Saturday, Dec. 3-Sunday, Dec. 4 – The Medium
In 2011, the centennial of his birth, American composer Gian Carlo Menotti is getting a lot of love. Morning Edition commentator Miles Hoffman even called him “one of the greatest composers of the 20th century,” but in his day he was sniffed at by the critics as “popular.” (That old curse.) Menotti is probably best known for the Christmas chestnut Amahl and the Night Visitors, but his most notable achievement is the fact that he wrote operas in English when no other American did. His work was both popular and populist: Several of his operas were produced on Broadway or commissioned for TV, exposing thousands of people to an art form they might not have explored otherwise. The Medium, the tale of a fake psychic who falls for her own B.S., is (melo)dramatic and faintly gothy, but engaging and accessible. The spooky story works best in an intimate space; lucky us, then, that Florida Opera Theatre (the group that stepped in to fill the void left by the dissolution of Orlando Opera in 2009) presents The Medium in the Orlando Rep’s Black Box Theatre. Even luckier us: They’ve snagged soprano Susan Neves for the role of Madame Flora. Between Neves’ vaunted perfect diction, Menotti’s libretto in English and the Black Box’s cozy confines, this will make a fine starter opera for anyone leery of full-blown Götterdämmerung. – Jessica Bryce Young (7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E. Princeton St.; $25; 407-718-4365; floperatheatre.org)
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