Hillman Opera offers whimsical take on a Cimarosa classic

Costume Designer Jessica Lustig captures the “18th Century meets the 1980s” vibe of the Hillman Opera production “Il Matrimonio Segreto” with her costume rendings.

The 18th century will meet the 1980s when the Hillman Opera presents its “whimsical take” on Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa’s masterpiece “Il Matrimonio Segreto” (“The Secret Marriage”) this November.

Performance dates and times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Marvel Theatre.

The production, directed by Daniel Lendzian, conducted by Dr. David Rudge, and with vocal coaching by Dr. Anne Kissel, is double-cast and features voice majors from the State University at Fredonia School of Music. The production also features the College Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Robert Strauss of the SUNY Fredonia School of Music is the producer.

Strauss said scenic designer Hyla Stellhorn, costume designer Jessica Lustig and lighting designer Jack Sears have created a “lavish production which celebrates our return to live, in-person performances.”

The production team, cast, crew, and orchestra is comprised of more than 50 students, several faculty members and a number alumni of the Fredonia School of Music. It will showcase the talents of the SUNY Fredonia School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Il Matrimonio Segreto,” which historically falls between the operas of Mozart and Rossini, and shares similarities to each of these masters, was celebrated at its premiere in Vienna when the Emperor was so taken with the opera that he provided dinner immediately following its first performance for those involved, and then asked for an encore of the entire work after dinner.

“The opera is hysterical – a typical operatic farce full of misunderstandings, intrigue, and farce, all to a score which requires impeccable singing, acting, and overall artistry,” Strauss said. “The sets will be gorgeous, the costumes exquisite, and the singing and playing masterful. Although we will be following COVID protocols, including having the cast in masks, our stage director, Daniel Lendzian, has created a world in which it seems perfectly natural, and will keep the participants and audience safe and comfortable.”

The opera, sponsored by Gugino & Ryel Financial as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season, will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. “Il Matrimonio Segreto” is made possible in part by the Oliver G. and Sarah Sloan Bauman Fund for the Arts, administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. For more than a century, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has enhanced and encouraged long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas, and resources to improve lives in Western New York. Established 1919, the Community foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at cfgb.org.

Tickets are available through the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 716-673-3501 or online at fredonia.edu/tickets.


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