published Thursday, November 1st, 2012

UTC presents a night at the opera in one acts


* What: "An Evening of One Acts."

* When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3.

* Where: Roland Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St.

* Admission: $10 adults, $7 students and seniors.

* Phone: 425-4269.

* Website:

The best-laid schemes of mice and men, wrote the poet Robert Burns, often go awry.

So then do the best-laid schemes of university opera program directors.

Perry Ward, assistant professor of music and director of opera at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said he had originally planned to present an evening of three intermezzos, but casting "didn't quite work out that way."

Instead, Ward and the UTC Opera will present "An Evening of One Acts."

The evening begins with "The Perfect Wife," by American composer Seymour Barab, an adaptation of "La Serva Padrona" by Giovanni Pergolesi. "The Perfect Wife" features the relationship between a cunning maid and her aging master. It is the one intermezzo -- a comic short opera meant to be performed between the acts of a dramatic work -- of the evening.

Next will be "The Impressario" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This comic singspiel was an entry in a musical competition between Mozart and Italian composer Antonio Salieri. The audiences would judge their favorite by applause.

"You've got a little bit of 'American Idol' in there," Ward said.

The work, about an aging diva and her younger rival (think "Nashville" in 19th-century Vienna) is a showcase for two high sopranos.

"The whole opera is about anything you can sing, I can sing higher," Ward said.

Finally, Ned Rorem's "Fables" consists of five very short operas. It premiered in 1971 and is based on poetic renderings of Aesop's Fables. The program was originally written to dedicate the fine arts building of the University of Tennessee at Martin.

There's a little update and topical references, Ward said. Without giving anything away, he said there are some "zingers" that refer to election year.

Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at Subscribe to her on Facebook at

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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