If you were still under the assumption that opera is one of our culture's last bastions of taste and decency, allow Central Florida Vocal Arts to disabuse you of that notion with their defiantly debased Fringe offering, Soap Opera: Sloppy Seconds
. Don Giovanni's (Justin Morrison) unfaithful wife has just expired, and he's contractually obligated to find a new spouse on a Bachelor
-esque reality show. Vying against him for the affections of an Indian princess (Nishaa Carson), a Viking (Maeghin Mueller) and a gold-digger (Fabiola Rivera), are a mobbed-up greaser (Ben Ludwig) and his late wife's lover (David Bracamonte), along with a handful of volunteers plucked from the audience (including this reviewer, at the press preview) who each get a juice box for their troubles.
Each character gets to sing a song or two, drawn mostly from musical theater or movie soundtracks, including numbers from Book of Mormon, Kiss Me Kate, Into the Woods
, and even Dick Tracy
. Befitting the company's name, these segments are the show's clear highlight. Though there isn't a classical aria among the well-rounded set list, all of the performers have exceptional operatic voices that need no amplification to be heard over Kathy Slage and Sarah Teller's keyboard accompaniment.
Unfortunately, the juvenile jokes don't fare as well, with host Harry Stools' (Bryan Hayes) politically incorrect patter generating more groans than laughs. Between the ethnic stereotypes and gratuitous insertions of the F-word into Sondheim lyrics, the written-by-committee script must have sounded funny on paper. But director Theresa Smith Levin's staging loses steam before the big Bollywood finale, which is inexplicably set to a sitar cover of the theme from Titanic
. The CFVA ensemble may not be experts at comedy, but they are at singing; I hope their future shows focus more on those talents.
Soap Opera: Sloppy Seconds
Central Florida Vocal Arts
Saturday, May 20, 3:00 PM
Monday, May 22, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, May 24, 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 27, 4:30 PM
Sunday, May 28, 3:00 PM