fritz, Isaiah Feken as his friend Rabbi David and Elisabeth Slaten as the young Suzel. The cast also includes students Marisan Corsino (Beppe), Dinesh Gurpur (Federico), Henry Adams (Hanezò), Alexis Minogue (Caterina) and the UGA Opera Ensemble Chorus.
The performance welcomes back guest conductor Maestro Imre Palló, who most recently joined the UGA Opera Theatre for its 2014 production of “The Elixir of Love.” Palló’s international career includes a 20-year position with the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center as one of its principal conductors. Palló will be joined by longtime New York City Opera stage director Albert Sherman.
“Mascagni did a beautiful job of depicting the gradual coming-together of two souls,” Burchinal said. “It is quite beautiful in its simplicity.”
Tickets are $18 for the general public and $5 for UGA students and are available from the Performing Arts Center box office, by phone at 706-542-4400 or online at pac.uga.edu.
UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music
The Hugh Hodgson School of Music at UGA is home to approximately 250 graduate and 350 undergraduate students, with 65 world-renowned faculty members. The school offers a broad array of degree programs, sponsors hundreds of hours of community outreach in the Athens area and hosts nearly 350 public performances annually. For more information, see music.uga.edu.