A father’s love: ‘Luisa Miller’ to show in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

A father’s love: ‘Luisa Miller’ to show in Grass Valley

John Deaderick
Special to Prospector

Giuseppe Verdi has returned to the Met after a 10-year absence with his infrequently performed 15th opera called "Luisa Miller."

This Saturday at Grass Valley's Del Oro Theatre Sierra Theaters presents Giuseppe Verdi's "Luisa Miller" as the latest offering of The Met Opera Live in HD.

Verdi's infrequently performed fifteenth opera returns to the Met after a ten-year absence. To fulfill his contract with the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the composer initially wanted to write a patriotic, revolutionary work to lift the spirits of his countrymen.

After much political intrigue and rejection from censors (Italy was still under Austrian control at this time), Verdi was forced to shift his emphasis. He still wanted to create a powerful drama; Verdi's instructions to the librettist Salvatore Cammarano were to provide him with "a brief drama with plenty of interest, action and above all feeling — which would make it easier to set to music."

Verdi and his collaborator settled on adapting Friedrich von Schiller's play "Intrigue and Love." Having moved the action to a Tyrolean village (in the 17th century) from a princely court (in the 18th century) and having shifted the characters away from their princely intrigues (which preoccupied Schiller), Cammarano moves the focus much more toward the "Love" and away from the "Intrigue" aspects of the play. Thus the censors were mollified.

The current Met production shifts the action still further, to rural England about the time of the opera's creation, 1849. A peasant girl with a doting father, Luisa, loves a man who is not who he says he is. There is still plenty of "intrigue" and courtly malefaction to cement this opera firmly in the mid-nineteenth century melodramatic convention. There is, alas, to be no happy outcome.

This Met offering is noteworthy for its soprano, Sonya Yoncheva, who has already shone marvelously this season in "La Bohème" and "Tosca."

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The extraordinary Plácido Domingo has extended his career as age has seen him transition from tenor to baritone roles. His turn as the loving and protective father should break your heart.

This tragic work marks a shift in Verdi's composition towards a greater unity of score and text.

A moving rarity, don't miss it!

John Deaderick is a theatre artist and the author of "Make Sweet the Minds of Men: Early Opera and Tragic Catharsis," available at Amazon.com.

KNOW & GO

WHO: The Del Oro Theatre

WHAT: The Metropolitan Opera, LIVE in HD — “Luisa Miller”

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Del Oro Theatre, 165 Mill St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $22 Adults, $20 Seniors, $18 Children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at http://www.sierratheaters.com or at the Del Oro Box Office

INFO: http://www.sierratheaters.com, 530-477-1100

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