In an appropriate event for the era of the MeToo movement and for Women’s History Month, Fresco Opera’s “The Sopranos” — a feminist revisiting of Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” — premieres March 21 at the Overture Center.
“The Sopranos” is about women joining together and fighting against patriarchal dominance. In the traditional “Don Giovanni,” one male character wrongs three women who decide to take him down. In artistic director Melanie Cain’s adaptation, she creates an all-female mafia with women who still plan to take revenge on the male lead.
After founding Fresco Opera with her husband, Cain said the pair wanted to make their opera interesting to youth. Her company is focused on bringing in an audience which may not be comfortable with opera or feel like they cannot connect with it. Cain’s operas bring in a lot of pop culture references, and she said she tries to find shows that would be popular in today’s society.
She has removed the slow dialogue sung during the show and shortened it from about three-and-a-half hours to about two-and-a-half. Cain has also changed the male perpetrator’s “right-hand man” to a woman.
The Sopranos is an all-female cast, save the male character targeted by the women. A total of eight women and one male make up the cast, and roughly 25 people are working on the entire show, including an accompanist and two directors. Cain has taken on many of roles, including the costume director and set designer.
Actress Katie Anderson, who plays Donna Anna in the show, said the performance is wonderful because of the plot’s mafia spin.
Additionally, Anderson stressed that some of the roles meant for men will be sung by women. Anderson said she is excited to sing fast, high notes.
During the performance, she said she anticipates laughs and surprised reactions from the audience for unexpected moments.
“Mozart’s music perfectly describes the emotions of each character in every moment,” Anderson said. “Listen for this while you’re enjoying the show!”
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Cain also expects the show to produce a few laughs, despite its serious moments. This is opera buffa — or comic opera — after all.
The comedic show targets the idea of women fighting against their exploitation. Cain said the show is about “kick-ass women taking down the man.”
She wants women to take on strong leads. Women are the strength, smarts and brilliance, Cain said.
“[Women] can rise up and do something about their situation,” Cain said.
The show runs Thursday, March 21 through Saturday, March 23. Tickets can be purchased at $35 each. Thursday is student night, so students with a student ID can purchase tickets for $20. Cain said Fresco is offering premier seats that include pizza, a dessert, sparkling wine and a drink ticket for an additional $15. If interested, purchase these soon, as they are selling fast.