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: www.utc.edu/Academic/Music/Events.php.

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 hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber. Subscribe to her on Facebook at facebook.com/holly.j.leber.