A village in Sicily, circa 1900. At dawn on Easter Sunday, Turiddu sings in the distance of his love for Lola, wife of the carter Alfio. She and Turiddu had been a couple before he joined the army. When he returned and found her married to Alfio, he seduced Santuzza but now has abandoned her and rekindled his relationship with Lola. Later in the morning, a distraught Santuzza approaches the tavern of Mamma Lucia, Turiddu’s mother, who tells her that her son is away buying wine. But Santuzza knows that Turiddu has been seen during the night in the village. Alfio arrives with a group of men, boasting of his horses—and of Lola. He asks Mamma Lucia if she has any more of her good wine. When she says that Turiddu has gone to get more, Alfio replies that he saw him near his house that same morning. Lucia is surprised, but Santuzza tells her to keep quiet. As the villagers follow the procession to church, Santuzza stays behind and pours out her grief about Turiddu to Mamma Lucia. The old woman expresses her pity, then also leaves for Mass. Turiddu arrives in the piazza. When Santuzza confronts him about his affair with Lola, he denies her accusations. Just then Lola passes by on her way to church. She mocks Santuzza, and Turiddu turns to follow her. Santuzza begs him to stay and implores him not to abandon her. Refusing to listen, Turiddu leaves, and Santuzza curses him. Alfio appears, late for Mass. Santuzza tells him that Lola went to church with Turiddu and reveals that she has been cheating on him. In a rage, Alfio swears to get even and rushes off, leaving behind the now conscience-stricken Santuzza.
Returning from the church the villagers gather at Mamma Lucia’s tavern. Turiddu leads them in a drinking song, but the atmosphere becomes tense when Alfio appears. He refuses Turiddu’s offer of wine and instead challenges him to a knife fight. Turiddu admits his guilt but is determined to go through with the fight, for Santuzza’s sake as well as for his honor. The two men agree to meet outside the village. Alone with his mother, Turiddu begs her to take care of Santuzza if he doesn’t come back, then runs off to the fight. As Mamma Lucia waits anxiously, shouts are heard in the distance. A woman runs in screaming that Turiddu has been killed.
Cavalleria Rusticana will be presented July 15th & 16th at The Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley.
July 15th & 16th,
The Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
Anne Fuchs, Soprano
Emanuel-Cristian Caraman, Tenor
The second production in the SBLO season will be Three Decembers, created by contemporary composer Jake Heggie. The piece, comprised of 11 instrumentalists, will be a co-production by the SBLO and ENSEMBLE Concept/21 (EC/21), led by renowned composer Jorge Muñiz. This professional music ensemble is based in South Bend and dedicated to presenting 21st century music while actively promoting works by regional composers. Since 2013, EC/21 has astoundingly premiered 53 new works, most recently with acclaimed guest conductor Carmen-Helena Téllez.
Heggie’s Three Decembers is a two-act chamber opera, with a libretto by Gene Scheer that was adapted from Terrence McNally’s unpublished play Some Christmas Letters. (McNally’s recent death from coronavirus makes the piece an exceptionally timely choice.) The opera deals with the conflicts within ourselves and within our families, the families we wish for and the families we wind up with. Its three parts are set in three Decembers - in 1986, 1996 and 2006. The work tells the story of a famous actress, Madeline, and her two adult children as they struggle to know and love each other. Audience members of all ages will identify with the need for familial acceptance and recognition that are central to this opera.
This opera was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera (in association with the San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances) and premiered there to great acclaim in 2008. Accomplished director Mark Albin, co-founder of Art 4, will return to direct this production.
In conjunction with Three Decembers, the SBLO will present a special evening with the work’s composer, Jake Heggie. Heggie will conduct a workshop for composition students prior to a pre-show lecture open to the general public. His involvement presents an exceptional chance for community members to have contact with a living composer and directly discuss his process.
Three Decembers will be presented December 9th & 10th at the Main Auditorium at IUSB. The opera will be fully staged and costumed, and presented in English.
December 9th & 10th,
Jake Heggie, Composer
Ensemble Concept 21
Carmen-Helena Téllez, Artistic Director
March 13th, 2022
DeBartello Performing Arts Center
Artistic Director of South Bend Symphony Orchestra
The third production of the SBLO’s 2020-2021 season will be the immensely popular and frequently performed La Traviata. Giuseppe Verdi’s modern classic will be presented as a first-time collaboration between the SBLO and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra (SBSO), under the masterful direction of Maestro Alastair Willis. In addition, SBLO and the SBSO will also partner with the South Bend Chamber Singers, one of the best professional choirs in the region, skillfully led by Dr. Nancy Menk.
La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi has an Italian libretto, based on Alexandre Dumas’ La Dame Aux Camélias (1852), and may be the most performed opera in the world. It is an intimate, domestic opera that was originally staged in modern dress, blurring the lines between audiences and onstage characters. In composing the work, Verdi used musical styles typically reserved for kings, queens, and heroes to portray regular people. He elevated the lives of normal characters, including everyday ugliness (i.e. prostitution) and raw emotion, all while pushing the boundaries of opera as a form. However, La Traviata is not a calcified museum piece because its themes of love, sacrifice, disease and misfortune are still painfully with us. Because audience members might still mirror the plight of its characters, it is an immersive, rather than an escapist, work of art.
For the first time in decades, this production will bring together three professional performing arts groups from the region. The collaboration will yield an exceptionally local creation, broadening participation and cooperation to offer South Bend audiences an opera of superior quality and expression. This unique production will be directed by Carl Ratner, whose prodigious career includes work at The Metropolitan Opera (NY), The Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow) and Covent Garden (London).
South Symphony Orchestra
Caitlin Lynch, soprano, playing the role of Violetta