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How to Deceive Your Family

A Ravel/Puccini Opera Double Bill

University Opera Theatre • University Symphony Orchestra

November 12-15, 2015 • Power Center



In these two delightful one-act operas, deception and trickery are laced with humor as a philandering wife and a money-hungry family strive to get their way

The Spanish Hour (L’heure espagnole) by Maurice Ravel tells the story of a clockmaker, Torquemada, and his lusty wife, Concepción. With her husband off to tend to the town clocks, Concepción decides to arrange some assignations in his absence. What to do with the unknown gentleman waiting for his watch? How to manage the dilemma of both lovers arriving at the same time? Conceal the men and move around some clocks! Rich with musical sophistication, melody, and humor, Ravel’s first opera (1911) is playful example of sensuous time management. Sung in French with projected English translations.

Premiered at the NY Metropolitan Opera in 1919, Gianni Schicchi (pronounced “Johnny Skeekee”) is a mischievous episode from The Divine Comedy about a group of greedy relatives who have been left out of a dying man’s will in favor of a monastery. His relatives enlist a crafty old peasant, Gianni Schicchi, to impersonate the old man and dictate a new will. But their plan may not quite work the way they intend. Giacomo Puccini’s only comic opera, the work contains one of his most popular arias, “O mio babbino caro.” Filled with trickery and triumphant comeuppance, Gianni Schicchi is “A rollicking, madcap scherzo, overflowing with merry deviltries.” (The New York Times) Sung in Italian with projected English translations.


Artistic Staff

Director Robert Swedberg
Conductor Kathleen Kelly
Scenic Designer Justin Lang
Costume Designer Jessica Hahn
Lighting Designer Rob Murphy
Wig & Makeup Designer Dawn Rivard
Stage Manager Jean-Luc DeLadurantaye



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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower