Courtesy of the Dr. Phillips Center
The newly rechristened Opera Orlando, in its days as Florida Opera Theatre, set a precedent of presenting lesser-known
and sometimes more challenging
operas – a very welcome precedent – but even for them, this latest production is a stretch.
Poulenc’s surrealist opera Les Mamelles de Tirésias
tells the tale of a woman who tires of her life of drudgery and pregnancy – so she becomes a man, removes her breasts (they’re balloons!) and watches them float away. Her husband, whom she has forced to dress as a woman, is concerned about the future of humanity, so he figures out how to bear children and produces more than 40,000 in one day. (Mamelles
was written in 1945, and there’s a serious subtext here about a war-ravaged nation needing to repopulate and a female populace unready to go back meekly into the kitchen, but it’s easy to lose in the absurd plot.)
As if that weren’t enough, Opera Orlando levels up the difficulty by wrapping Les Mamelles de Tirésias
in Mozart’s The Impresario
, in classic play-within-a-play fashion. In The Impresario
, a deep-pocketed patron takes over a struggling opera company and forces them to stage his favorite show – here, Les Mamelle
s. Just to add another layer to the fun, director Eric Pinder has adapted Impresario
to place it in modern-day Orlando (expect the in-jokes to fly). We’re simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated just thinking about it.
7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22-24 | Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave. | 844-513-2014 | drphillipscenter.org