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Famous Baritone Opens Opera Season

October 25, 2005 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s 2005-06 opera season begins this fall with a multimedia presentation that will pay tribute to the late Tito Gobbi, one of opera’s most famous baritones. The season also will include a new rendition of a timeless classic -- “The Threepenny Opera” -- and two other popular operas -- “Eugene Onegin” and “Cosi fan tutte.”

Cecilia Gobbi, daughter of the opera star and founder of the Associazione Musicale Tito Gobbi, will present the multimedia tribute about the singer’s life and times, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Gobbi sang the title role in every major opera on stages around the globe and starred in more than 25 films. Portions of some of these films will be screened during the Nov. 1 presentation.

The tribute is coordinated by Northwestern voice professor and former Lyric Opera mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Fischer Monastero in memory of her late husband Salvatore Monastero, an avid opera supporter who, with his family, started the Chicago Bel Canto Foundation. The foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded 32 years ago to promote Italian operatic and romantic song repertoire amongst young American singers. Many of the singers have been from Northwestern.

Later in November, Noel Koran, Northwestern’s director of opera, and conductor Frederick Ockwell will bring to life “The Threepenny Opera,” Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s revolutionary 1928 assault on traditional theatrical conventions. Based on John Gay’s 1728 “The Beggar’s Opera,” this tale of London beggars and criminals boasts a funky, jazz-influenced score that introduced the classic song “Mack the Knife,” made popular by Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin. Sung in English with German supertitles, “The Threepenny Opera” will be performed on the Evanston campus at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 19, in Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St.

“The Threepenny Opera” is part of a season of opera at Northwestern that will include Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” (Feb. 23 through 26) and Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” (“They All Do It”) (May 20 and 21).

Tickets for “The Threepenny Opera” or “Eugene Onegin” are $15 for the general public; $12 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $5.50 for students. Tickets for “Cosi fan tutte” are $20 for the general public; $16.50 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $5.50 for students. To order tickets, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 491-5441.

Topics: Campus Life