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Nov. 4, 2022

Opera theatre presents comedic tale of love and understanding

Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera runs Nov. 16, 17, 18 and 20 at Fairchild Theatre

The MSU Opera Theatre brings a lesser-known work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the stage this fall in a comedic story of love lost and then found again. Staged by MSU Opera Theatre director and professor of voice Melanie Helton, "La Finta Giardiniera," “The Secret Gardener Girl” bursts with youthful passion and enthusiasm and features a full student cast in November at Fairchild Theatre. Click here for details and tickets

Helton produces The Opera Season and serves as the stage director for the fall production. MSU Director of Orchestras Octavio Más-Arocas will conduct the MSU Symphony from the pit, and Assistant Professor of Scene Design Ranae Selmeyer from the MSU Department of Theatre is the set designer. 

Set in the late 1700s in a provincial Italian town, Mozart’s "La Finta Giardiniera" reveals a tangled but charming and comedic tale of love lost and found again. Each character comes with a hidden past that leads to self-discovery, forgiveness and understanding—themes that Mozart explored musically throughout his life. Mozart wrote the opera when he was 18 during a time when he struggled to find audiences for his operas. The work has withstood the test of time and reveals the composer’s intuitive understanding of human nature and his sophisticated use of orchestration to explore on-stage drama. The result is a lively, accessible opera sung in Italian and subtitled in English for the new or seasoned operagoer. 

“We’re incredibly excited to bring Mozart’s earliest opera to the stage again, and to uplift our community through the arts with this light-hearted drama,” said Helton. “Our exceptionally talented student singers and instrumentalists have put their heart into this production. Thanks to our generous donors, we’re able to stage a memorable and thoroughly entertaining opera that touches on the depth of love and human experience.” 

Helton, a soprano with a rich performance resume, has directed the award-winning MSU Opera Program for over 20 years. "La Finta Giardiniera" was first presented back in 2011 and is the first of two fully-staged and costumed productions in the 2022-23 Encore! season. A third gala event in early winter celebrates the vocal arts and featured scenes from operatic masterworks. 

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