The Old Maid and The Thief: An uncomfortable situation that “dominoes”

UMHB music professors George and Penny Hogan are once again to conduct the theatre’s newest opera, The Lady and the Thief. This is the first opera to be performed in the new Sue & Frank Mayborn Performing Art Center on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Alumni will also be performing in this year’s show.
The Lady and the Thief is a one-act grotesque, radio opera that takes place in 1939. NBC Radio commissioned Gian Carlo Menotti to write this opera for their radio program.
Professor George Hogan said there’s a lot to learn from the opera.
“This [opera] is situationally grotesque,” George Hogan said. “There’s life lessons you can take away. We’re looking at the human condition in this. It’s basically grotesque hospitality.”
Hogan describes the plot of the opera and how situational hospitality plays a part in it.
Hogan said that there is an old spinster, Miss Todd, who has a younger maid. There’s also a town gossip named Miss Pinkerton, who comes over one night to talk about the new minister.
Hogan said that they’re having tea, there’s a knock at the door and a man who’s drenched from the storm outside. Hogan said the first grotesque hospitality occurs when the two women do what nobody in their right mind would do- invite the strange man into the house.
He said the situation dominoes from there with one uncomfortable decision after another.
The Hogans are trying something new with this Opera since it was originally on the radio before it was ever performed live.
“We’re going to have a foley artist (someone who creates all the sounds on the radio),” George Hogan said. “We’re setting up the pit to be the NBC radio studio… then we’re running two scrims, which is like a veil.”
George Hogan said that while the singers are in the pit, the actors will be up on stage.
The Hogans said that the actors are supposed to be a part of your imagination as you listen to a radio program.
“It’s been really exciting to see this unfold, because it’s a new way to present this,” Penny Hogan said.
George Hogan hopes that the opera provides more than just entertainment.
“I hope it’s thought-provoking like a sermon would be.”
George Hogan says that it’s been different being in the PAC this year instead of at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple.
“This has been a learning curve, but there’s been some really wonderful blessings… We’re excited about being in our new building. It’s kind of a freshman year for all of us.”
The performances will be tonight at 7:30 p.m., and then at 2:30 p.m. this Sunday. It is an FAE event.

Author: Lauren Lum

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